USE OF GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS)

IN THE EVALUATION OF DYNAMICS AND CHANGES IN

THE RURAL LANDSCAPE IN CENTRAL CHILE

 

Fernando Pino Silva

Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo

Universidad de Chile

fpino@uchile.cl

 

The difficulties associated to the making of decisions regarding the classification of the territory in the rural areas of our country, and the access limitations to the technologies that support the space analysis and generation of cartographic models, have impelled the development of efforts aiming at the implementation of a GIS that allows us to monitor the changes and the impact of the process of modernization of the rural space.

The economy globalization process has directly influenced on the landuse and the rural landscape modifications in Central Chile, and it sets demands for different ends, among which the demand of agricultural floor to increase the surface and productivity of the so-called export crops, as well as the satisfaction of the residential necessities (rural housing in this case) of the agricultural workers, are an example. This last process has been notably intensified during the last years in almost all the rural areas next to the big cities, which has meant the loss of agricultural soils untying a speculation in the sale and transfer of lands, as well as transformations that directly affect the rural landscape (Pino, 2005).

In the new globalization context, the effective economic pattern in Chile has had a main role in the generation of foreign currencies and of employment linked to the primary activities, mainly those bound to the external markets, as forestry, fruit crops and fish, among others. The above-mentioned is what has been denominated as the Process of Agricultural Modernization of our country. The process of such agricultural modernization is not more than the occurrence of other associated processes that are chained and related, originating results that have such temporary and space dimension as the technological innovation, the productive convertion and the productive orientation.

On the other hand, the use of new technologies in the agriculture has allowed to incorporate new lands to the productive processes and has facilitated the traffic from a traditional agriculture, rather extensive, with prevalence of cereals, leguminous, chacras and vegetables, toward fruit-bearing and vineyards, to name the most important.

From the methodological point of view we think that the implementation of Geographical Information System (GIS) and the cartography elaboration with the support and use of satellite images, will facilitate the study of these space transformations, contributing to the understanding of these changes; something which will allow government authorities to visualize what could be future tendencies that will have to contemplate to take the appropriate political measures by means of an informed territorial planning.