Dr. Rick Day
Assistant Professor of Soil Science and Environmental Systems, Pennsylvania State University
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) utilize a combination of conventional maps and photographic images obtained from global positioning orbiting satellites. Digital data obtained from these sources are stored in data banks available to individuals, agencies and institutions. These include Federal, State and local governments, private consultants, farmers and taxpaying or otherwise interested members of the public. A computer with suitable downloading equipment is required to access the data banks. The software use for this purpose is called “Arc View” written by a company called ESRI. The web site address is www.gis.com. A full description can be found there.
Government agencies having uses for these data include planning, zoning, tax assessment, agricultural and non-agricultural land use, public water supply, public waste water disposal, transportation systems, farmland protection, soil conservation, conservation easements and developmental rights. Public safety organizations – police, fire and emergency – use the system in planning and directing operations. Agribusiness and farmers involved in precision farming can utilize the system in applying variable fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation or other practices depending on in-field variability.
Area maps are available on which topography, soil types, waterways and municipal water wells, roads, municipal and other political boundaries can be overlaid.
In an effort to provide wide-ranging views and perspectives regarding the practice of and issues surrounding agriculture, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (PSPA) seeks speakers representing a variety of perspectives. The statements and opinions they present are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent the views of PSPA.