Ozri presentation spotlight: site selection for poultry farms

Ozri 2011 is shaping up to be a smorgasbord of presentations about how Australians are using spatial technology in their everyday business – and it will give GIS users the opportunity to share their stories and explore all that is possible with geospatial technology.

Once such presentation will come from the Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning – which will be on-hand at the conference to discuss how spatial technology is the key to selecting appropriate sites for poultry farms across the state.

Here, we interview William Mortimer from the Department of Local Government and Planning , to find out how GIS enables the Queensland government to keep poultry farms thriving.

EA: Hi William, thanks for your time. Firstly tell us, how long has your organisation been using GIS?

WM: The Department of Local Government and Planning uses GIS for data analysis, departmental reporting and the production or revision of planning datasets, including planning and regional scale regulatory map series products. The Department of Local Government and Planning has been using GIS for over 10 years. The department is a strong user of the Esri ArcGIS suite, including high level ArcInfo and several analyst extensions.

Thematic Graphic demonstrating the composite layers - Based on the Esri Thematic layers Diagram. Click image to view close up.

EA: Tell us about what you’ll be presenting at Ozri 2011?

WM: The Department of Local Government and Planning uses Esri ArcGIS for data analysis, production and revision of planning datasets including planning and regional scale regulatory map series products. Planning for the future development of intensive farming industries, in particular the meat poultry industry, requires consideration by industry, state and local government agencies. The value of investment in this industry is significant given the size of land required, and the specialised infrastructure needed for optimum production.

The gross value of Queensland’s poultry meat industry in 2010-2011 is projected to be approximately $370 million. Bio-security factors, urban encroachment and very specific site suitability factors associated with regulatory and planning constraints limit the potential locations for the expansion of these industries.

The Queensland Government has been working with this industry and other state and local agencies to ensure the expansion of these industries is in line with other strategic planning requirements for southern Queensland.

The modelling of these constraints over a 300 kilometre section of South East Queensland resulted in detailed data analysis, compilation and the production of high quality cartographic material and statistical analysis. These outputs were provided to a working group of government, industry and community representatives. The size and complexity of the datasets required intensive processing and utilised different production tools from the Esri Arc-Info suite. Our presentation will focus on this journey.

EA: Why will your presentation be interesting?

WM: I think it’s interesting because it’s a real world topic with potential to influence the way people interact with a multi-million dollar industry. The diversity of the datasets and themes associated with this project will be fascinating as the requirements are quite unique. It has been quite a challenge to work on the different datasets and the cartographic representation requirements.

 EA: So how exactly does GIS help identify suitable locations for poultry farms?

WM: Bio-security and environmental requirements, urban encroachment and very specific site suitability factors associated with regulatory and planning constraints limit the potential locations for the expansion of these industries. GIS and spatial analysis products enable the departmental decision makers to visualise and understand complex issues on a site specific and regional scale basis. The maps and data analysis can then be applied to support policy development to ensure the expansion of these industries is in line with other strategic planning requirements for southern Queensland.

Profiling indicates that many existing meat poultry farms are ‘at risk’ from urban pressure as a result of past or future urban encroachment. The proximity of poultry farms to other features including residential development requires a better understanding of environmental, health and logistical requirements. Community concerns over odour and dust emissions from poultry meat sheds is one example of why a poultry farm may need to relocate. Examples of the environments these industries require are large areas of land in rural environments with access to transport routes, water and electricity supply. They require level terrain, and separation from watercourses, sensitive receptors (e.g. a dwelling) and other poultry farms. They should also avoid flood prone land, good quality agricultural land and areas of high conservation value.

EA: Are there plans to extend the use of GIS to other areas within your department?

WM: The Department of Local Government and Planning has developed an internal web based mapping interface that uses Esri and Microsoft Silverlight technology. This tool called ‘PlanMap’ enables departmental staff to access and view reference material and core spatial datasets associated with planning and infrastructure themes. Current departmental demand for spatial information means that further development of this application and other associated applications are currently being planned for.

EA: What are you looking forward to about Ozri 2011?

WM: There are several reasons I’m looking forward to Ozri, some of which include:

–          Understanding how other Esri users are developing geospatial products or using ArcGIS.

–          Learning the unique differences between ArcGIS versions (from 9 to 10) and how people have solved these challenges will also be important.

–          Networking with other spatial industry representatives is also important given the diverse themes covered by the spatial branch in the Department of Local Government and Planning.

EA: Why did you choose to present at this year’s Ozri?

WM: The chance to present project information to industry peers is both a challenge and a privilege.

EA: Thanks William, we look forward to catching up with you there!

> Register for Ozri 2011 now!

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