The South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service is going mobile.
The agency is mounting laptops, GIS and GPS, printers, cell phones and other equipment in technicians pickups.
"These systems will allow our planners to be able to complete more of the planning and contracting work right in the field," said Jeff VanderWilt, NRCS soil conservations who has helped assemble the equipment. "Changes to a producer's plan can be made and printed out without having to drive back to the office to make corrections. Employees will have immediate access to online natural resource data, such as soils, ecological sites, aerial photography maps, and the Field Office Technical Guide information."
The Field Office Technical Guide is the primary scientific reference containing technical information about the conservation of soil, water, air, and related plant and animal resources used by conservation planners.
The merging of these technologies, GPS, GIS, and mobile hardware, will enable NRCS employees to accomplish more work in the field and provide immediate access to landowners' natural resource data while developing a conservation plan on-site.
"This is an efficiency move as well as a practical move," said Brannen. "We will be better equipped to server our customers right on the spot. Our staff can meet with a farmer or rancher on their land and develop a conservation plan on-site, cutting out many trips between the office and the site."