Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a tool that allows users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyze the spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations.
The “Father of GIS” is Dr. Roger Tomlinson. In the early 1960s, he developed this system in Canada before he presented it to the United States. Dr. Tomlinson was a geographer who believed that his discipline could be shown spatially and could be used by many different agencies. USDA-NRCS is one of those agencies.
Toolkit is the application that we use to produce maps and plans for farmers who contract with us. As the GIS Specialist, my duties are to assist the field offices with any GIS-related questions they may have. Periodically, GIS training classes are given by State Office personnel, including myself, to further assist the field offices.
Examples of Types NRCS Geographic Information System Work
This is a map of a Sussex County farm with 2 chicken houses and 2 manure sheds. The arrows are representing grassy swales and shows the direction in which they drain. The blue dots represent where the underground pipes have their openings at. The brown dot is an incinerator. The top layer of the map is a representation of the soils which cover the area and are labeled accordingly.
This a map of a Kent County farm with crop fields, ditches, and a well. The blue lines represent the drainage system. The red line which surrounds the property is a 100’ setback. The top layer of the map is a representation of the soils which cover the area and are labeled accordingly.
This a map of Kent County which shows the various growth zones of all the major towns. The blue outline represents the boundaries of the watersheds in this region. The gray polygons are non-growth areas and coastal zones. There are three levels of growth. Red is the highest percentage of growth and yellow is the lowest.