[permaculture] Computerised Permaculture

Darren J. Doherty darren at permaculture.biz
Wed Jul 9 11:05:07 EDT 2003

Hi Gaiden,
"....Hah!, yes I have been posting a lot lately. I should probably shut
up for a while. Bordem, I'm afraid...."
If you played cricket they'd say you bat outside of your crease and off
the front foot (crikey now I'm sounding a bit cryptic - must be this
"...I don't usually have so much free time to be online. I am currently
recovering from a debilitating tropical nasty and on light duties by
doctor's orders. Prowling around the web passes the time...."
Prowling all right.....Hope the recovery is swift and effective. Have
you checked out our web page given your available time - I'd appreciate
your thoughts.....private or public (not the latter if you get on that
front foot though!!)
"....Excellent piece of software. Very underpriced for its
functionality. And for Australian use, has heaps of free downloadable
datasets. Complete 250 000 topo coverage, numerous data sets at more
detailed scales. There are web pages where users are encouraged to
upload their own data for others to use...."
I'm going to check it out now - I've just finished another plan and
report - should be going to bed (its 1am here and I'm a workslut!) - ah
the email just made a noise – yes my surveyor has finally (been waiting
as always) sent me a new 60 acre layout so I'm keen to check it out.
We're flat out....
"....Excellent work, good to hear. I've long thought that Permaculture
has suffered by the lack of niche marketing...."
There are plenty of niches - I like to call it "edge marketing" - and
you have to be able to take the battering that edges take sometimes –
I’m pretty rough as a result - as if you're pioneer vegetation - you
can't escape the old systems ecology!
".....Making smart use of available technology makes good sense. A lot
of mapping resources have now been fully digitised allowing immediate
access. Set up an online account with a mapping agency and grab what you
need, when you need it....."
Yes - I currently have and use a lot of digital mapping data on hand and
will be setting up accounts as required (along with getting cable
"....In the past I've made use of satellite imagery for projects. More
useful for larger scale work, for sure. But it often surprises people
just how detailed satellite imagery can be. And there is quite a lot of
it stored in free online databases. (Availability can decline when there
is a war going on somewhere.)...."
Yeah my best mate and my cousin (pc graduate) work at the local defence
mapping facility where they do contract work for all manner of
governments (mostly OZ and US). I went in there one day (pre S11) to
check things out (not allowed to now with heightened security
arrangements) and was simply amazed at the clarity of the SI. I describe
it being like you're suspended a couple of metres above the ground!!!
All very hush hush of course – the national security of our respective
countries is at stake here…..
".....SI is good for determining larger scale patterns impacting on a
region, especially in areas where local record collation may be
virtually non-existant. For example, I've used it in contigency planning
for disaster management projects in coastal regions. Maximal flooding
levels and the like. Good for time lapse work as well, tracking back
changes in systems......"
It’s a pity that its not more available to cheap skate permies like
myself (will I get in trouble for saying that?) as the potential for
design planning in the right hands is immense. Governments generally
IMHO just fuck around with it - and generally get on the overanalysis
tree without actually doing anything constructive in spite of its value.
I say ANALYSE - PLAN - DEVELOP - simple advice I know and it doesn't
have to cost 25%!!
I think there is a lot of potential for the integration of computer
resources into the design process. Glad to see you are doing innovative
work in this area.
The potential at our end has been realised for a long time now - we've
done about 700 plans using MapInfo - to go to the next step this user
will have to self educate a lot more - I am in a comfort zone though
with the extents to which I use this stuff. 
What do you do anyway to know about all this stuff?
Darren Doherty
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