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Agricultural Management through Web GIS: The Catalan Vineyard Register

Jaume Royo Llobet
Jaume Royo Llobet
GIS Director
TAO-gedas
Email: jaume.royo@tao.es

Maria del Mar Juan
Maria del Mar Juan
CVR Project Manager
Department of Agriculture (DARP)
Catalan Regional Government
Email: mjuan@gencat.net

Anna Guimet
Anna Guimet
GIS consultant
TAO-gedas
Email: anna.guimet@tao.es



Abstract
In 2004, the Catalan Department of Agriculture (DARP) developed an innovative GIS to manage geographically all the information about crops and plots of the region. The first step of the corporate GIS, totally web based, was to modernize the Catalan Vineyard Register (CVR). The company TAO-gedas was given the responsibility of managing, developing and starting up both projects. The project officially started up in September 2003 and its total completion is scheduled for the end of 2005. New improvements, as field data capture through mobile devices are planned for 2006. This GIS project applied to vineyards was awarded as one of the most innovative European projects in the ESRI conference of Paris 2004, and is an outstanding reality with its more that 500 intranet users, and 10.000 expected internet users (parcel owners and farmers).


Figure 1: Main Page of the Catalan Vineyard Register

Efficient management and better communication through GIS
Vinetyards have an important impact on the economy of the catalan region in Spain. The wine sector eleven regulatory councils, 660 wine cellars, 95 bottling plants and 26,800 vine growers, whose activity spreads over 89.000 vine-growing plots which occupy around 70.000 ha of cultivable land. Therefore, the aim of the project was to set up a unified, redundancy-free information system, in terms of both the alphanumeric register and the cartography to respond to the sectorís needs. The added value expected from the new CVR were:
  • To reduce administrative tasks by rationalising processes and procedures, thus making it possible to speed up the operations to be performed by vine growers (harvest declarations, uprooting or new plantation requests, etc.).
  • To integrate the GIS component into the vineyard register, in order to be able to edit, update, view, enquire into and analyse the geometric, administrative and agronomic characteristics of vine-growing plots directly from the cartography.
  • To work with a platform based on web technology, in order to enhance communication between the DARP and external agents (regulatory councils, wine cellars, cooperatives, etc.).
The integration between cartography and the vineyard register was the first step for building a corporate agriocultural GIS. Hence all tools developed were designed as an open tranverse system able to link to other agricultural databases (oil register, citrus cultivation register, fishing inventories, etc.).

The key: a vineyard database integrated with cartography
The new geodatabase was build on Oracle 9i/ArcSDE, and included the following layers of cartographic information:
  • A catalogue of orthophotographs in ECW format of the entire Catalan region, at scales of 1:5,000 (colour), 1:5,000 (black and white) and 1:25,000 (colour).
  • Topographic cartography, at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000, of the entire Catalan region, including hydrography, toponymy, roads and contours.
  • 20x20, 100x100 and 200x200 digital land models.
  • Cadastral plots with their respective coding.
  • Vine-growing plots, obtained on the basis of a bulk digitalisation process.
Alongside the cartography, the GIS also maintains all the attribute data related to the vineyard sector in the region. This inventory, with more than 90.000 elements new CVR manages and maintains a unified, redundancy-free vineyard database, the main nucleus of information of which is the inventory of vine-growing plots. Each and every one of the vine-growing plots that exists in Catalonia (approximately 90,000) is registered in this inventory, along with its corresponding administrative data (e.g. land ownership, vineyard ownership, tenancy system, ownership of rights, etc.), its agronomic characteristics (e.g. variety, type of irrigation, year of plantation, stock, planting distance, type of piping, number of vines, soil type, condition, etc.) and its geographical attributes (declared surface areas and measurements on the cartography, perimeter of the plot, linked land register plots, etc).

In addition to vine-growing plots, the vineyard register also holds information on currently applicable and historical rights, linked people and institutions (such as plant owners (vine growers), land owners, holders of rights, cooperatives, wine cellars and regulatory councils) and the grape quantities declared by each vine grower on the basis of a register of the results of weighing. All details are updated on the basis of operations resulting from the requests made by vine growers in regional centres or via the internet. This information is thus dynamic in time, a property that gives the new CVR one of its main added values, namely the possibility of quickly consulting and analysing historical information as regards both vine-growing plots and transfers of rights. The historical record offers the possibility of retrieving the geometry of a vine-growing plot on a given date in the past, which enables a plotís cartographic evolution to be recreated on a time line.

When GIS helps
The GIS is a transverse information system that allow the DARP technical staff (approximately 1,000) to view, consult and perform simple analyses on the cartography of any type of agricultural information. The main functions to which users have access in relation to the vineyard register are as follows:
  • Instantaneously locating vine-growing plots in the Catalan region.
  • Obtaining measurements of the perimetric lengths and surface areas of vine-growing plots.
  • Drawing new vine-growing plots, in a manner that is integrated with the making of requests and declarations.
  • Performing of editing operations on existing vine-growing plots (aggregation, segregation, modification of vertices, etc.).
  • Accompanying of requests with a map showing the location of the plot affected by vineyard uprooting or plantation.
  • Performing of comparative studies of the plots in a specific area, based on their variety, year planting or condition. Groups with similar characteristics are visually identified by means of different colours.
  • Restoring a plotís outline, as registered during fieldwork by means of GPS terminals, directly on the cartography.
The attribute data is maintained trough a set of guided workflows, that permit to update information related to vineyard inventories (vine-growing plots, rights, grape-weighing results, linked people and institutions, etc.) but also for the straightforward management of requests, integrated with the cartography.


Figure 2: Searching a municipality with vineyard plots

A helpful system for the vineyard sector
The CVR integrated with GIS has different type of user profiles:
  • Technicians from regional centres of the DARP, who may process vine-growing plots, draw them on the cartography and provide information on their attributes. They can also control is surfaces declared by the vine growers, matching them with orthoimages.
  • Vine growers, who may consult information related to the vine-growing plots that they own and/or in which they have plants. They may also print out a detailed vineyard file for each plot, along with a map showing its location. Most of all, vine growers can declare through the internet how many vineyard acres they are going to plant or uproot, and to confirm whenever the work has been carried out.
  • Technicians from regulatory councils, who may begin proceedings corresponding to requests for uprooting, new plantations, modifications, transfers of rights, etc. for the vine-growing plots in their area, in addition to making the cartographic modifications associated with such plots.

Figure 3: the GIS viewer of the Catalan Vineyard Register

Conclusions
During its first year of operation, the CVR had a monthly average of 2.000 requests for updating information (uprooting, plantation, transfer of rights, etc.). Aside from the benefits in terms of improved management referred to above, the aspects that users value most highly are the standardisation of data and the possibility of obtaining statistics and reports, along with the management of historical records. The integration of the register with the GIS has made it possible to locate and view any vine-growing plot on the cartography, on the basis of the plotís code, owner, vine grower or associated proceedings, as well as to check declared surface areas during edition.

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