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THE APPLICATION OF GIS FOR PADDY PRECISION FARMING BY MACRES

Nurul Aina Farhanis Binti Jailani Department of Surveying Science and Geomatic Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying Universiti Teknologi Mara 40450 Shah Alam, MALAYSIA Email: aiena86@yahoo.com

Abstract Nowadays, government invests heavily in geospatial data and technology because nearly everything in the public realm happens in the context of geography. Governments of all sizes use GIS to analyze complex situations and create solutions across disciplines. GIS helps them increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve coordination, and deliver transparency and accountability. Exploitation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture is becoming useful and its usage needs to be expanded with the requirements of the agricultural sector. Precision farming is one of the agricultural approaches involved on the adoption of technologies for better managing the variability within the field. With the help of this technology, there is a reduction in the human processing task, thus reducing the time and effort in accomplishing a certain job. Precision farming has been applied in Malaysia. This research applied Geographical Information System (GIS) to develop a paddy precision farming system. The research was carried out in Block C in Sawah Sempadan, Projek Barat Laut Selangor, Malaysia, which is one of the rice granaries in Malaysia managed by Integrated Agriculture Development Area. This research developed a GIS based application program as a tool for paddy precision farming for storing, analyzing, and visualizing the spatial data for better managing the paddy fields. The system was built through the combination of the farmers knowledge and experience in agriculture and with input from the experts government agencies and from Universiti Putra Malaysia. This system was developed within Visual Basic (VB6) environment as a user interface platform and MapObjects as a GIS component. For creating treatment maps, ArcGIS Interface was customized using Visual Basic Application (VBA) as this software has the capability to support spatial analyst through the interpolation technique from the soil sample. We developed functions that are useful for agriculture practices such as query, updates, visualization, agricultural related documents, reports and planting schedule. The farmers gain exposure to ICT knowledge and skills through the training provided on the use of the system to facilitate them in

using the system. This system will be useful for the farmers, farm managers and decision makers involved in the paddy cultivation industry. Introduction

Precision farming in Malaysia is still in its early stage of development. The history of precision farming of rice in Malaysia began at Sawah Sempadan, Tanjung Karang, and Selangor. This area was chosen as the pilot project for Precision Farming Study. This project was initiated in 2001 by Remote Sensing Malaysia (formerly MACRES) together with other relevant agencies such as Department of Agriculture (DOA), Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID), Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Integrated Agriculture Development Area (IADA) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (MACRES, 2001). With the implementation of this project, precision farming adapted the information and communication technology (ICT) through the various technologies including the GIS technology. Development of decision support system tools for paddy precision farming also known as PADDY-GIS was developed through collaboration with the relevant government agencies. Universiti Putra Malaysia contributed its expertise in the fields of nutrient management, variable rate technology, GIS analysis and decision support systems, water management, yield mapping, remote sensing and integrated pest management. This paper discusses the application of precision farming through the usage of GIS decision support system tools to helps farmers and managers in managing the paddy fields. The utilization of the DSS tools are expected to bring benefits to farmers and managers in applying the precision farming technologies and principles as well as enhancing their knowledge about ICT. In precision farming concept, each crop production input is managed to reduce wastage of input, increase the profits and at the same time maintain the good quality of the environment. This decision support system (DSS) tool has the capability to analyze multiple data sources on a desktop computer for better managing the variability within paddy fields. The implementation of these technologies took place at the Block C in Sawah Sempadan, Selangor, Malaysia and is planned to be extended to the entire block in future. The development program was focused on nutrient management for the paddy field. An important objective of the program is the creation of a center of information for farmers and scientists for management and decision making

System Architecture

MapObjects provides a way to access data from a variety of other database and file sources. Data can be accessed via Microsoft's OLE DB data source architecture using Active X Data Objects, or by Microsoft Jet database engine databases (.MDB), using Data Access Objects (DAO) 3.5. (ESRI, Online Reference). Figure 1 shows the Paddy GIS system architecture. The system consists of Database Management System (DBMS) and Paddy GIS program. ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and Microsoft Jet database engine databases were used to access the database stored in the Microsoft Access. Microsoft Access was used as the Database Management System (DBMS) software to store yield, pest and diseases records in the database. The DBMS and GIS software is installed and running on the desktop computer. Relationships between the spatial and attribute records are created and stored in the DBMS.

The program were linked to the Rice Irrigation Management Information System (RIMIS), which is used by the water engineers for managing the irrigation system of paddy fields, and the fertilizer recommendation program through a user friendly interface. Spatial and attribute data were collected and a listing of the resources are given below: Soil data was collected from the soil mapping/soil fertility mapping groups. These groups produced the soil map as a base map for precision farming as well as the soil fertility map using electrical conductivity. Yield data collected from yield mapping groups. This group produced the continuous yield measurement using yield sensor (mounted on a combined harvested and differential global positioning system (DGPS) and also yield record collected from Integrated Agriculture Development Area. Pest and disease records collected from Integrated Pest and Weed Management (IPM). This component produced an early warning system for monitoring pest and disease outbreak and to monitor pest, disease and weed.

