What do we know today?
We are an journey to explore different ecological landscapes to understand our interaction with different environments around the world. Population growth is unquestionably at the root of many environmental problems. However, the increase in our exploitation and consumption of resources is also to blame (Withgott & Brennan, 2010). The desire for great quantity and quality of food for growing populations led to the Green Revolution in the mid – and late 20th centuries. Realizing that farmers could not continue cultivating additional land to increase crop output, agricultural scientists devised growing methods (Article: How to Grow Food At Home) and technologies to increase crop output per unit area of existing cultivated land (Withgott & Brennan, 2010). Meaning the Green Revolution aimed to increase enhanced agricultural productivity per unit area of land in developing nations. The increased production efficiency has fed more people while reducing the amount of natural land converted for farming. However, many practices of intensive commercial agriculture exert substantial negative environmental impacts. At the same time, it should be understood that some aspects of industrial agriculture have helped alleviate certain pressures on land or resources.
Today, technology has traditionally increased new methods and career opportunities (Article: How Remote Work can offer opportunity in GIS | 2021) to help reduce environmental impact by outlining the fundamentals of making decisions using precise collected data.
Collecting Data for a Sustainable Agriculture
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been widely used in the agricultural sector to improve and increase agricultural production over the past decades. The future of image maps looks bright and exciting to learn about the environment. You could see how land is used in your local area, revealing how land uses evolved over time into the geographical patterns seen today (Kimerling, Buckley, Muehrcke, & Phillip C., 2012, p. 466). GIS is a computer system used to collect, store, verify, and display data related to locations on the Earth’s surface. And its only a valuable tool with the proper equipment to collect raw field data like using GPS receivers, which will be discussed further in this article. Often, variations in agricultural land use are due to the physical environment. GIS helps better understand spatial patterns and relationships of crops grown in the area. This information lets you navigate where distant features are located from place to place. For example, see apples grown east of the lake, while blueberries and peaches are grown along both sides. Ask yourself, why is the fruit growing clustered along the shores of a lake at all? Then, why are different types of fruits grown on different sides of the lake? GIS technology can help us begin to learn ways to find and examine in detail the capabilities used in the agricultural sector to search for distinctive patterns to interpret the human landscapes at a low cost with proper training.
The agricultural sector is facing a significant challenge to sustain the increasing population in the country. For instance, the largest economy of any U.S. state, California, has reported a rapid increase in population, estimated to be an average of 39.2 million residents in 2021 U.S. Census Tract. California farmers are part of a large U.S. state with various climates that provide a variety of sources of food, energy, and shelter. Also, it has a large, naturally occurring community of growth with four seasons with 163,696 square miles for residents, farmers, ranchers, and wineries to thrive. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Agricultural Statistics of approximately 69,900 farms and ranches make up California’s remarkable agricultural community (German, 2021). Statistics show that human populations in California have increased by 6 % in the last 5 years and a significant increase in food demand (Nath et al. p., 233). This has raised the alarm in the agricultural sector to increase food products to prevent food insecurity in the country. Hence, GIS technology can be widely utilized to locate new areas for agricultural diversification. My objective is to demonstrate GIS into action how data collection using geospatial science is truthful and reliable in growing local food by finding suitable locations to produce in unknown areas to increase food production due to the increasing population.
Use of Geospatial Science to Locate Agricultural Sites
Geographic Information System can analyze soil data and determine which crops should plant where and how to maintain soil nutrition to best benefit the plants. This technology is crucial in agriculture because the human population grows tremendously in the United States. Yet much of the information to interpret the human landscape is needed to comprehend how human geography has developed truly may not be on maps. The GIS world requires additional public information to reference accurate data, while remote sensing helps us apply landscape ecology to send us to monitor our planet using satellite imagery. However, classifying land cover as lesser than 1 meter can result in classification error. Also, the cost can vary to expensive results depending on the project and environment. Still, that doesn’t sound so bad. Various technologies can help farmers achieve increased food production with reduced costs by enabling better management of land resources (Nath et al. p., 234). For example, thriving agriculture requires healthy soil. Due to the human population and consumption increase, pressures from agriculture are degrading Earth’s soil, and we lose 5-7 million ha (12-17 million acres) of productive cropland annually (Withgott & Brennan, 2010).
The Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment includes navigation, data collection, and mapping applications. Also, its many advantages, ease of use, low cost, coverage over large areas, collecting relatively high accuracy positioning data, and more. GPS handheld receiverscan be categorized into three grades based on the level of accuracy they provide and the specific functions they offer. The technology is concerned with how we collect, represent, store, visualize, analyze, use, and present these geographic concepts to help or hinder effective spatial reasoning (Kimerling, Buckley, Muehrcke, & Phillip C., 2012). Suppose you’re going to extract information from a map or even during a field survey so that someone else will understand what you have discovered. In that case, you need an objective way, so two people looking at the same information/patterns, in the same way, so you could be sure that your description is trustworthy. Therefore, map accuracy in relation to uncertainty must be measured for future sustainable (Article:How to define Sustainability? It’s a start with many aspects.) data for the mapmaker and map user in a society quick to sue. This topic can be discussed in a later article about understanding any systematic error using GIS to identify bias.
