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Published on January 22, 2008

Author: Silvestre


Geospatial Technologies and Agriculture How GPS and GIS are Helping to Improve the Ag Industry:  Geospatial Technologies and Agriculture How GPS and GIS are Helping to Improve the Ag Industry Sean Crager GIS Coordinator Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Sean Crager:  Sean Crager Employed by Penn State Cooperative Extension Land Analysis Lab Contracted to Pa. Dept of Ag (PDA) GIS Coordinator Responsible for all GIS activities at PDA Education Shippensburg University Degree in Geoenvironmental Science GIS Certification What are Geospatial Technologies?:  What are Geospatial Technologies? Science and the tools used to acquire, store, analyze, and output data in two or three dimensions, referenced to the earth by some type of real- world coordinate system The ability to reference a geographic location is an important component in analyses of effects or trends in biological and physical resources Geospatial technology tools include geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, thematic mapping, image processing, satellite positioning systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), and telemetry. What is GIS?:  What is GIS? Geographic Information System GIS is a system of computer software, hardware, data, and personnel to help manipulate, analyze and present information that is tied to a spatial location. A method to visualize, manipulate, analyze and display spatial data “SMART MAPS” Linking a database to the map What is GIS?:  What is GIS? What does all this really mean? GIS allows the user to collect and analyze data and view it in map or image GIS links data to a place on the earth GIS combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. What is GPS?:  What is GPS? Global Positioning System 24 Satellites in sky Maintained by US Military Each satellite transmits a signal with embedded time GPS Unit receives signal and records time Position is calculated using triangulation by determining how long each signal took to leave satellite and to then be received by the GPS unit What is GPS?:  What is GPS? President Clinton ordered that Selective Availability be turned off as of midnight May 1st, 2000. This made GPS receivers almost 10x more accurate Old was 100m accuracy New is 15m WAAS technology is less than 3m! WAAS:  WAAS Wide Area Augmentation System System of satellites and ground stations that provide GPS signal corrections, giving you even better position accuracy Gives accuracy better than 3m 95% of the time Requires no additional equipment other than a WAAS enabled GPS WAAS is a free service and is built-in to many of today’s new GPS units Even the lower priced units (sub $200) What is Remote Sensing?:  What is Remote Sensing? The acquisition of analog (photo) and digital (image) data from platforms ranging from hand-held devices to space-borne systems Remotely sensed data may be interpreted manually, in analog or digital form, or analyzed digitally via image processing and classification techniques. Continuously collected remote sensing data from space provides major benefits to scientists studying and understanding human impacts on the global environment, managing the earth's natural resources, and planning and conducting many other activities of scientific and social importance In agriculture, color infrared (CIR) aerial photography or satellite images are used to determine the health of vegetation Infrared vs. Regular Color:  Infrared vs. Regular Color Reading CIR:  Reading CIR Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, reflects nearly all near infrared light (NIR) and absorbs nearly all visible red light The more red the vegetation appears the healthier it is Disease or stressed plants can be observed from aerial or satellite imagery Reading CIR:  Reading CIR Deep Red: Healthy vegetation Pink: Stressed or immature vegetation Dark Green: Black organic loam or higher soil moisture Light Green: Lighter soil or shallow topsoil Black: Clear standing water White: Sand, clay or canola in bloom Geospatial Technologies and Ag:  Geospatial Technologies and Ag Uses soil mapping, land use and watershed management, water quality, forestry, aquatic life, wetlands, riparian, vegetation, livestock monitoring, crop health and analysis, disease analysis, chemical application distribution, insect infestations, hail damage, crop inventory etc… Using GPS and GIS to map crop and field boundaries:  Using GPS and GIS to map crop and field boundaries Examining Flood Plains:  Examining Flood Plains Examining Soil Types:  Examining Soil Types Examining Yields:  Examining Yields Individual Tree Data:  Individual Tree Data Using Color Infrared to look at soybean fields over the growing season:  June 8th July 8th August 3rd September 12th Using Color Infrared to look at soybean fields over the growing season Precision Agriculture:  Precision Agriculture Precision agriculture, or site-specific farming, is "a system to better manage farm resources. Precision farming is an information and technology based management system now possible because of several technologies currently available to agriculture. These include global positioning systems, geographic information systems, yield monitoring devices, soil, plant and pest sensors, remote sensing, and variable rate technologies for application of inputs." (NESPAL, Tifton GA)  Precision Agriculture:  Precision Agriculture The purpose of precision agriculture is to improve efficiency of production and minimize input costs The use and application of crop production inputs in an efficient and precise manner. These inputs could be seed, chemicals, or fertilizers Precision Agriculture:  Precision Agriculture The fertility level of most fields, even those with the highest visible uniformity, is actually quite variable.  