Policies and Terms

GROW Observatory Data Governance Policy

Data Governance Policy

This Data Governance Statement sets out the values of the GROW Observatory to do with handling and sharing data.

We are committed to being both transparent about what you can do with your data and what we can do with it. You are entitled to know what data we store and why. If we have not made our data governance statement clear then we will endeavour to clarify it as soon as possible.

Your data & privacy

Your privacy and security are important to us, both in terms of the data we store from your interaction with our website, and for the data we store for you.

When you interact with GROW, we may receive three kinds of data from you, as listed below.

  • Your account information: such as your username and email address.
    We will never publish your email address or share this with third-parties without your explicit consent. You may delete your account at any time, at which point we will stop collecting any new information from you, and will, at your request, exclude your scientific data contributions from any future derived data products. We will also remove your personal information from our systems.
  • Your discussion and media contributions: such as forum posts, images and documents.
    When you make posts into any GROW public forum, your username will be publicly associated with your post, and the contents of the post will be available online. We will respect any requests for removal of discussion posts you have made.
  • Scientific data: which may include any soil, plant, yield, land use and cultivation practice related data you collect as part of GROW experiments and activities, and data from the sensor we may send you. See below for more details of how we handle scientific data.

In addition, we may also record information when your web browser or device interacts with our website and services, as part of our log files and analytics.

Personal data security is the responsibility of the University of Dundee as lead partner in the GROW Observatory. All personal data collected and stored will meet EU guidelines and University guidelines. The GROW platform uses a secure connection for exchange of usernames and passwords and passwords are stored encrypted in our system. We will endeavour to keep your data secure and only allow third party access to the data on the terms set out in this document. Your data is stored by the following GROW Consortium members:

GROW Consortium member

Server location

Server company


UK / Ireland

EU West










University of Dundee



Permaculture Association of Britain


Scientific data

The scientific data you contribute from sensors and surveys including location is licensed by you to GROW, a non-profit entity. We will store raw copies of the scientific data, metadata and sensor data you have contributed, associated with your username, and at the level of accuracy it is given to us. We will store the raw data in secured databases located in secure data centres in a durable fashion for the length of time this project runs, and for five years following the end of the project, in order to meet our obligations to data policies of the European Commission.

You can access an archive copy of your raw scientific data at any time.

We will produce a low-resolution open dataset (aggregating information to remove granular location or sensor data that could otherwise be used to identify you or your land) and commit to providing this as a freely accessible dataset, available to anyone, under a share-alike license.

You can set your disclosure preferences for the granularity of scientific data that we can share with other platforms, including by:

  • Controlling the accuracy of any geolocation data shared about you or your sensors
  • Controlling the visibility of other metadata.
  • Controlling the level of aggregation of sensor data. For example, to set how many readings in a particular time frame other users can see, such as only allowing one-reading per hour to be shared.

We may also use the raw data you have contributed to create aggregations, visualisations and to use the data in predictive models. Any summary published as a result of this will respect your disclosure preferences.

We also reserve the right to license scientific data under commercial terms, and provide access under those terms to the raw data, bespoke aggregations, visualisations and summary data sets, provided this does not reveal data to the commercial provider, or publicly, at a level of granularity lower than your stated preferences.

You can request removal of your scientific data from the platform at any time but you should be aware that this will only affect data products created in future, and will not lead to data being removed from existing derived data products. To make this request, confirm by email to technical@growobservatory.org with your sensor id number. If you do so, you will need to return your sensor to GROW at your own cost.

Our Data Management Plan outlines how we store and use data and ensures we maintain standards that meet EU data storage requirements.


You can terminate your account with us at any time. When you do so you can archive your scientific data, delete it or leave it with us. If you choose to leave it with us you can still ask us to delete it at any time. If your data has been used to create applications, visualisations or any interactive or explorative datasets, then your data will not be removed. However your data will not be included in any updates to these if it has been removed from our system.

Changes to this policy.

We review our policy each year up to 2020 with the GROW citizen forum. You will be notified to the email address registered to us if this policy changes in any way. You will have 30 days from notification to either terminate your account, or you will be deemed to have accepted the updated policy.

