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AGDATA Australia: Native Vegetation Classification and Implication on Landholders

April 28, 2013

A state-wide landcover and tree study was undertaken by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources to identify and classify all vegetation zones across the state. The primary method was through remote sensing backed up by field surveys. The result was the creation of a vegetation database the government uses to stipulate vegetation management guidelines by which all landholders must abide. The premise of this effort was to assist landholders, scientists, industry, and government with world’s best practice landscape management.

Laws were drafted governing management practices in each of the classified zones, with significant penalties for breaches of these guidelines.

While GIS experts had ready access to the spatial data, individual landholders without GIS expertise were being provided with a PDF map of their property. The PDF map provided insufficient accuracy to enable landholders to make decisions about use of their land without risk of accidental violations exposing the landowner to the possibility of prosecution.

AGDATA Australia has used the TatukGIS Developer Kernel (DK-VCL edition) over several years to develop a custom mapping utility to enable landholders to load the spatial vegetation data, overlay it on their property, and view the classification of each vegetation zone. This allows landholders to clearly identify the vegetation zones in relation to their property with sufficient accuracy to safeguard against infractions and risk of prosecution.

The DK support for the ESRI ArcView Shape format and coordinate systems (including PRJ file) was vital for this project. The DK visual layer property control contains functionality to associate the rendering of map features based on attribute field values, which makes applying different colours to the vegetation zones trivial. These and other DK features contributed significantly to shortening the project development cycle.

To further aid landholders identify the classified zones when in the field, a GPS interface was developed to enable uploading of data from the map to handheld GPS units.

The key purpose of the AGDATA development using the TatukGIS DK component has been to provide a simple-to-use GIS tool to landholders who have no formal knowledge or training of GIS. Besides compliance with land use guidelines, this effort is enabling landholders, for the first time, to engage with government authorities over landscape management decisions.

AGDATA (www.agdata.com.au), based in Toowoomba, Australia, is Australia's largest agricultural software company.

Vegetation layer displayed in the application with predefined vegetation classifications and palette.