Permaculture Database

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Supaiku, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Supaiku

    Supaiku Junior Member

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    This may be ever so slightly off topic, I'm just not quite sure where it should go. (If there's a more suitable place, please help me move it, or suggest:)

    I'm curious about whether or not anyone has heard of any kind of database (relational or otherwise) which holds (or aims to get) complete information on plants, animals, soil factors, watershed designs, and other permaculture design factors as well as the resources they create (since they're part of a system)

    I'm talking pretty detailed: Stuff like which plants are nitrogen fixing, require what sort of temperatures, planting seasons, along with what animals are suitable for what plant classes and climates, water requirments, and even foods and their nutrients.

    Just any information anyone can give me on existing databases that might include such information and/or be aiming for this kind of thing.
     
  2. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Unfortunatly,I think the closet thing to your "Data" base has been Tried and Didnt happen....

    I could be wrong tho..

    We Experimented with a purpose built "Perma wiki" or our own (Permaculture wikipedia)..

    The concept as far as i was concerned was ABSOLUTLY BRILLIANT... It Was Bread, before it became sliced bread....

    One Trouble that put myself and a couple of other interested posters was,The Concept of "some one else"comming along and changing your hard earned thinking etc etc and skill,knowledges gained,and could be debunked by anyone whatsoever...:n::n::n::n::n::n:

    The thought of someone adding or removing willy nilly wasnt worth the horrible thoughts that ran thro my mind that could be changed,,,, Good or BAD:n: ..

    NOW if you take away that chance of !!!!!!!!!!! andmade it unchangable,Id be into that

    Tezza
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Can it be that clynical? I imagine that, with microclimates and varations in soil conditions, much information of the type you are looking at can change within my own property and the effecacy of the information will be lost with those changes. It seems like a lot of work when, in the end, you will need to believe in your self and actually put your toe in the water to see what will apply to each situation.

    I believe it is very important that we rely less on "hard facts" and get more involved in intuition and common sense.
     
  4. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    I would agree feeding information into an AI computer works for set process like mixing paint ,but to do it to permaculture you are going to miss the little connections and thats what creates synergy in a system and stability.Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.So I dont think it would be a worth while thing.
    Fernando Pessoa
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    wiki permaculture is a great idea. Is it that easy to change the entries if its proper wiki. There's a forum for discussion if there's debate I understand.
     
  6. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    I have developed a database of my own, which I use and add to regularly. It helps me when suggesting plants for my clients. I have tags which identify where the species is indemic (if native), whether they are good bee fodder, whether they are koala food, what type of conditions they like, whether they are good for use in windbreaks, whether they can be used for animal fodder, whether they are good for human consumption etc etc. When I need to specify the right plant, I can plug in all the parameters I'm looking to fulfil, and I will usually get a list of good plants for the requirement. It has been a lot of hard work, but worth it I think.

    So Supaiku, I think your idea is a good one, and I use mine regularly. One day it might be good enough to sell or make available on the net or on this forum, but not yet I think.
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Nice one Paula.

    I reckon that the best databases throughout history have been communities. These databases are very local, very immediate and usually very appropriate to your climate :)

    As pioneers of re-discovering all this knowledge I think one of our most important ways of building great databases for ourselves and for future generations is to build local permaculture communities.

    Supaiku, I still think there are remnants of this sort of database out there, especially among 'migrant' communities. Find out who the old fashioned growers are in your area and try tapping them for information.

    Grahame
     
  8. Supaiku

    Supaiku Junior Member

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    I do think that communities make fantastic, resilient databases, I also think that computers facilitate larger communities and having handy ways to facilitate communication is a plus.

    As for Computer AI:

    • Databases are not AI but sorting mechanisms. Databases would still require humans to interpert information, and in fact input and decide what information to look for.

