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A GIS-based Decision Support Tool for Center Pivot Irrigation Systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting  162461449.(doi:10.13031/aim.20162461449)
Authors:   Manuel A Andrade, Susan A O’Shaughnessy, Steven R Evett
Keywords:   geographic information system, irrigation scheduling, precision irrigation, computational, decision support system.

Abstract. Recent advances made by scientists with the USDA-ARS Conservation & Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, TX, can provide farmers with site-specific irrigation scheduling tools based on plant stress to assist the management of center pivot irrigation systems. The integration of these tools into the operation of center pivot Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) systems offers potential environmental benefits resulting from better control of water applied to the field. This paper describes the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of a friendly software developed for the seamless operation of multiple center pivots and weather, plant, and soil sensing systems that support their irrigation scheduling. The GUI simplifies the analysis of the large amounts of data that are periodically processed by the software by incorporating tools commonly found in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For example, a scaled representation of center pivots and their management zones is drawn in the main panel of the GUI. Information is arranged in layers and a hierarchical tree view allows users to select which layers are displayed in the GUI. The Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection is used to geo-reference all information and users can modify the magnification of elements in the GUI. Background satellite images can be automatically imported using the Google Maps Application Programming Interface (API), and a query tool is provided to assist with the search and classification of management zones. A post-harvest analysis of an experiment carried out near Bushland during the summer of 2015 using a three-span VRI center pivot is presented to illustrate the advantages of using this software as a decision support tool for irrigation management.

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