US – Crop-specific maps, created by combining survey data and satellite images, provide a literal lay of the land for farmers and agribusinesses such as seed and fertilizer companies.
Crops grown in the U.S. Corn Belt and Mississippi River Delta areas are mapped extensively in the Cropland Data Layer now available to the public for download or on disc. The Cropland Data Layer is created by the United States Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Geographic information system (GIS) software from ESRI is used to prepare the data and build the maps.
“We create resourceful maps to identify the spatial extent and associated acreage of the crops grown in these specific states,” said Rick Mueller, a GIS expert with NASS. “GIS software from ESRI makes it possible.”
The colorful, informative maps are used by crop farm growers associations, crop insurance companies, seed and fertilizer companies, farm chemical companies, libraries, universities, federal and state governments, and value-added remote-sensing/GIS companies. The digital data layers of land-cover information have proved helpful in watershed and environmental monitoring, agribusiness planning, crop modeling, land-use /land-cover studies, and change analysis.