Contact us

GROW Observatory, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN, UK
01382 388722 grow@dundee.ac.uk

Definition of terms

High-resolution data – the most detailed and disaggregated datasets, created from participant contributions, sensors and surveys.
Personally identifying information – data which may be used to identify a particular individual, or to link an individual to particular observations in a dataset.
Sensitive data – data which, if disclosed, risks causing harm to individuals, organisations or habitats.
Anonymised data – data which has had all personally identifying information removed.
Aggregated data – data which has been summarised to group together individual observations, often grouping observations into larger geographic areas or time-periods. Aggregation is one method of anonymising data.
GROW Consortium – the partners who work together to build and deliver the GROW Observatory. These are: University of Dundee; Internationales Institut fuer Angewandte Systemanalyse; Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations; Met Office; HydroLogic Research BV; Starlab Barcelona SL; Future Everything CIC; Sustainable Ireland Co-operative Society Ltd; Culturepolis; James Hutton Institute; Technische Universitaet Wien; Thingful Ltd; Institut d’Arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya; Storythings Ltd; Miskolci Egytetem; Forest Trust LBG; Permaculture Association (Britain).

Contributor Licence agreement

Thank you for your interest in contributing to the GROW Observatory (“We” or “Us”). This contributor agreement (“Agreement”) documents the rights granted by contributors to Us. This is a legally binding document, so please read it carefully before agreeing to it.

I assign to the GROW Observatory a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, irrevocable license to the content and data I have submitted, either directly through the GROW website and applications, or from sensors I have connected to the platform.

I understand that:

  • Data, including sensor data, that I contribute will be stored and used by the project to provide crucial information for growers, policy makers and science exploitation that help build improved models on the impact of climate change and land use responses. The GROW Consortium and University of Dundee ( UoD) will archive, share and re-use anonymised data for future research and innovation activities.
  • Aggregated, anonymised data will be made available for a wide range of uses under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license;
  • The GROW Consortium may provide secure access to raw/disaggregated data to commercial partners, subject to approval by the Directors of the GROW Consortium, and subject to the disclosure preferences set in the platform;
  • The UoD and GROW Consortium will store my data in accordance with EU regulations and in accordance with UoD research ethics guidelines.
  • The GROW Consortium and UoD will store the following anonymised data: your username; contributions to the GROW Forum and data from your sensor and measurements.

[ Any licensed access to project data for commercial use will be subject to approval of the Directors of the GROW Consortium and will only be approved where clear benefits to society are accrued and no profit is accrued by the licence. ]

I confirm that I have the legal authority to enter into this Agreement.

This agreement and any dispute or claim (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.

GROW Observatory website

Privacy Policy

GROW Observatory (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates https://growobservatory.org (the “Site”). This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information we receive from users of the Site.
We use your Personal Information only for providing and improving the Site. By using the Site and setting up your account with us, you have ticked the user contributor license statement, which allows us to collect and use this information in accordance with this policy.

Information Collection And Use

While using our Site, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to your name, email address, and country location (“Personal Information”).

Log Data

Like many site operators, we collect information that your browser sends whenever you visit our Site (“Log Data”).
This Log Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, browser type, browser version, the pages of our Site that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages and other statistics.
In addition, we may use services such as Google Analytics that collect, monitor and analyse the use of our website, but we do not pass your IP address to them.


We may use your Personal Information to contact you with newsletters. You will be asked to opt into this service and you may opt out of these communications at any time by using the unsubscribe link or by emailing us at hello@growobservatory.org


Cookies are files with small amount of data, which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a web site and stored on your computer’s hard drive.
Like many sites, we use “cookies” to collect information. You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Site.


The security of your Personal Information is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Changes To This Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy is effective as of May 29th, 2017 and will remain in effect except with respect to any changes in its provisions in the future, which will be in effect immediately after being posted on this page.
We reserve the right to update or change our Privacy Policy at any time and you should check this Privacy Policy periodically. If we make any material changes to this Privacy Policy, we will notify you through the email address you have provided. Your continued use of the Service after we post any modifications to the Privacy Policy on this page will constitute your acknowledgment of the modifications and your consent to abide and be bound by the modified Privacy Policy.
If we make any material changes to this Privacy Policy, we will notify you either through the email address you have provided us, or by placing a prominent notice on our website.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please email hello@growobservatory.org

Terms and conditions

This website is for general information only and does not constitute professional advice. Whilst the GROW team makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information on this web site, GROW, the Consortium partners, the administrator, and moderators shall not be liable for any loss, effect, reaction or subsequent result of the use of any plant, chemical, technique, product, information or service advertised or displayed on this site.
The readers of GROWobservatory.org assume full responsibility for using the information on this web site. Links to other sites from GROWobservatory.org are for information only and GROW, the Consortium partners, the administrator, and moderators accept no responsibility or liability for information contained on any site which is linked from or to this site.
The GROW online forum is for general information only and is not a legal advice forum. We cannot guarantee the validity of any such advice given to you.

