CoBo (Control Board) - the tool used for statistical forecasting

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What is CoBo for

CoBo is a standalone software tool that can be used to import data for crop forecasting. It is aimed to reduce the time access to the information, as well as to support the analysis with a more automatic processing of the data. CoBo consists in two main modules:

CoBoNet Import Manager

This module is used by Statistical Administrators to prepare the environment for the analyst and by Users to inspect the data. It allows to:

  • Import statistical data, worldwide (Administrators)
  • Inspect, filter, edit, and merge the imported values
  • View and analyze the data, both in tabular and graphical form, using an interactive visualizer

For further information on how to use the CoBo Importer application, please refer to the User Guide, which you can find here: File:CoBoNet Import Manager User Guide.pdf

CoBo Forecasts Manager

Both Analysts and Supervisors can use this module to create forecasts. It allows to:

  • See and inspect existing forecasts
  • Create and manage new forecasts

For further information on how to use the CoBo Forecasts Manager application, see the User Guide: File:CoBo 3.1 Forecasts User Guide.pdf

First Step: Import and Inspection

The picture here below shows the CoBoNet Import Manager start window:

COBO Import Manager

The following summarizes the user interface elements and the tabs in the window:

  • Imports list (left-sided) - The list includes the existing imports, organized by area. You can select an import and then inspect, modify, update, and check the imported data. The most updated imports appear in bold.
  • New import button - This function allows importing new data by specifying the data data sources (only enabled for Administrators usesrs).
  • Import Info tab - This tab includes the information about the import, either new or existing (the name, the area, the user, and the import date, as well as if this is the most updated import). The Import sources grid shows the data sources that compose the active import, if any.
  • Imported values tab - Once an import has been loaded or created, this tab lists all the values that have been imported. Administrators can edit these values.
  • Values checking tab - This tab allows inspecting the imported values in terms of verifying and correct (if necessary) the values.
  • View data tab - This tab allows viewing the data both in tabular and in graphical form. It allows saving, exporting, and managing data displays.

Second Step: Viewing and analyzing forecasts

Analysts and Supervisors use CoBo Forecasts to view and analyze crop yield forecasts. They can verify how the data have been used, which analysis have been selected, and which methods have been applied. The following shows the main Control Board Console that allows selecting the Area and the Analysis:

Control Board Console

After selecting the analysis, you will be able to view the Forecasts Overview and to display the data as a graph and/or in tabular form:

Forecasts Overview

Graph View

The following summarizes how to use the other functions in the application:

  • Crop Yield Table - This function allows analysts to compare the selected analysis with a different reference year.
  • Crop Yield Table With Analysis Comparison – This function groups the functions of Crop Yield Table and Analysis Comparison Table, that you can compare the selected analysis both with a different reference year and with another analysis.
  • Cereals Table – This function has the same function as the Crop Yield Table, but relates to cereals.
  • Analysis Comparison Table – This function allows comparing two analysis, that is, to compare the value of the Selected analysis with another one. This way, the analyst can verify the difference between two different analyses.
  • Forecasts Origin Table – This function, besides of showing the forecast’s value, allows verifying which method was used to create the forecast (Forecast Method).

For further information on how to use the application, see the User Guide: File:CoBo 3.1 Forecasts User Guide.pdf.

Types of Analysis

The statistical methodologies accessible through CoBo rely on the following main approaches:

Regression technique

It focuses on the relationship between a dependent variable - the yield - and one or more indepdendent variables summarizing climate/weather effects on crops. Two methods are available in CoBo for regression analysis:

  • Using the CGMS Statistical Tool (CST) to calculate the regression: This tool estimates each regression coefficient (also the trend) in only one-step.
  • Calculating the Regression on Residuals: Similar, but the trend is defined by the user.

For further information, please refer to the document that you can find here: File:CoBo 3.1 Log File Contents.pdf, which describes this technique in detail.

Scenario technique

It is based on analogies between the contingent conditions and the past, investigating years that behave similarly with respect to selected events, and reporting their measured effects on the actual state in order to predict final consequences.

Trend Analysis

The Trend figure represents the immediate and basic forecast within the crop yield forecasting exercise. A linear time trend allows representing the influence of long-term economic and technological dynamics. Besides the default linear trend, other shapes (such as, quadratic, exponential, and logarithmic) are available, giving the analyst the ability to fine-tune the statistical outcome.

Averages

The yield forecast can be based on the calculation of the simple or trimmed average of past years *usually, the last five are taken into account). Normally, this method is chosen when no other (prediction models, trend and scenario analysis) lead to satisfactory results or when there is a lack of data - a gap - in the time series.

Last Step: Publishing Final Forecast

Once a user accesses CoBo Forecasts with Administrator rights, the analysis management commands becomes available. After properly managing the forecast that the Analysts and Supervisors completed, the Publish Final Forecasts command allows choosing which closed forecasts to publish into the system for the Selected Analysis:

Publish Forecasts

For detailed information on how to use the Administrator functions of CoBo, please refer to the document File:CoBo Administrator User Guide.pdf