I have given the task to create Digital Elevation Model (DEM)'s of an agricultural area. I am programmer with Computer Science background and very new to GIS can anyone explain what is advantage of using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) in agriculture ?


3 Answers 3


Some uses of DEM in agriculture, that were not cited yet:

1- Location of surveillance towers for fire detection and control;

Guth, P. et al (2005). Fire location from a single Osborne firefinder and a DEM. ASPRS Annual Conference. Baltimore, Maryland.

2- Location of roads,bridges,culverts and construction of terraces aiming to avoid erosion;

3- Crop transportation (both harvest/yarding and main transportation);

Gumus, S., & Acar, H. H. (2009). Evaluation of consecutive skylines yarding and gravity skidding systems in primary forest transportation on steep terrain. Journal of Environmental Biology, 31, 213-218.

4- Cultivation planning (such as soil preparation, fertilization, weed control) aiming to verify if it is possible to mechanize activities;

Jasinski, E. et al (2005). Physical Landscape Correlates of the Expansion of Mechanized Agriculture in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Earth interactions, 9, 1-18.

5- Location/Preservation of forest remnants (e.g. flat areas are more suitable for agriculture than "slopy" areas);

Sesnie, S. E., Hagell, S. E., Otterstrom, S. M., Chambers, C. L., & Dickson, B. G. (2008). SRTM-DEM and Landsat ETM + data for mapping tropical dry forest cover and biodiversity assessment in Nicaragua. Revista Geográfica Acadêmica, 2(2), 53–65.

6- Soil sampling regarding soil classification (first time planning and cultivating an area);

McBratney, A. ., Mendonça Santos, M. ., & Minasny, B. (2003). On digital soil mapping. Geoderma, 117(1-2), 3–52. doi:10.1016/S0016-7061(03)00223-4

7- Appraisal of agricultural lands;

Sakai, T., & Chikatsu, H. (2008). Visualization of road slope aspect for fixed property appraisal of lands using DEM. In ISPRS Commission II, WG II /5 (Vol. XXXVII, pp. 655–658). Beijing.


Note: I do not working in the agricultural domain, so these are thoughts based on what I would use a DEM for if I were doing large scale planting in a non-commercial way.

Crop siting: If I have a DEM I can derive the slope and aspect of each pixel in relation to the adjacent pixels. From this I can estimate the potential difficulty in planting and water runoff (slope) as well as the quantity of sunlight I might expect(aspect).

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