A systems analysis of information system requirements for an experimental farm

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Abstract

A systems analysis and design of information requirements for an experimental farm is presented. This study was carried out on the university farm (UF) at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The UF has several farm sites, many employees and clients, and collects data on the spatial variability of sites for site-specific management, and is responsible for running field trials. Soft and hard system analyses were performed to better understand the information needs and design an information system for the UF. Soft systems methodology was used to analyse the human activities and to identify user requirements, while a hard systems methodology was used to structure the data handling inside the farm office. The resulting information management system (IMS) includes modules for storage, processing and presentation of spatio-temporal data for research trials and site-specific management. A GIS-based farm IMS including the necessary interfaces was implemented and validated by the UF manager and staff. Limitations and constraints to the full implementation of the IMS in an experimental farm are also discussed.

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