Terrace layout design utilizing geographic information system and automated guidance system

W. Guo, S. J. Maas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A procedure for parallel terrace layout was developed integrating a geographic information system (GIS) and an automated guidance system. A case study was conducted in a commercially managed field in Hockley County, Texas. A GIS was used to process spatial data and create the terrace layout. An automated guidance system with a real time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) receiver was used to collect point elevation data and mark the location of terraces in the field. This procedure involves data acquisition (including elevation data, soil survey, and aerial imagery), surface analysis (including creation of a digital elevation model), terrace parameter determination (including terrace type, ridge type, and horizontal spacing), terrace layout in GIS and Google Earth, and generation of guidance features for field layout using an automated guidance system. This procedure effectively incorporates the spatial analysis capabilities of GIS and the accuracy of the automated guidance system in terrace layout. Terrace design by the GIS was transferred to field layout using the RTK automated guidance system. The procedure is cost-effective, efficient, and flexible in terrace layout and satisfies standards and requirements of the National Resource Conservation Service for soil and water conservation. The terraces were successfully placed and are currently in service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Automated guidance system
  • GPS
  • Geographic information systems
  • Google Earth
  • Parallel terrace layout
  • Real time kinematic


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