SUSU Scientists Keep Working on Digitalization of Agricultural Lands

Today modern geoinformation systems allow to optimize work in the agricultural sector and many other industries. Thanks to work being performed by the Geoinformation Systems Research and Education Centre of South Ural State University, the Chelyabinsk Region is currently one of the leaders in digitalization of agricultural lands.

Over 1.3 mln hectares of agricultural lands (around 45% of plough land) have already been digitalized in the Chelyabinsk Region. Following the decision by the Chelyabinsk Region Governor Boris Dubrovsky, 7.4 mln roubles will be spent on the digitalization of agricultural lands in the region every year during the 2019 – 2021 period. The Geoinformation Systems Research and Education Centre of South Ural State University is the main contractor on agricultural lands digitalization in the municipalities.

According to Valentina Maksimova, Head of the Geoinformation Systems Research and Education Centre, the drawn up cartographic materials will display the boundaries of fields, information on the cultivated crops and their growing seasons, data on the land plot owner, etc.:

“Our main goal is to integrate the available information. You can see from space which fields are being ploughed, and which ones are actually abandoned. To reveal the scope of the abandoned lands, we take maps from twenty years ago and digitalize them. This provides us with a possibility to combine up-to-date information with data which were available at the moment when the lands were being allotted to the districts. And the program can automatically calculate what area of lands is currently abandoned. Moreover, all information is integrated in one platform and can describe the complete history of a certain field.”

The software products, which are being developed by the Geoinformation Systems Research and Education Centre since 2014, are aiming at collecting and constantly updating information on lands. At present the maps are being actively filled in with data, but it is already obvious that among the studied territories the land is best operated in Agapovka District and Troitsk District (with only 1% of abandoned lands), in Chebakul District (2%), and the total tax levy from the unaccounted-for lands for all the districts could amount to about 23 mln roubles.

Photo: Valentina Maksimova and the Chelyabinsk Region Governor Boris Dubrovsky

In the Chelyabinsk Region districts the SUSU Geoinformation Systems Research and Education Centre holds training workshops on working with geoinformation system for the heads and specialists of the district administrations for agriculture, economy offices and land committees, as well as provides interactive equipment with the uploaded map of lands.

“The main problem with performing of works on land digitalization is the lack of specialists and equipment. That is why besides the technological support we also organize trainings. We hold master classes and weekly webinars on a regular basis during the course of the project fulfilment. The executive officers of settlements and agronomists are provided with a possibility to take the advanced training courses at South Ural State University,” shares Valentina Maksimova.

In 2018 works on land digitalization were performed in 10 districts: Uiskoe, Chebarkul, Sosnovka, Oktyabrskoe, Agapovka, Kizilskoe, Satka, Troitsk, Krasnoarmeiskoe, and Etkul. In the following year works will be continued in the remaining 17 districts of the Chelyabinsk Region.

Olga Romanovskaia, photo by: Viktoria Matveichuk, Oleg Igoshin
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