Developing digital cartography in rural planning applications

Fernando J. Aguilar, Fernando Carvajal Ramírez, Manuel A. Aguilar, Francisco Agüera Vega


Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 55 : 89–106



The main objective of the present study is to develop an efficient methodology at a reasonable cost, that will allow the use of the latest technological developments in the areas of image analysis and geographical information systems (GIS) for the generation, compilation, operation and updating of digital cartography on a large scale in rural environments. The various possibilities offered by the current analytic cartography allow the utilization of this spatially geo-referenced database to obtain quantitative and qualitative information of great interest for the study of planning, land organization and sustainable rural development.

The methodological proposal to achieve this objective consists of three well differentiated phases: the generation of digital cartography from 1:5000 scale colour aerial photographs, the compilation of cartographic information obtained in an open architecture GIS, and, finally, the periodical updating of the GIS cartographic database by means of digital treatment and geometrical modelling of high resolution satellite imagery.

The methodology described above is being developed and applied in a specially interesting rural milieu, like “El Campo de Níjar”, located in the province of Almería (Spain) on the border with the nature reserve “Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata”.