GROWobservatory.org site usage and posting rules

To make your visit to the GROW forums enjoyable, members must abide by the following rules:
Please refrain from making multiple member registrations, this will be closely monitored as it is often a mechanism adopted by spammers.
There is to be absolutely:

  • No spamming, (postings used to advertise products, businesses, websites, and often to broadcast political or social commentary.)
  • If any of your posts in the forums contains anything like this they will be deleted and you will be given a warning or banned.
  • New posters whose initial posts contain direct links to other websites may have those links removed at the moderators discretion. Other posters interested in the links should contact the original poster directly to obtain further information.
  • No flaming (posting deliberately hostile messages)
  • No posting of any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory.
  • No posting of any material which is invasive of a person’s privacy.
  • No posting of messages which are abusive, vulgar, sexually oriented, hateful, harassing, obscene, or threatening.
  • No posting of any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this forum.

By registering, you, the user, agree that you will not post messages containing any of the above elements.

Signing up/profiles

  • Use a maximum of one link per signature only.
  • Absolutely no affiliate links in signature.
  • We do not allow any signature using Tiny URL or Snip URL (or any similar) services which converts a lengthy link (URL) into a very tiny one.
  • Only useful links i.e. no under-construction sites, spam services etc.
  • Signatures should be very basic and should not have the appearance of an ad.
  • In the interest of all members please keep your signature politics and religion free.
  • No signature links to Warez, porn, hate sites, or other questionable content.
  • You can of course place a link to your personal website or blog in your signature.
  • If you have a link to your website or blog in your signature, there will be no need to place the same or similar link within a post as well.
  • GROWobservatory.org reserves the right to ban signatures which are felt to be provocative, disruptive, or outside of our guidelines.
  • Use a maximum 1 graphic per signature.
  • Please avoid using big graphics that break up the flow of a page and also avoid excessively animated graphics.
  • All usernames must start with a letter or number.
  • Usernames must not contain domains names or resemble email addresses.

Forum user agreement

As a user you agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this website have the right to remove, not remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should they see fit.
As a user you agree to any information you have entered (images and text) being stored in the GROWobservatory.org database. It is your responsibility to ensure that the text and images you enter in forum discussions do not contain any personally identifiable data.

The administrator and moderators cannot be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.

While every attempt is made to remove objectionable material as quickly as possible, it may be impossible to review every message entry.

Therefore you agree that all posts made to these forums or blog entries express the views of the author and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people) and hence will not be held liable.

By registering, you, the user, agree to be solely responsible for the content of your posts, you also agree to indemnify and hold blameless GROWobservatory.org, GROW, the Consortium partners, the administrator, and moderators with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s).

The owner and administrator of GROWobservatory.org, reserves the right to reveal your identity, IP Address, or whatever information we know about you, in the event of a serious complaint or legal action arising from any message posted by you.

These forum rules are subject to change without prior warning. If you miss a new rule you will be informed via email should you break it.

If you are unsure about any of the above rules then email the administrator or moderators for assistance at hello@growobservatory.org

Failure to follow the rules may result in official warnings followed by banning, or at times will result in an immediate banning.

All rules will be strictly enforced.

While the administrators and moderators of this forum will attempt to remove or edit any generally objectionable material as quickly as possible, it is impossible to review every message. Therefore you acknowledge that all posts made to these forums express the views and opinions of the author and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people) and hence will not be held liable.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions.

You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, not remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should they see fit. As a user you agree to any information you have entered above being stored in a database. While this information will not be disclosed to any third party without your consent the webmaster, administrator and moderators cannot be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised.

This forum system uses cookies to store information on your local computer. These cookies do not contain any of the information you have entered above; they serve only to improve your viewing pleasure. The e-mail address is used only for confirming your registration details and password (and for sending new passwords should you forget your current one).

Registering as a member of GROWobservatory.org you agree to accept occasional email newsletters from the site administrators, detailing GROW Observatory updates. By creating an account you agree to be bound by these conditions.

GROW Observatory app

Privacy and Data Policy

Thank you for your interest in the services provided by the GROW Observatory app. This policy aims to provide you with adequate information on the data we receive from you via the app, how we process it, and what we make available to the public in order to comply with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Data processed by us

“Personal data” is any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, such as their username, their location at a certain time or IP address. We are a scientific institute and process personal data
1) to be able to provide information on growing techniques and plant requirements
2) for scientific studies on landscape composition, land management and soil moisture as part of GROW Observatory missions.
We process personal data:

  • for which you have given consent for a specific purpose (Art. 6 para 1 lit a GDPR), namely for the conduction of the GROW Observatory scientific project and to provide you with plant and growing information.
  • that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest (Art. 6 para 1 lit e GDPR), namely for the conduction of this scientific project and to provide you with plant and growing information;
  • that is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party (Art. 6 para 1 lit f GDPR), e.g. avoiding legal disputes about rights in the contributions.

