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How to use GIS in Agriculture?

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Application of GIS in Agriculture

The agricultural sector is the major contributor of the rural Indian economy and in it revolves the social economic privileges as well so any changes in Agriculture may affect the social equality. Agriculture needs to be more sustainable and should generate a market for expansion of industry & services so that it can contribute to the national economic growth.

The future of Agriculture cannot depend on the traditional methods of Farming as it is very costly and risky. With the advent of technologies and modern techniques of Farming, it has enabled to grow more quality production. These technologies are cost effective and the data improvements help in better research, better results and better planning & decision, which helps in using the resources judiciously and managing the resources & practices effectively.

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Agricultural community has always been affected due to natural calamities like floods or droughts and even due to poor Farming techniques, pests & diseases, irregular irrigation etc. These factors always remain a hindrance in the agricultural sector and many improvements have been made to ensure safety and gain proper yielding of the crops worldwide, but still there remain some factors which affect the Farming strategies.

To overcome this situation, farmers have now been modernized and they have started using digital techniques to ensure safety and production. Here we will discuss one such technique called Geographic Information System (GIS) which is very helpful to the agricultural sector as it is capable of mapping and projecting present and future fluctuations in regard to precipitation, temperature, crop output, and many more.

What is GIS?

GIS is a computerized tool to perform the below mentioned functions for a geographical data:

  • capture
  • store
  • manipulate
  • retrieve
  • analyze and
  • display

This tool presents the geographic data by capturing the images and analyzing them. It provides the ability of creating maps and visualizing them in different ways. It helps the user to create questionnaires, edit data in maps and present the findings of the operations. It aims to improve agricultural development by analyzing the collected spatial data and providing spatial decisions at the same time. It helps the farmers to achieve higher production and reduces extra costs which are used in other important operations resulting in better management of land resources.

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GIS was a broad concept in the past and it required a lot of training to use it, but now it has become very easy to use and apply in your farm by just using GIS software in your laptop.

Objectives of using GIS

GIS has innumerable benefits in the farm and is used with the objectives of:

  • increasing fertility of soil
  • reducing soil degradation
  • increasing crop productivity and quality
  • reducing costs & risks
  • increasing optimization & automation of crop production
  • maximizing the decision making and planning efficiency
  • integrating information from various sources
  • generating information from geographical data
  • eliminating redundant database
  • providing efficient means of sources for data distribution and its handling
  • identifying & addressing the problem areas such as data sources, modelling, error & uncertainty

Application of GIS in Agriculture

GIS plays a very important role in Agriculture. Its applications have increased over the years with changes in technology. Here we will see some of its notable applications in the agricultural sector.

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  1. Agricultural Mapping

GIS is very important in mapping the present and future fluctuations in the sleet, crop output, precipitation and temperature of the soils. The mapping helps the scientists & farmers work together on a common issue with the same goal of creating more effective & efficient Farming techniques. This would increase food production in the land where the produce is not good enough and eliminate food shortages.

  1. Soil Analysis

GIS helps in determining the type of soil and helps to decide which plants to grow in it and how to maintain the nutrients present in the soil to provide more benefit to the plants.

  1. Data combination

GIS together  with USDA sectors combine large amounts of data into a data set to solve crop issues, protect them and provide solutions to fake claims of crop damage. It also provides access to crop information to the farmers every season.

  1. Interaction with Farmers

GIS helps the farmers to access data on their lands and helps them in interacting with the data, arranging questionnaires and providing reliable and valuable data that can not be generalized  through satellites. This also increases the data accuracy of the machine.

How digital farming work?

  1. Determination of Nutrients

GIS studies the different status of nutrients in the soil which helps the farmers decide the required amount of nutrients to be applied.

  1. Assemble information

GIS assembles the information about the soil moisture, nutrient levels, elevation and topography and then does the mapping which shows the influencing factors that are hindering the crop yield. Also the crop yield is used as a future reference for the economic inputs and outputs.

  1. Produce maps for land inventory

GIS stores geospatial data and it provides information on whether the land is capable of supporting Agriculture, wildlife, tourism and forestry which would help in determining the production of crops both locally and globally.

  1. Precision Farming

The sensors in fields, on tractors and on satellites are very efficient in collecting data which in turn transforms this data into information to enable the farmers and land managers to make informed and  timely decisions. This helps in boosting productivity and also reduces environmental impact. Many technologies like precision equipment, IoT, sensors, actuators, geopositioning systems, Big data, Automation, Robotics, Unmanned aerial vehicles, etc are making Farming easy and smart.

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  1. Real time Mapping

The satellites and drones that have been placed in the farms enable the farmers to receive real time mapping and it reduces the time of walking to the field in search of data. It helps them to monitor the soil health, irrigation requirement, pests & diseases, plants health, weeds presence, requirement of fertilizers and many more. The challenges which the farmers used to face due to the unavailability of these technologies have now been effectively managed and has made Farming easy and efficient.

  1. Raising alertness

GIS collects data from all around and informs about the food scarcity. Farming requires much attention and farmer’s need to be aware of their crops and their availability. GIS ensures food security by providing the farmers with information  about the food shortages in affected areas where they can produce crops. It also helps them with the information about the extent of production hindrance due to natural disasters , fertilizer requirements and thriving crops.

  1. Historical data comparison

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GIS provides real time analysis which is used as a future reference to grow crops. The production and the use of resources at the present time would help in deciding the requirements in the future to increase productivity. The growing population has been a great concern because it needs food security and to meet the future needs of food, we need to double the current production by the year 2050, according to a research. GIS has enabled to compare the historical data because of its real time analysis capability.

  1. Analyze and Visualize Agricultural environments

GIS analyzes and visualizes the agricultural environment and also monitors the working and management in the environment to ensure a successful and profitable farm. GIS has proved very beneficial to the Farming industry because it creates a balance between the inputs and the outputs.

  1. Increase food production

GIS helps the farmers to increase their productivity and helps them with reducing their investment costs which in turn helps them manage their farms more effectively. GIS analyses the production data and stores them for future references.


GIS has a very impactful future and with the rise in technologies it will soon become handy to the rural farmers and help grow crops, feed their families, and produce enough foods so that  they could export to the neighbouring areas. The farmers would be able to predict the weather effects to their crops – how the weather would harm the crops, so they could move to better geographical locations, they would know about how and when to irrigate their field based on local water resources and weather patterns. This would also help in alleviating the world’s food crisis.


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