I’m sure we all know of areas within our fields which, year-after-year, produce higher yields than other areas.  These differences can be caused by poor drainage, weeds, pests, compaction, nutrient shortages, or other conditions.  Variable-rate fertilizer application, as opposed to conventional flat-rate fertilization, attempts to account for these differences. Flat-rate Fertilizer Application:  Flat-rate Fertilizer Application High-yielding soils, represented by the left side of the graph, receive the same amount of fertilizer as the perennially low-yielding regions of the field, represented by the right side of the graph. The variation in yield leads to a variation in plant nutrient uptake throughout the field. The result is lost yield potential in some areas and wasted fertilizer in others. Grid Sampling:  Grid Sampling Grid sampling, a field is divided into sections or “grids” of a specified and manageable size - typically 1.6 acres each.  A representative sample is then acquired from each grid for an individual test.  The sampling is done using a GPS receiver and a computer to map the field, position the samples, and record their locations. These geo-referenced samples are then sent to a soil testing lab for analysis.  Grid Sampling:  Grid Sampling Once the soil test results are received, a computer program builds a contour map of each tested nutrient, smoothing out the changes in nutrient concentrations throughout the field. Variable-rate Fertilizer Application :  Variable-rate Fertilizer Application Fertilizer variably-applied, based on grid sample data.  Instead of the fertilizer application rate being constant across the field, low yielding sites receive reduced rates, allowing plants to utilize nutrients stored in the soil.  High yielding sites receive greater amounts of fertilizer to accommodate greater plant nutrient uptake and higher yields. Light Bar Guidance Technology:  Light Bar Guidance Technology Used to “steer” tractor or other machinery with GPS technology Can be used to operate machinery in dark or fog Connects to other monitoring equipment to determine spray, seeding, and till rates Helps eliminate overlap and skip Allows you to start where you left off Precision Agriculture Survey:  Precision Agriculture Survey Precision farming adoption has increased. About 30% of farmers surveyed had adopted at least one precision farming component, about eight percentage points higher than the percentage found in a similar 1999 study. The average adopter uses about four precision farming components. The most widely adopted precision components were georeferenced grid soil sampling, variable rate application of lime, phosphorus and potassium, and the use of a yield monitor Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed who have adopted one or more precision agriculture components have gross farm sales of over $500,000 a year. Farmers age 35 or younger tend to adopt such technologies much more quickly than those in older age groups. Nearly 50% of young farmers have adopted precision agriculture technologies, as opposed to 31% of those aged 50-65 Marvin Batte, the Ohio State University professor and agricultural economist who led the study Approximate Basic Costs:  Approximate Basic Costs Desktop Computer = $600 - $1,500 ESRI ArcView GIS Software = $1,500 Handheld GPS = $175 - $400 Lightbar and onboard computers for precision ag vary in price $2500 and up Where to get data?:  Where to get data? Large amount of free GIS data and 1:24000 USGS aerial photography at United States Geologic Service Free GIS data viewer at ArcExplorer Ag Leader has free demos for their precision ag software Where to get data?:  Where to get data? Up-to-date CIR and aerial photography and imagery is usually not readily available for free Older images are generally good for field mapping Free USGS aerial photos are from 1990’s are up Must pay to have a specific area photographed or imaged Where to get data?:  Where to get data? Digital space images are available from Space Imaging and Digital Globe Local aerial photographers and imagers County Extensions may have data to share State Geologic Survey Ag Map :  Ag Map Free service to ag-related businesses sponsored by PSU and PDA Promotes your products and services Uses GIS so consumers can locate your business Ag Classified ads Help Wanted For Sale Wanted to buy 89 results found for Xmas Trees in Ag Map!:  89 results found for Xmas Trees in Ag Map! Is your business on Ag Map? Questions?:  Questions? Contact information Sean Crager Pa Department of Agriculture GIS Lab / Room 103 2301 N Cameron St Harrisburg, PA 17110 (717)705-8897

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