GIS System for Tracking Foreign Animal Disease to Harness Existing Data

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1372. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 28 October 2003
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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1372

The Georgetown, Ontario company that's coordinating the development of a national GIS data base says the challenge will be coordinating the variety of systems already in place.

Angus Geosolutions has been contracted to create a national structure to harmonize Geographic Information Systems data gathering and storage for use in defending against foreign animal disease.

Consulting Services Vice President Geoff Cameron says the single case of BSE discovered on a northern Alberta ranch dramatically illustrates the need for the ability to track animal movement

"It was realized pretty quick that they have a huge need for geographic information on livestock premises and, in particular, traceability...where livestock have moved to and from.

We're not starting from scratch either.

There's been some previous work done by some other organizations so we can leverage their groundwork already done.

What we're finding is that everyone's had a little bit different reason why they've gone into geographic information systems.

Some people have done it specifically for foreign animal disease because they've been worried about.

We've actually found others that have gotten into it because they'll save money.

For example Dairy Farmers of Ontario save millions of dollars a year on routing their milk trucks so they had a need to get into GIS but they didn't actually collect that data so it fits well with foreign animal disease.

We just want to take all this information and bring it to a common format and then fill in the gaps where we have holes where some people haven't collected data, some people have collected data and not maintained it and then people have collected for different reasons.

How do we bring it to a common format so it's usable by those people that need it for emergency response"

Cameron expects to have a template in place for harmonizing the various systems by December.

He's confident, within a year, a working system that will integrate and can be maintained within an existing structure can be operational.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
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