Geospatial Data: How It’s Collected and How It Can Best Be Used
Geospatial data is a subset of spatial data and comes in many forms. It is used to define associated technology and the collective data that has a specific geographic or locational component.
Geospatial indicates that data has a geographic component associated with it.
In precision agriculture, this refers to the geographical information that is used to determine a farm’s field variability to ensure that inputs are used optimally and that the output of a farm is maximized.
The concept of precision agriculture came with the realization that different fields of land hold different properties, such as spatial variations of soil type, nutrient availability, moisture content, and other properties.
To get accurate data, geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and global positioning systems (GPS) are used. These tools help farmers determine with precision the right inputs to place in the exact area and in the correct quantity.
How Geospatial Data Is Collected
Several techniques are used to collect and analyze data effectively to ensure success in geospatial technology.
Division of Land
The first step is to divide the land into manageable zones using remote sensing. The division is based on a variety of properties—crop characteristics, fertility requirements, hybrid responses, nutrient availability, pest infestation, pH rates, soil types, soil moisture content, and weather predictions.
Aerial & satellite photographs are also used during this process.
Spatial Data Conversion
Observations made with the human eye and with the help of modern technology is geo-referenced into a database. Together with data collected from remote sensing, they are converted into spatial data. Using a variety of GIS techniques and tools, spatial data is made to reflect all management zones within the farm.
Use of GIS Software
For the data to be useful to the farmer, GIS software is used to develop digital maps, reflecting the entire farm and its different zones. The data is presented in raster or vector formats so that management zones are effectively differentiated based on specific values.
With the spatial data mapped, results are then compared to determine any relationships and trends that might be present on the ground, such as high nutrient content or high infestation of parasites. Site-specific decisions are then made based on the comparison, such as whether or not to use fertilizer or herbicide.
How Geospatial Data Is Used in Agriculture
As previously mentioned, geospatial data provide farmers with information on which crop to use where, or whether to grow crops or treat soil first. More than this, geospatial data will also help project current and future crop output, precipitation, temperature and more, all of which ensure a healthy and productive yield.
With the help of GIS, farmers and farmland scientists can develop farming techniques that are effective and efficient, increasing food production and a farmer’s bottom line.
Farmers will also have access to vital information they need before growing crops. With season by season accessibility, farming practices in the urban center and rural areas are greatly improved.
In the US, the USDA uses GIS systems to protect crops, solve issues related to it, and to investigate claims of crop damage that could turn out to be fraudulent.
For more information, contact Precision Agronomics today.
Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!