With the challenge of bringing information to the agriculture community's fingertips, the National Department of Agriculture, ARC (Agricultural Research Council) and the Provincial Departments of Agriculture has worked closely together in developing the Agricultural Geo-referenced Information System (AGIS) project.
The vision is to co-ordinate, acquire, describe and manage all relevant information on agriculture in South Africa, in an integrated Geo-referenced Information System to provide information at national, provincial and local level. Decision Support Systems accessible through the Internet will provide decision makers and land users with timely, current and relevant information to ensure effective decision-making.
The AGIS data and serving infrastructure has been built on ESRI technology since March 1998, with the assistance of GIMS, official distributors of ESRI software. The multiple agricultural related layers are stored in SDE-Informix and the data served via mapping services and viewers are based on ArcIMS technology. The development of the Geography Network by ESRI, for sharing geographic data across the Internet, enabled organisations to distribute their GIS data by means of mapping services from ArcIMS.
In an effort to increase awareness of sharing geographic mapping services across the Internet, The AGIS Consortium joined the Geography Network by registering for the Geography Network Challenge sponsored by ESRI.
In July ESRI announced that the AGIS Consortium's entry has been selected as a fifth place winner in ESRI's 2001 Geography Network Challenge contest. In addition, as a fifth place winner AGIS are entitled to receive a free one-year subscription to National Geographic magazine.
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