Below is a list of types of data the app collects. Please note that a copy of the data might be briefly stored in the server’s memory for a short period. This data is temporarily stored apart from the database, managed and deleted automatically by the server’s operating system and will not be accessed by us for processing, archiving, or any other reason. It is also possible through logging errors or general requests that submitted data be stored in one of the server’s log files. These files are not publicly accessible and are not used for any processing, storage or data publication other than for resolving a possible software problem. These are technical necessities over which we have no control.

Registration/Login/Profile Update

We process the following profile data for registration, login and profile updates for a given user participating in the GROW Observatory missions, all of which is stored by the GROW Partners:

  • Email address
  • User password (encrypted)
  • User name
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Address
  • Profile Picture

None of this information will be part of any publication (e.g. data product, scientific publication etc).

Log Data

Whenever you use our service, we collect Log Data, or data and information (also through third party products) on your phone to identify errors in the app. Log Data may include information such as your device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app when utilizing our service, the time and date of your use of the service, and other statistics. This data is used for identifying problems with our software and will not be published as part of the resulting data product.

Requesting location and time specific plant information

In order to display plants suitable for your location and planting time, the app accesses the following data:

  • Location (Latitude, Longitude)
  • Date of information request

This information is processed even when you are neither logged in nor registered as a user. However, we do not permanently store this information.

Data upload

When uploading the results of a survey for the GROW Observatory, the app accesses and processes the data you collected, and some additional information we use for assessing the quality of your contribution and for reproducing technical problems in case of an error. The following data is sent to the server and stored:

User name
Device and app information:

  • Identification of GROW Observatory app
  • Version of GROW Observatory app
  • Smartphone operating system and version
  • Device name (brand and model)
  • Device serial number

Information on the Surveys, this information includes (per classification):{” “}

  • Sensor names
  • ID for selected classifications on land and soil properties
  • Dates, ID and free text entries for selected land management techniques
  • Time and date when the classification was made

Information per photo submitted:

  • The photo taken
  • Direction of image (categoric)
  • Time and date when the image was taken
  • Compass direction
  • Direction the phone faced while taking the photo (upwards/downwards, in degrees)

Further information collected for quality assurance and other communication:

  • Language the app is used in during submission
  • Duration in seconds the user needed to: Take the photos, Answer the surveys

The app also collects and processes location data directly linked to the ground images taken (Latitude/Longitude as well as accuracy) in order to fulfill the purpose of the scientific project. The app is not collecting any location data in the background when the app is closed or suspended on the phone.

The platform

The GROW Observatory shares parts of the infrastructure of the Geo-wiki.org platform, primarily operated and maintained by the Center for Earth Observation and Citizen Science of IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria.

Data storage

The GROW Observatory app platform and services are run on state-of-the-art web service environments hosted on rented servers at Hetzner Online GmbH, Industriestrasse 25, 91710 Gunzenhausen, Germany. We do not provide any means to access data for the hosting company other than the ways intended for every user. The environment is set up such that we restrict access to the database strictly to our trusted network and through APIs that let us choose exactly which data is accessible to which users.
Regarding the use of cookies, please see above. Information about your visit, including parts of your IP Address, may be transmitted, stored and processed on a Google server in the USA or another non-EU state.
After completion of the scientific project, all personal data are permanently anonymized so that traceability to individual users will not be possible unless users have explicitly asked us to safe and publish their personal data.

Data contributions

Please be aware that we rely on you to contribute data, which does not infringe on the rights of others. Make sure you follow the instructions for the mission/project to which you contribute, and do not submit data that could violate especially personal rights, copyright or other legislation. By contributing data, you provide us with the information requested in the app, but we usually also collect additional data that allows us to trace technical problems and verify the quality of the contribution. Please see the details above. By contributing data, you grant the GROW Partners a license to use this data.

Rights of the user

At any time, you have the right

  • to request information as to which of your data we process (Art. 15 GDPR),.
  • to request the rectification or erasure of your data (Art. 16 and Art. 17 GDPR),.
  • to restrict the processing of your data (Art. 18 GDPR),.
  • to request the transmission of your data (Art. 20 GDPR);.
  • to file a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular the Austrian data protection authority (www.dsb.gv.at) or the data protection authority at your place of residence.

You can instruct us to stop processing your data at any time using the contact data below. Even if you have agreed to the processing of data in the past, you can revoke such consent at any time (Art. 21 GDPR).
Should you have questions concerning your personal data, please contact us using the contact information below.