The nitrogen sensing data was obtained using a chlorophyll meter (SPAD meter) and was collected by the nutrient management/nitrogen sensing group. The chlorophyll meter (SPAD meter) was used as a tool to synchronize the nitrogen fertilizer application with actual crop demand. A user requirement study was done to get information about the Advance Agronomic Practices. The formula for fertilizer recommendation was contributed by the Variable Rate Technology (VRT) group. This groups task is to give the recommended fertilizer applications so that the input of variable rates only were made and implemented in amounts and locations where its required. The Rice Irrigation Management Information System (RIMIS) program was provided by the hydrological and water management groups and used to link with the Paddy GIS program. This group is focuses on the irrigation management system of the paddy field.

User Interface

Geospatial Information System for Paddy Fields is an interactive user friendly system that is used for better management of the paddy fields for better efficiency and cost effectiveness. The name PADDYGIS, is an abbreviation for Geospatial Information System for Paddy Fields, and translates into the Malay language as Sistem Maklumat Geospatial Sawah Padi.. This software is designed to be used by a group of users, including Department Agriculture of Malaysia, Remote Sensing Malaysia, water engineers and managers for each Integrated Agriculture Development Area. The user interface of PADDY-GIS program was developed using Visual Basic Development Environment and was written in Visual Basic programming. The GIS component of MapObjects was used for working with GIS data. ESRI's MapObjects for Windows is an OCX and a set of OLE-compliant programmable objects that let application developers embed dynamic map displays in Windows applications (Business Wire, 1996). For the fertilizer recommendation program, the user interface was customized using Visual Basic for Application (VBA) within ArcGIS. VBA is not a standalone program. It is embedded in the applications. It provides an integrated programming environment (ESRI 2004). As the fertilizer recommendation program created the treatment map from the soil sample, it needs Spatial Analysis Extension for interpolating spatial data from the soil sample. The user interface was designed based on the user requirement study.

Main Menu (Upper left) provided access to schedule of the planting data (Upper right). Data collected from soil samples was interpolation using the interpolation user interface (Lower left) and the final output is the treatment map with recommendation fertilizer (Lower right). The final output of the PADDY GIS is the fertilizer recommendation maps. These maps are printed and given to the farmers for implementation. The unique features of this system are: Paddy planting and related activities schedule Fertilization schedule Variable application map for fertilizer Module for farmers Module for managers Special Bahasa Malaysia (local language) interface for farmers Water management module Pests management module Diseases management module Yield management module

Implementation

Farmers in this study area are trying the new technology that had recommended to them to improve their field management. The farmers here are open minded and welcome new technology. This is probably because the study area is near to the city of Kuala Lumpur and the local farmers are in-tune towards modernization and modern methods. The age factor also plays an important role. In this study area, 20% of the 9,000 farmers are from the youth group. (Berita Harian, 2008). This bodes well for the implementation of precision farming technology in this area. Figure 3 shows the work flow of the program. The program begins with user access into the program. The system provides three kinds of users to access the program. These are the farmers, managers and water engineers. Each user has different access to the program. To access the program, the user input the password. The system is linked to the fertilizer recommendation program to create the treatment map using the interpolation technique.

This treatment map provides information to decision maker. The treatment maps were given to the farmers for implementing the fertilizer input on their paddy field. Managers provided the access to update the attribute record such as owner, pest, diseases, and yield records within the program and store the updated records in the DBMS. Discussion One important aspect of the development of precision farming concepts is the development of program necessary to vary the rate of the application of agricultural inputs. The development of GIS user friendly interface is a useful tool for precision farming system so that inexperienced or new user can apply their knowledge in helping them managing the variability in field. The efficiency of the program need to be

expands. The continuous training and their follow up progress on the use of the DSS tools is vital to adopt them in this technology. More efforts have been put to government related agencies and the private sectors to implement the precision farming that will bring benefit to the communities and country.

Acknowledgements Special thanks to Remote Sensing Malaysia, Department of Agriculture, IADA Barat Laut Selangor, BPSP, DID, MARDI, and members of the Precision Farming Engineering Research (PREFER) Group at the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and ITMA, UPM for their collaboration and cooperation.

References Use of Remote Sensing and GIS technologies in Precision Farming for Rice Crop in Malaysia (July December 2001) Newsletter of the Malaysian Centre for Remote Sensing, (MACRES) ISSN 1511-1806, ArcGIS Desktop Developer Guide (ESRI 2004) Berita Harian (19 Mei 2008) Laporan Khas: Kekangan 'hancurkan' Jelapang Padi [Online]. (http://www.bharian.com.my/Current_News/BH/Monday/Rencana/20080519003400/Article/ (verified April 3 2006) ESRI announces MapObjects for Windows; Premier Desktop GIS Technology now available as components (Business Wire, March 26, 1996) Website http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1996_March_26/ai_18129449 MapObjects 2.1 Online Reference, ESRI