    • Modeling and simulations are still too weak to handle massivly complex systems but when it comes to implimentation testing alternatives and outcomes can help make and increase confidence in decisions, and potential prevent negative affects. It's important to realize that the principals on which models work are based exclusivly on human observation, and are never assumed flawless. From what I understand there are two approaches to Permaculture: One is to stick only to mimicy local environment, the other is more engineering and may include non-native plants and more extreme changes in landscape. In the second approach you are esentially doing environmental engineering, and the effects can be intense - I don't think some extra thought would be undue.
    • Computer Aided Design (CAD) can be coupled with modeling and simualations and can serve simply as a sort of design sandbox and tool. Really just a replacement for drawing a map. Though old school drafters sometimes resent computer replacement of pencils and straight edges you can do alot more with computers.
    Of course, like all ideas, they're just ideas. Once you collect the information you of course have to use it. I'd be willing to debate the viability of computers, books, and written information (I'll even join the neg!) - but the permaculture forum isn't the place for that:p

    For the record:
    https://permaculture.info/index.php/Main_Page
    I guess this will ultimately be where it'll all go down:)
     
  9. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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  10. Supaiku

    Supaiku Junior Member

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    That's really cool - thanks MoD.

    Can anyone else give any links to databases? I'll edit the top thread and put them all up there with a description.
     
  11. anarchist912

    anarchist912 Junior Member

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    Don't you know the Plants for a Future Database at www.pfaf.org yet?
    I think its a really great step forward. it helped me a lot, since i started out with permaculture .. 2 months ago :)
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    i don't think it exists
    Some here have volunteered to start one; Want a job?
    SEE also
    Worldwide Permaculture Network Database Update – Beta Testing!
    https://permaculture.org.au/2010/11/18/worldwide-permaculture-network-database-update-beta-testing/
     
  13. anarchist912

    anarchist912 Junior Member

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  14. youngwarrior

    youngwarrior Junior Member

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    I’ll just throw my 2cents in from a beginners stand point, also having had similar ideas.
    I’ve referred to it as a Permanac (permaculture almanac); probably to amuse myself more than anything else.
    Anyway... I thought of it as
    -social networking (not unlike the WWPermaculture Network)
    -a progressive system establishment tool
    -a database (living or otherwise) of biological elements
    all tied in together.
    You have a profile (basic/detailed and public/private). User inputs as much or as little info as they feel in drop-down box fashion. A 'detailed' (and public) user could input a vast array of stuff they grow; and for each rate their overall suitability to local area and farm system etc. etc. The website collates this info and stores it.
    Because a particular user loves growing ‘apples’ so much, they enter that they are able to be contacted as a resource for someone starting out (usually from that area). This creates networks and promotes the sharing of information; between two people that may not have even known the other existed previously. I think the only time this could possibly not be beneficial/required is in a known apple growing region. –I live in a stone fruit area, but I ain’t going to go to these growers(who would turn me away anyway) for advice; generally the methods of production would differ like night and day, then theres commercial varieties and plant rights etc etc.
    Much like social networking, you create a profile and can upload as much info about your farm as you wanted. You could have just a basic profile of location; and that you grow ‘fruit’. Or you could go detailed (still inputting only what you could be bothered entering) that lists plantings in more detail (soil type, guilds etc).

