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ETHICAL&
You Want to Put That Where?
SOCIETAL
Land use is often a contentious topic. Everyone wants the benefits that air-
ISSUES
ports, electricity-generating plants, prisons, and all-night railroad freight car
classification yards bring to society. Still, few people want to live next door
to one of these operations.
Fortunately, geographic information systems (GISs) can help sort out
the issues involved with siting these and other operations. In fact, the gov-
ernment of Queensland, Australia, used a GIS to figure out the best loca-
tions for poultry farms in the southern part of that state
As background, chicken is the most popular form of meat for
Australians Queensland has about 22 percent of Australia's population and
produces about 20 percent of its chicken. Chicken farming is split between
two major centers near the town of Mareeba in the north and near the
capital city of Brisbane in the south. Owing to the larger number of com-
peting land uses near Brisbane, the government of Queensland needed to
develop objective ways to allocate this scarce resource.
Poultry farms are not nearly as objectionable as some other operations
that modern society finds necessary, but many factors still determine the
best places to put them. William Mortimer, senior spatial analyst at
Queensland Government, writes that "Geographic information systems and
spatial analysis tools enable the departmental decision makers to visualize
and understand complex issues on a site specific and regional scale basis."
Among these issues are what he calls primary constraints. The location of a
poultry farm may not be:
Too close (under ] km, about 0.6 miles) to another poultry farm
In a key mineral resource extraction area
In an urban or residential area (a 2 km buffer, about 1.2 miles, is
desirable)
In an area of high ecological significance
.
In a low-lying, flood-prone area
In a koala conservation area
In a designated water catchment area
Within the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley
As secondary constraints, a poultry farm should not be:
On land that is too steep (over 10 percent slope)
Next to a watercourse
.
On good quality agricultural land
On land suitable for strategic crops
In a national park or other protected area
On an oil or gas pipeline
On acid sulphate soil
Conversely, it is desirable for a poultry farm to be:
Near poultry processing plants
Near paved roads
Near a reliable supply of clean water
Near a supply of electricity
Near poultry feed mills
Using these constraints and ESRI's AreGIS software, the Queensland
government was able to produce maps of the southern part of Queensland,
showing areas that were suitable for new poultry farms, calculating auto-
matically the amount of land available in each of them, and showing areas
of different sizes in different colors. This mapping provides a good basis for
future planning-both for the poultry industry and for those affected by it.
Discussion Questions
1. How could this approach be used to help choose locations for new
wind farms? What primary constraints would have to be changed' What
could stay essentially the same?
2. When considering where to locate public resources such as power
plants, prisons, and public schools, who should have say in defining the
primary constraints for choosing the location
Critical Thinking Questions
1. Is the Queensland decision regarding where to locate chicken farms an
example of a satisficing model? Why or why not
2. How can GIS be used to facilitate the siting of public and private facili-
ties and to resolve disputes over zoning? What other types of technolo
gies can help resolve these conte
SOURCES: Aust
Deputnest of Local Govern
chow org aw, accessed June 4, 2014.
Identification and Constraint Mapping of
and Government, "Rural Planmay The
er Queenalund." Cant 3013 conference
Incountry Locations within
2011: Queensland Government Weh we,
re Web site, ruralcon biuve
regis, accessed June 4. 2014.

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