UD scientists debut new GIS uses at state conference
4:33 p.m., April 21, 2004--Steven Quirings doctoral research wont gather dust on a shelf. It is an interactive, web-based research tool that can help farmers predict when to plant and when to fertilize.
Quirings work for his Ph.D. in climatology was one of the University projects highlighted Tuesday at Delaware GIS 2004 Geospatial Barn Raising at Dover Downs. Conference attendees were a mix of academics and state and local government officials who came together to share data and build a network of geographic information systems (GIS) users in Delaware.
Developing a Real-Time Agricultural Drought Monitoring System for Delaware Using a Geospatial Framework, Quirings project, uses information gleaned from databases and from nine established environmental observation stations across the state to show rainfall and model soil moisture content on a GIS map. Eventually, Quiring wants users to be able to click on a spot and get crop yield predictions for an area as small as 2.5 square miles.
The purpose is to allow the farmer to make decisions based on current soil moisture conditions and how they will impact yield and to use that information to make decisions like should I fertilize, should I irrigate. If they have better information, they can make better decisions, which will put more money in their pockets, Quiring said.
Quiring said he hopes to post a public interactive monitoring web site within a year, and eventually, he believes the work will have commercial applications as the site tracks reservoir levels, likely mosquito-breeding sites and more agricultural data.
Andrew Homsey, a geographic information scientist with the Water Resources Agency at UD, said the conference was meant as a GIS barn raising, where GIS users from different agencies could learn what data others might have that would be helpful for them and what data they have that others are seeking.
Homsey developed a GIS map for the Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination that shows more than 25 layers of information involved in deciding future state investment. Users of the online map can click on an area and automatically access data about that area. The site is accessible to PC users only at [http://joshua.dgs.udel.edu/website/InvestDE].
Andrew Klingbeil and Scott Andres of UDs Delaware Geological Survey, presented their GIS work mapping the Eastern Sussex County aquifer. Andres, who also presented a project in which he and Matthew J. Martin of the Geological Survey mapped the water table of the Inland Bays watershed, said the conference gave them an opportunity to present their pilot projects to state officials. Were looking to present our products to our audience. These are both pilot projects, but in two to three years well have products coming out of the factory to be used in state government, Andres said.
Unlike traditional contour maps, users of GIS maps can simply click on an area and get exact measurements and extensive information.
For more information on GIS in Delaware, go to [www.state.de.us/planning/coord/dgdc/].
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