    The second side of the website would be...permaculture specific.
    You input that you want eggs; you select chicken eggs. It tells you a chicken is required. And what the chicken requires, and what the chicken requires to thrive (you know the specifics).
    The site 'monitors' your farm. 6 months down the track you say you want to grow veges; it already knows you have chickens so at the top of the possibility list is corn and the like, that support your already established system(s), it may also recommend a chicken tractor to weed your patch.
    The site basically tells you everything; basic information for some could be breaking news for others. The site would get this information from everybodies profiles(for working examples) and a factual database. It also could give contact information of people in the area that you could talk to and may even say that they have surplus chicken wire that can be used. A user may also say that they have a particular ‘consumable’ that is generally in excess for sale. For someone who only wants chickens for fresh eggs; it may suit all concerned for them to just buy the goods as opposed to set up that production system.
    I may have limited knowledge/experience and I may be wrong in saying this, but isn’t this online permaculture (an electronic version). This knowledge is essentially about caring for the earth, assisting to set up systems that care for people, the surplus is knowledge, it needs to be spread around. What happens when all the people with the knowledge die? It could also be marketed as a tool for school kids, who don't want to grow anything but need to do a project on chickens. I know a lot of schools already have vege patches and chickens with varying success. THis would teach the system as opposed to 'and magically we get eggs everyday'.
    This may not be a tool for hardened permies nessasarily as it would be assumed they already have a huge knowledge base; however they could take a more mentoring role similar to this forum.
    It needs to remembered that some people are just starting out in permaculture like myself, I’m in no way surrounded by like-minds and there are even less people around me passionate about permaculture specifically. It takes time to find and create permie mates which would only supersede this site if they knew everything. But it also takes location, if you aren't in a location where permaculture is practiced you need online resources. This makes me think of the guy that made the windmill.
    Supaiku, I think the idea has plenty of value and you sound like you know the IT side of things to make it happen. I love it how Permup is already doing it for herself.
    -It’s not going to be used by everyone, but could be of benefit to anyone.
     
  15. ebrad

    ebrad New Member

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    Woot first post!

    As a web application developer for 7 years who is trying to pull away from this type of work to get more into my own 'healing the world' crusade, I have been thinking quite often about a central place to keep all the information about specific plants, growing conditions, and their relationships to each other in a way that makes sense for me (as a newbie gardener).

    During my internet information gatherings for different plants I notice that I very rarely go back to the same website when using search (except for wikipedia). This makes it apparent that there isn't an openly accesible database designed for gardeners to learn about the plants they intend to grow or help discovering new ones.

    The result of my up-to-date work on this idea hasn't yet added up to too much other than some text files where I broke down plant species I've heard about into climates. I was talking to someone about a database in my local Permaculture group and it was encouraged quite a bit. My Dad suggested an 'identify that plant' feature that he enjoyed from a book he had once where he was guided through set of questions for identifying what kind of plant he had found on his land.

    I don't like the idea of a permaculture simulator. I was thinking more like an IMDB.com for plants and have the users be educated in permaculture principles already. More of a reference than a 'crutch.' My daydreaming even went on to published field manuals that could be carried around.

    The challenge I see with this is that I would never be able to compile so much information to be widely useful nor guarantee its accuracy, since my own experience was limited to only some potted herbs. I was thinking of a rating feature similar to stackoverflow.com, which I use a lot as a web developer when searching for answers to problems I encounter. At that website a question is asked and other users answer the question if they know a possible solution. As time goes on, other users give a positive or negative value to the answer, which really helps me decide if I want to try that solution or not. Having that kind of reassurance in information before you start might prove valuable to newcomers like me. An example question is here:

    https://stackoverflow.com/questions/948135/how-to-write-a-switch-statement-in-ruby

    As you can read, I support the idea of a knowledge-base, but at this stage in my journey I'm ill-equipped to roll one out on my own.
     
  16. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    While not exactly what you're talking about for a Permaculture database or user-interactive Permaculture planning tool, this software does seem to have some of the interactive features you mentioned youngwarrior: https://www.agsquared.com/en/tour/features
    Note that it's a paid subscription ... possibly a way for an enterprising Permaculturist to be compensated for the immense amount of time that would be necessary to build a software package along the lines you mentioned.
    Really, for someone with the software skills and Permaculture knowledge, what you described would be invaluable ... and the person to pull it together would become a Permaculture icon! ; )
     
  17. edcolmar

    edcolmar Junior Member

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    Hmm not sure what happened to my last reply, but I built a web site to do garden planning, and storage of related plant data. It is just getting started, so I'm looking for people to work with it and give me feedback. I'd love to hear what you all have to say about it. https://www.plant-life.us
     
  18. edcolmar

    edcolmar Junior Member

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    And while the URL does end in .us it is not restricted to the USA, and will work totally fine for you .au users. =)
     
  19. Alexandre8100

    Alexandre8100 New Member

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    Great sharing...
    Thanks for sharing this...
     

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