Computers and Electronics in Agriculture Volume 4, Issue 4 , March 1990, Pages 275-285

Special issue: Integration of knowledge systems into agricultural problem solving

RAIN: A novel approach to computer-aided decision making in agriculture and forestry

John Pickering, William W. Hargrove, James D. Dutcher and HC Ellis

Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, U.S.A.


RAIN (Remote Automated Intelligence Network) is a computer system that (a) monitors local microclimate variables at field sites, (b) provides an electronic message system among growers, scientists, and Cooperative Extension personnel, and (c) makes site-specific recommendations for appropriate agricultural responses based on site and regional data. The central hub of the network has a pair of Sun 3/60 graphic workstations which use expert system software to link multi-source databases with geographic information systems. Remote stations in the network are inexpensive portable computers, some of which are equipped with sensors that measure temperature, leaf wetness and other environmental variables. RAIN stations are free-standing; communication with the hub is over standard telephone lines. Each station initiates an unattented nightly telephone call to transmit accumulated sensor data, exchange messages, and receive new programming from the hub. Electronic mail can be sent between stations via the hub. Over 90 RAIN stations are currently deployed in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and California.

Computers and Electronics in Agriculture Volume 4, Issue 4, March 1990, Pages 275-285