For example, contour farming attempts to adjust agriculture practices to the physical environment. If the land is flat, it’s simplest for the farmer to make rectangular fields or fairly uniform size and orient. However, on rough terrains and land segmented by a stream network, farms often create irregular shape, size, and orientation fields. Remember using GIS to create maps is just one means to your real goal- understanding the world. If you don’t look beyond map symbols to the reality they represent, you might defeat the purpose and up with soil deterioration.
Is GIS an essential tool?
GIS has become mandatory in many settings for Businesses, government, education, and non-profit organizations. GIS is an essential tool because it helps individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships. When I was introduced to the field by outstanding professors from Humboldt State University and California State Unversity (CSU) Long Beach in the Geography Department, I learned how the GIS could be an essential and valuable tool in growing our economy.
The developer of ArcGIS, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), is the developer and marketer of a full line of GIS products and services. During my four years in field research using ArcMap, ArcGIS Online, creating maps, and aerial/satellite imagery with a limited budget out of my pocket. I have presented new findings working with professional teams sharing unique backgrounds to collect, manage, analyze, and effectively displayed spatial information of geographic features throughout California. The advantages to use this friendly user software called the ArcGIS Collector / Cassic App can be installed on cellphones, works with bluletooth devices, especially working in a no internet zone and data can be easily upload to the ArcGIS Online cloud.
What is a Collector App?
ArcGIS Collector is a mobile data collection application that makes data collection easy by capturing accurate data. Its an alternative to collect ground truth data depending on the project you are working on. Its free as starting your own ESRI ArcGIS Online account, the display can be customized to suite a wide range to create a presentable spatial visualization and analysis by your fingertips. However, all software tools are as usefull as the designers who designed them. So ESRI seeks to improve with simple upgrades to benefit their customers and assets. For example, some projects, such as damage assessments, spots within ten feet of damage can provide enough information. For other projects, like underground pipeline management, the collection site should be a few inches from the actual location. When location is collected using the device’s location services, location information may be determined from various sources, such as GPS, cellular networks, WiFi, or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the accuracy of these sources varies, and device location services are not always reliable. For those performing data collection that requires better accuracy and reliable quality control, using a professional-grade or high-precision GPS receiver is often the best choice.
The following are the pros and cons of the ArcGIS Collector.
- Easily collect and update field service features.
- Field telephone monitoring.
- Ability to attach images with features.
- Ability to navigate to functions.
- Easily update applications through ArcGIS online.
- Simple interface.
- App usability on Android and iOS.
- Integrated with control panel.
- Can’t stream vertices (no polygon and line features)
- No disconnected editing
- Limited documentation
- Difficult sending maps to the phone (no option to import the map from ArcGIS online)
- No ability to log in as a user until the map link is shared
- The Collector app currently does not support m/z values
- Expenses. It is costly to use.
- If not correctly used, the technology may lead to a significant waste of resources and may do more harm than good.
To sum it up, data collection is very crucial for our economy. GIS technology is helpful in data collection, and it provides accurate and precise data on the natural environment where we establish and build our economy. GIS technology has helped collect data for the agricultural sector and other businesses thriving. The information provided by geospatial science, such as the vulnerability of earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, and flood hazards, is very crucial when establishing a business, farms, and plantations. Collecting data is essential because it gives information about the natural environment, and such information can help a country change the economy to be truthful and reliable. Lets keep working together to both sustain and support our community and environment.
- California Department of Food and Agriculture. “California Agricultural Statistics Review 2017–2018.” State of California (2018).
- German, B. (2021, 03 12). 2019 Crop Report Shows More Than $50 Billion in Cash Receipts. Retrieved from agnetwest.com: https://agnetwest.com/2019-crop-report-shows-more-than-50-billion-in-cash-receipts/
- Kimerling, A., Buckley, A., Muehrcke, J., & Phillip C., P. (2012). Map Use (7th ed.). Redlands: ESRI Press. Retrieved 01 01, 2022
- Nath, Shree S., et al. “Applications of geographical information systems (GIS) for spatial decision support in aquaculture.” Aquacultural Engineering 23.1-3 (2020): 233-278.
- Nowak, Maciej M., et al. “Mobile GIS applications for environmental field surveys: A state of the art.” Global Ecology and Conservation 23 (2020): 10-18.
- Warf, Barney, and Daniel Sui. “From GIS to neogeography: ontological implications and theories of truth.” Annals of GIS 16.4 (2018): 197-209.
- Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The Science behind the Stories (4th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson. Retrieved 1 4, 2022