Precision Agriculture

Precision Agriculture

Tillotson, Buck

Precision Agriculture By Terry Brase, Thomson Delmar Learning, 2006, 224 pages, hard cover, $59.95

The back cover of the text states that this book “covers in detail: spatial data for record keeping, spatial analysis in decision making, and modeling prescription maps for variable rate applications. It also provides an overview of precision agriculture concepts and the tools of precision farming systems. This text takes the important and difficult aspect of precision agriculture and puts it into an understandable and teachable format.” The book contains nine chapters. The first eight start with a list of key terms and a chapter overview and end with a summary and (excepting chapter eight) chapter review questions. The first three chapters are an introductory coverage of the tools of spatial analysis. Chapter one covers definitions, tools, and processes of precision agriculture. Chapter two introduces the subject of GIS and chapter three exposes the reader to geodetics and map types. The last six chapters focus on the use of these spatial analysis tools in a decision making process. Chapters four and five lay the groundwork for this analysis by covering basic statistics and vector and raster data sources. Chapter six discusses data analysis and manipulation tools. Chapter seven and eight deal with the use of interpretive techniques and interpretive maps. The final chapter is a compilation of topics that are outgrowths of the preceding discussions, including variable rate applications and other uses of precision agriculture. The book ends with a relatively extensive glossary containing very succinct definitions of words and term germane to the subject of precision agriculture.

As mentioned in the preface, the book is not a source for the detailed coverage of GPS or GIS. However, its coverage of the use of these tools to analyze spatial data is, though not exhaustive, a very practical and concise discussion of the subject. There is good use of examples that tie, for example, a GIS function to an agricultural application. The book uses no color throughout the body of the text but has a centerfold that repeats many of the black and white figures in color.

Having attended a class on GPS taught by Mr. Erase in the mid 90’s (a seasoned educator in the field at that time), I think those choosing to read this text will find that it is a good example of his practical approach to the technologies of GPS, GIS and special data analysis. The book should fit well into courses that emphasize this practical study of special data analysis.

Buck Tillotson

Agriculture Department

Western Illinois University

Copyright North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Mar 2006

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