Ministry of Agriculture

GIS and Agricultural Land Use Inventories


  Land Use Inventory Projects
Examples of LUI Maps
Related Publications

Much of the farming activity in British Columbia takes place in close proximity to urban areas. Comprehensive planning for agriculture is becoming increasingly important to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and to reduce, or avoid, land use conflict.


As in any planning effort, information is key.  A Geographic Information System (GIS) applied to an agricultural landscape can effectively capture, store, analyze and display information that is geographically based.  Of its many benefits, GIS can improve our understanding of farming areas, help promote agricultural development and assist in identifying and handling issues important to strengthening farming.


Land Use Inventory MapThe Ministry of Agriculture has been working with many local governments in undertaking land use inventory projects in their farming areas.

A variety of maps and statistics can be created from the land use inventory, including primary land use activities, agricultural land use changes, and activities along the urban-rural edge. 


The Ministry has developed a series of tools to assist local governments that are interested in conducting a land use inventory.  These tools include an Access database and coding system for recording information and a 40-page guide on the land use inventory methodology.  


OrthophotoThe method developed by the Ministry involves a team of two surveyors conducting a "windshield" survey.  Using a combination of drive-by observations and aerial photographic interpretation, the survey team examines each legal parcel within the study area, recording both the land covers (e.g. buildings, crops) and land use activities (e.g. agricultural, residential). 

The information for each parcel is entered into a database and then linked to a GIS layer of the legal parcels.  A GIS user can then query and map the land use inventory information. 


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