Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Agricultural Research

Geografische Informationssysteme (GIS) in der landwirtschaftlichen Forschung

Spatial analyses are becoming increasingly important in agriculture and in agricultural research. Nowadays, the spatial reference is usually created with Geographic Information Systems – ‘GIS’ for short – and in the field, with the assistance of the Global Positioning System, or ‘GPS’ for short.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the collection, administration, analysis and presentation of spatial data. For this reason, Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART applies GIS in all research spheres. GIS are used in projects from different disciplines, and serve as interfaces of interdisciplinary research programmes. In particular, the following areas may be cited:

  • Precision farming
  • Vegetation mapping and zoological surveys
  • Land-use monitoring
  • Soil assessment and erosion-damage mapping
  • Substance-flow analyses (Phosphorus, nitrogen, pesticides)
  • Landscape structural analysis and assessment of landscape appearance
  • Landscape character classification
  • Changes in hydrological balance and climate change
  • Air pollution
  • Agroeconomic forecasts

GIS offer the opportunity of combining and analysing the most varied data and deriving new information therefrom. Thus, for example, GIS can help us to determine suitable sites for a use, or conflicts between different uses, whilst presenting data in a clear and understandable manner. They can therefore serve as a decision-making basis for administrative, economic and research spheres in the form of maps and graphics.