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Zeitlberger Karl

The Impact of Data Quality on GIS-based Decisions

An investigation based on an example from agriculture

In the last decades agrarian production increased more than food consumption. Often this leads to an overproduction. To avoid this the Austrian state supports farmers for lie plough-land fallow. Today about 8.5% of the arable land of Austria lies fallow. On the other side the farmers try to get maximal yield of the remaining arable land. This is critical in the economical and ecological respect. Using more fertilizer is dangerous for the environment and paying money for unproductivity is not economical at all. It would be better to distribute all products on the whole arable land so that the required amount of agricultural products could be produced with minimal amount of fertilizer.

With a geographic information system (GIS) it is possible to store all parameters that effect growth of plants for all Austrian parcels to calculate the optimum solution for this problem. The different input parameters (location, soil-, weather- and plant parameters) are known only with limited accuracy. Whether it makes sense to work on such a huge optimization problem depends especially on the resulting accuracy of the used production function.

The diploma thesis explores if it is possible to forecast the yield in agriculture for the future with an appropriate accuracy to make it easier to control and minimize the amount of fertilizer. The explorations are based on soil- and weather data that are available in Austria and their accuracy. The hypothesis is explored by a practical example with a simulation model of plant growth and yield. With sensitivity analysis the standard deviation of the yield of a agricultural product is determined.

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