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  • Harriet Bell

Mapping Discussion 1

At their virtual meeting on the 16th of July the Dartmoor farmer led Advisory Team, supporting the test and trial, came to a decision about the best Land Management Plan approach for Dartmoor. This is how farmers indicate what public goods they'll be delivering on their land in order to support payment.

The team went for a farmer led mapping approach, with an accompanying scorecard system, supported by advice. So now we need to work through each of these elements to develop the detail.


These are the notes from the Advisory Team's discussion on the role of mapping which took place on Thursday 23rd July.


Prior to the meeting some thoughts were circulated about what might be necessary in a mapping system for farmers to be able identify and develop the 6 public goods they deliver (reminder they are - clean air; clean and plentiful water; protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards; thriving plants and wildlife; beauty, heritage and engagement; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change).


Suggested data layers:

  • Soil

  • Surface water flow

  • Peat condition

  • Habitat

  • Forestry/hedgerows/field trees etc.

  • Projected climate change impacts on temperature and rainfall/surface water flow

  • Historical features

  • Public access (desire lines as well as official?)

  • Satellite and non-satellite imagery, particularly recording change over time

  • Landscape features e.g. buildings etc.

  • Crops and parcel designations

  • ELMs agreement options

  • Biodiversity recordings

  • The ability to project future scenarios e.g. if a map has monitored historic habitat change over time can it also generate images of what future habitat will look like under the same management regime

  • The ability to respond to landscape changes e.g. if on the map you add trees as a feature could it show you how that may affect surface water flow

Suggested mapping tool features:

  • Easy to use and edit

  • Ability to upload and store time lapse images with GPS location tag

  • The ability to report directly to your map from another device such as your phone

  • The ability to share your map with others of your choosing, whilst retaining final editing control

  • The ability for you and the RPA (or equivalent) to be looking at the same map and to store a record of amendments and communications about it within the same system for mutual access

  • To be able to generate a budget from any ELMs options selected/identified

  • For the budget generated from your map to link to other features, such as a cloud based accountancy of stock management programme

  • For the map to connect to a GPS livestock tracking system

  • Upload biodiversity recordings/transects, potentially link to flora and fauna identification apps

  • Chat/message function for group work


Team discussion on mapping:

  • Wouldn’t want mapping of ELMs commitments to be in the public sphere.

  • Needs to be very usable.

  • I’ve looked at the LandApp and I found it really hard to manipulate the lines on the system, it didn’t work for marking out areas on the Commons and it was hard to make corrections.

  • I think it’s really important to have these layers of information available to farmers to inform their decision but it’s critically important that data behind the maps is good.

  • There have been umpteen mapping systems but the key issue is that it’s simple, user friendly and trusted.

  • We’ve had some considerable trouble with the internet on our calls, mapping uses quite a lot of data so it highlights how important good connectivity is.

  • One of the reasons I want a map with lots of layers using all the data everyone else has is so I can communicate more effectively with government bodies and so to work more efficiently.

  • How does he UK Climate Projections (UKCP) mapping work?

  • The information is there on mapping systems but farmers can’t access and manipulate it other than on paper maps and if you’re trying to envision what you want to do on your farm being restricted to drawing on a paper map provided on the RPA is just so difficult.

  • If you could have maps like MAGIC which are easy to annotate and draw down that made things easy and isn’t too complicated.

  • It would be interesting to have the information about climate change data before we look at whether that would be a layer.

  • As none of us know what the future holds the more information the better as long as we can de-select layers. So build in as much information at the beginning so that it’s up to each individual person to determine which layer of data is useful to them.

  • How does the mapping work between landowners’ and tenants? In terms of different decisions landlords and tenants should be able to record them in a shared space.

  • I love the layers too, I find them really useful and I agree we should be trying to future proof. There are going to be huge changes in this area in the future so yes, get as much detail as possible.

  • We mustn’t forget the dilemma about supporting new entrants and always considering how the new system supports new entrants.

  • Whatever system we use it’s got to be fit for the UK. So yes, layers you can go into for as much or as little as we want, we just need to sign post Defra to what’s good.

  • I was talking to my landlord and it’s just reminded me again how important it is to highlight the role of grazing livestock because that’s the only thing we have free from the landlord. We also hear a lot of talk about welfare and we should reflect this more in our discussions.

  • I play with MAGIC and I think one of the most interesting lines the LFA line because that maintains money where it’s needed.

  • I think we need not just to talk about grazing livestock but and their management because the management is undertaken by the tenant and delivers the habitat.

  • We need to be really aware of any one body not being able to veto agreements, so owners being able to veto agreements.

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