GeoWorld January 2012

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future, helping to establish policies and sustainable practices. Analytic data allow for long-term planning and a baseline for legal regulations for the agriculture industry. Also, using these data for predictive analysis allows growers to be agile in the wake of environmental events, assisting in recovery time with less impact to the economy. Drowning in Data, Starved for Knowledge As in many communities, the agriculture industry's use of such rapidly available geospatial information is fairly new and presents some challenges in providing users the information they need in a manner in which it can be used to affect their farms. There's a lot of geospatial data available to the science, military and intelligence communities, but not all of it is applicable to the agriculture industry, where unique data types are needed for actionable intelligence. "Leaf-on" imagery is key to the agriculture industry, which needs to view the health of crops. Most of this information is taken in an environment where the most-popular data types are collected for general-planning purposes such as roads, buildings and other structures, and it doesn't include the leaf-on information that farmers need. This leads to specific collection missions being required for agricultural data. Rapid dissemination of these data also can be a challenge. Information available through programs such as NAIP is broadcast over radios to farmers, instead of in a way that's easier for them to use and analyze. Geospatial data delivery to handheld devices would greatly change the end users' position in the geospatial lifecycle, allowing them to be part of the process instead of having information pushed to them in the final stages. The same concept that's used for the military could be adapted for the agriculture industry, allowing farmers to receive more information that will directly impact their business. It also would allow them to be more a part of the process, enabling farms to have a voice in which data are collected and how they're processed and dis- seminated. Instead of merely receiving information, by receiving data directly, farmers would better be able to direct the collection and analysis of the information by creating a two-way communication between end users and those collecting and disseminating information. By using the technology and information available, the agriculture industry can help improve productivity and quality while ensuring that their produce remains cost effective for consumers. Moreover, geospatial information is allowing this important industry to use actionable intelligence to grow and shape the industry as a whole. In today's evolving "knowledge economy," innova- tions achieved by applying geospatial technology Imagery/LIDAR Special Issue A one-meter natural-color digital orthophotograph of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, was acquired during the NAIP 2009 flying season. Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland are significant landmarks within the city. Agricultural land-use data available from imagery is used by USDA to monitor crop compliance and enforce crop regulations. developed for military uses to improving agricultural business outcomes will continue to be key to the economy and wider technology adoption across busi- ness sectors. Sean Love is geospatial business development director, Northrop Grumman; e-mail: JANUAR Y 2O12 / WWW . GEOPLA CE . COM 21 USDA FSA APFO USDA FSA APFO

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