Third parties

Please note that we may employ the following third-party companies to facilitate our service: Google LLC, Hetzner Online GmbH

These companies will have access to your data in order to perform the tasks we assign to them, as described above. However, they are obligated to not disclose or use the information for any other purpose. Google LLC has their seat in the US and comply with “Privacy Shield”. According to a decision by the European Commission this guarantees an adequate level of data protection.

Third party apps and websites

Our app contains links to other websites. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that site. Please note that these external sites are not operated by us and we do not have any control, nor assume any responsibility for their content, privacy policies or practices.
We therefore strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of those websites.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions about this Privacy Policy, do not hesitate to contact us:
GROW Observatory, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN, UK
+44 1382 388722, grow@dundee.ac.uk

Terms of use

Thank you for your interest in the GROW Observatory app. By installing and using the app, you accept the following terms and conditions. Please read them carefully before using the app.

General information

  1. The GROW Observatory app was developed by parties who are partners in the GROW Observatory (“GROW Partners”), a H2020 funded EU Project. This agreement is made between you (“the user”) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (“IIASA”).
  2. Via the GROW Observatory Software Application (“the app”), users can:
    a. Look up location specific information on plants and growing techniques, and
    b. Contribute specific data as participants of the GROW Observatory, visiting sensor locations, submitting photographs of the landscape, answering the land and soil survey as well as documenting land management activities (“contributions”).

Rights and obligations

  1. Users must enable internet functionality to access growing information in the app, and enable GPS function of their smartphones before taking photographs as part of data collection for the GROW Observatory missions. Photographs without a GPS-tag cannot be accepted by IIASA on behalf of the GROW Partners.
  2. All the rights relating to this app, including its copyrights, trademarks or database rights belong to the GROW Partners. Users are not allowed to copy, modify or otherwise exploit any part of the app, make derivative versions or to extract the app’s source code.
  3. Certain functions of the app require an active internet connection. IIASA and the GROW Partners are not responsible for any charges of the user’s network provider relating to the upload and/or download of any data, including roaming data charges when accessing the app outside the user’s home territory.
  4. IIASA and the GROW Partners give no warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy or the completeness of the information and materials contained in the app, especially when the user did not download available updates or register in the first place. In order to minimize the risk and provide a beneficial experience, the user should always use the latest version of the software.
  5. IIASA and the GROW Partners will not be held responsible or liable for any claims, damages, losses, expenses, costs or liabilities whatsoever resulting or arising directly or indirectly from the user’s use of the app or the user’s reliance on the information and material in the app.

Assignment of rights

  1. The user grants the GROW Partners a perpetual, worldwide, unlimited in scope, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable and non-exclusive license to use, under the terms of the GROW Consortium Agreement and in particular without being limited to, copy, adapt, rent, lend, show, communicate and make available to the public (including without limitation via the internet), distribute and broadcast, in each case in an original or modified form, in any currently known or future way of exploitation, the submitted contributions in whole or in part (including its photographs), with the right to transfer these rights or to grant sublicenses to third parties. The user waives his right to be named as an author of the contribution, including in particular any photographs.
  2. The user assures that he is legally entitled to grant the above license. Your data contribution must not infringe on any third party rights. By submitting contributions, the users indicate that they have the right to authorize the GROW Partners to use, process and make available any contributed material under these terms and conditions. If any third party holds any rights on the contribution (including its photographs), the user assures that he has received permission to grant the above license on behalf of that third party, or that the third party has waived such rights in regard to the contributions, especially the photographs.


  1. This agreement and all rights and obligations resulting from it is subject to Austrian substantive law to the exclusion of the rules on conflicts of law and CISG.
  2. All disputes between the contracting parties in relation to this contract are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the competent court for the City of Vienna (Innere Stadt Wien).
  3. Any amendments to this agreement shall only be valid if done in writing.
  4. If any provision in these terms of use is found to be illegal or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction or an arbitrator, that clause shall be deemed removed and the remainder shall be unaffected. The parties shall endeavor to agree on an alternative clause having like effect, as a substitute for the provision that has been removed.
  5. The “Privacy and Data Policy – GROW Observatory app” outlined above is an integral part of these terms of use.
  6. The GROW Observatory reserves the right to modify or replace these terms and conditions at any time. Should a modification be adopted, an adequate notice will be given to the users. By continuing to access or use the GROW Observatory app after this notice, users agree to be bound by the revised terms and conditions. If users do not agree to the new terms and conditions, they must refrain from accessing or using the app.