Sampling in Alpha Units

alpha units

Alpha units, stretching across the enterprise environment.

As Our Wealth of Data and its Wasted Potential so eloquently put it, big data companies and research programs in our modern age have more data than they have the funds or time to analyze. For a price, all of this data could be available to Rural System, feeding directly into the prescriptive software of VNodal. [Read more…]

Prescriptive Software: The Future of Land Management

In several posts I’ve alluded to advanced technology which can use big data as the platform (or system inputs) to generate recommendations (or system outputs) for land use which balances environmental and economic goals (or system objectives) by smarter, more efficient use of our natural resources. At Rural System, we believe this technology is prescriptive software but what is “prescriptive software?” [Read more…]

Our Wealth of Data and Its Wasted Potential

Data, data everywhere, where it goes…does anybody care?

Computer data
Information about our surrounding environment, collectively referred to as “data,” is collected on a daily basis today more than any previous point in history. Every industry, for its own respective purposes, scientifically collects data to make informed decisions. Technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) now allow us to organize that data spatially and temporally. ESRI leads the industry in mapping software with broad applications but the data has to be supplied by the user. All of this information is considered “big data” because it is compiled into huge datasets. However, our end result is often small, a concept well discussed in this article. The ultimate application of all of this information seems limitless. [Read more…]

Rural System: A Synergistic New Approach to Adaptive Management

New relationships are defined by the unknown, and in a complex new relationship harmony is served best when all parties are listening closely. Ecosystems are some of the most complex networks of interaction, calling for keen responsiveness on the part of the people who manage them. In the face of such complexity and uncertainty, adaptive management (A.M.) has become the approach of choice for many land managers.


The Department of the Interior defines an A.M. approach as one that is, “not a ‘trial and error’ process, but rather emphasizes learning while doing.” Discrete scientific studies cannot respond to ecological processes quickly enough, so A.M. calls for continuous monitoring of ecosystems to evaluate the effectiveness of management decisions. A.M. is implemented differently across projects with varied success. You can explore case studies of A.M. here. A common feature is that these projects only evaluate their effectiveness every few months or years.

Rural System, Inc. intends to optimize the A.M. process, with the help of GIS and prescriptive software, as an innovative approach not only to environmental conservation, but also to profitable, sustained land use. [Read more…]