What is GIS?
GIS is the contracted form of Geographic Information System. Succinctly put, this is a system that provides information about a particular geographical point. Extensively though, GIS is a system that is designed to capture, store, analyze, manage and/or present geographic data. Alongside location intelligence, GIS can be the foundation for many location-based and enabled services that rely on such analysis. GIS has an extensive range of application and these include archaeology, crime mapping, engineering, and public health. Among these, the application of GIS in agriculture and natural resources management would particularly be focused on.
Predict future occurrences
Droughts, flood, hurricanes, storms, and other similar occurrences have always been detrimental to the agricultural community. GIS helps predict the future occurrence(s) of any of these to the end that the agricultural community can be better prepared, and in advance, more efficient farming techniques are developed and adopted and avoidable loss is mitigated.
Soil data analysis
At the root of many farming operations is the soil. By analyzing historical farming practices as well as soil data, GIS helps provide information about what crop is best planted where and when, thereby encouraging efficient farming.
Investigate claims of crop damage
With GIS, agencies can now investigate the authenticity of crop damage. Apart from authenticity, they can also investigate the root cause of this and put efficient control/preventive measures in place.
Provision of information to farmers
GIS-based programs that can give farmers adequate information about their crops, soil and/or predicted future occurrences, have now been developed. Farmers can now have this information without necessarily having access to GIS. Another upside of this is that with these software programs, farmers can also provide onsite information that otherwise wouldn’t have been gotten via satellite
Natural Resource Management
GIS helps provide information about historical as well as projected natural disasters like floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes, etc. It also provides information about the already occurring as well as projected impacts of anthropogenic (human) activities. These include desertification, deforestation, desert encroachment and melting ice caps among others.
Critical to natural resource management is land cover (how much of a region is covered by wetlands, impervious surfaces, forest, water bodies, etc) and land use (shows how people use the landscape). GIS gives information about the changes in these changes especially with respect to time.
GIS provides information about the resources present in a place, with respect to time. This inventory helps provide information about biodiversity loss that has occurred and that will occur if current land use patterns remain the same.
GIS provides data about environmental issues such as pollution, erosion and land degradation. This information includes past, ongoing and predicted future occurrences.