ENABLING RURAL PRODUCERS TO SIMPLIFY FORMAL FARM PLANS, INCREASE PRODUCTION AND PROFIT
AgForce is an industry organization that strives to ensure the long-term growth, viability, competitiveness and profitability of rural producers in Queensland, Australia, including broadacre industries of cattle, grain, sheep and wool. AgForce Projects, the state government-funded projects division of AgForce, delivers free skills, training and technology to all Queensland producers, including property-based maps to assist with property management, coal seam gas (CSG) mining preparedness and statutory land-based applications to government.
Farmers and producers in Queensland, Australia are required to submit detailed maps or GIS files with their applications to the government for vegetation clearing. AgForce provides producers with complex maps with many layers — including satellite imagery, cadaster, vegetation, contours and regional ecosystems — however, the majority of producers are not GIS-trained. Traditionally, producers have relied on the tedious process of manually marking up hardcopy property maps to capture property resources and they needed an easier, more efficient method to show proposed changes to the regional ecosystem.
Recognizing this challenge, AgForce Projects selected the TerraGo® platform. TerraGo enables AgForce Projects to create the base map — including the required layers — and provide its producers with the necessary capabilities to mark up the map with the proposed changes. Applications to government authorities for proposed vegetation boundary changes can be submitted in a GIS format, yet few farmers have GIS software. The TerraGo platform allows farmers to capture information required for the government application and then provide the accompanying Esri shape files, which are also required as part of the application. Producers do not have to be GIS experts to use TerraGo and can interact with GeoPDF maps in multiple ways to better formalize their farm plans.
As part of this service to its members, AgForce Projects delivers a CD package containing a GeoPDF of the producer’s property, as well as the latest software and documentation. Additionally, AgForce Projects conducts a one-day, basic property computing mapping course or a GeoPDF® maps option with an introduction to computer mapping for minimal cost.
In less than 12 months, AgForce Projects has provided more than 1,200 GeoPDF maps to producers for use with applications for vegetation clearing. Leveraging the TerraGo platform, producers can now easily capture property resources and delineate proposed vegetation boundary changes for submission to the government as required. Additionally, producers can add geo-referenced notes, photos, audio and video updates to ensure that map information remains up-to-date. If GPS is attached to the laptop being used, producers can also flag their current location GPS on the GeoPDF. The initiative has empowered producers to more easily analyze and better use their land for increased production and profit. Using a GeoPDF for property mapping to manage resources and demonstrate productivity can also assist for future on-property coal seam gas and mining activities.
Using a GeoPDF map allows producers to effectively manage remnant vegetation while maintaining compliance with legislation.