• Future uses of GPS and GIS - the way forward…


    New technologies are being developed to aid in data collection. Handheld devices already exist that combine spatial data (GPS locations) and traditional data collection (specific non-spatial information). These data are entered into the device and downloaded into the database at the end of each day or week.

    Ongoing initiatives open the way for on-line querying, information access, and mapping projects in other agricultural areas and sectors, not only in Latin America but also elsewhere, for example in Africa. And also for products as cocoa, cashew nuts, or bananas to name a few…

    In the area of authentication - proving that a coffee or a product actually comes from a specific area or source - technologies such as smart tags are also being developed. Such tiny computerized tags, attached to each bag or container, can contain any set of information required to meet the market's authentication requirements, and could even be tracked by satellite if such control was necessary.

    Remote sensing and spatial mapping today provide information on natural vegetation, watersheds, land-cover, land-use, forestry and other crop areas, etc. But of course the benefits are not limited to agriculture. The same technologies assist with urban development and town planning, infrastructure verification, protection of wetlands, mapping of informal settlements: the list is almost endless and covers matters of interest to developed and developing countries alike.

    As an example see www.geospace.co.za.  For more information, a search on Google using the words Geographic Information Forum produces a lengthy list of relevant websites like, for example, www.ppgis.net - the Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies. Advanced users of mapping technology and related subjects will find http://registry.gsdi.org/index.php of interest.

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