Chianan Plain is one of the regions with most changeable water and man-made landscape in Taiwan. In terms of natural factor, due to huge sediments in river, the riverbed is prone to silt, and thus the river course has frequently changed. In terms of human factor, the mass immigration attracted by the fertile delta region has massively change the environment and landscape of Chianan plain. Since the completion of Chia-nan Irrigation and dike system by Japanese in the beginning of 20 century, the natural water system and man-made water system have been interwoven as particular water context, based on which, villages and local culture have developed. After a century, nowadays Chianan Plain still plays a significant role in food provision for Taiwan, as a quarter amount of cultivated land and a half amount of aqua-culture pond of Taiwan are in this region. In light of this, Chianan Plain is a crucial area in the issue of food shortage under the impact of extreme weather in the future.

This project aims to clarify the centurial inter-transformation among water landscape, agriculture development and spatial structure of villages through geospatial information science and to find the factors which profoundly influence industrial and spatial transformation and the interaction mechanism. By doing so, this project contributes to the substantial knowledge for local industrial and spatial planning. 

  • Sub-project 1, the geospatial information system of Chia-nan Irrigation, the most important hydrologic infrastructure in Chianan Plain, will be constructed. Based on the information of Taiwan Digital Elevation Model, the channel path will also be demonstrated. 
  • Sub-project 2, by adding the qualitative data on geospatial information system, the details of change in land use will be further explored in order to demonstrate the inter-transformation between industrial development and spatial patterns.
  • Sub-project 3 will display the transformation and composition of village spatial patterns on a macro-scale. 
  • Sub-project 4, a digital platform for the transdisciplinary collaboration to up/ down-load information will be established. These 4 sub-projects will be integrated as a broad aspect of environmental history by geospatial information technology to explore the centurial inter-transformation among water landscape, social economic development and man-made landscape. 

This project will provide substantial knowledge base for a sustainable industrial development in the future.

Keywords: Chia-nan Irrigation, Chianan Plain, GIS, Integrated Spatial-temporal Platform, Interdisciplinary, Research, Environmental Transformation


Project 1:

Establishment of Spatiotemporal Information of Chia-nan Irrigation

The Chia-nan Irrigation was designed and constructed by Yoichi Hatta, a Japanese engineer. Through a ten-year construction, Chia-nan Irrigation was completed in April, 1930. The functioning of Chia-nan Irrigation immediately increased the total area of cultivated paddy fields for about 30 times of the original total area in Chia-Nan plain. Nowadays, Chia-nan Irrigation has still been the most important water supply system for agriculture in this area. The coverage of the irrigated area reaches up to the north of Zhuoshui river and south down to Erren river. The irrigating facilities of Chia-nan Irrigation include the Wushantou Reservoir, the diversion facilities of Zhuoshui River and Tsengwun River, networks of irrigation canals, and tidewater correctional facilities. Chia-nan Irrigation was the largest project in South-east Asia at the time being. Chia-nan Irrigation has not only provided a water storage capacity but also redistributed the water resources. In addition, it has driven the development of agriculture, hydrology and settlements and led the changes of humanities and social activities in these areas. Therefore, its historical values and effects are worth-discussing issues.

There are abundant historical literatures and maps materials of Chia-nan Irrigation. In order to establish a spatiotemporal information system, 

  • the first objective of this study is to transform all available historical maps into a common coordinate system, including historical topographic and thematic maps, a variety of aerial photographs, satellite images, and digital terrain model. 
  • the second objective is to build the spatiotemporal information system of Chia-nan Irrigation, i.e. vectoring temporal map materials including Wushantou reservoir, networks of water channels, irrigation facilities, distribution of paddy and dry fields. Mapping re-registration of some historical water channel networks may be needed, because some of those maps were not done based on surveying. The flow direction of each water channel will be attributed to realize the pattern of water distribution by using the digital terrain model. 
  • the third objective of this study is to analyze the changes through the century of agricultural development in these areas and validate the discovers with statistic data obtained from Council of Agriculture.

The established information in this subproject will provide an information base for the subprojects 2 and 3. This subproject will also collaborate with the subproject 2 on the study of agricultural changes by consulting with the study of aquaculture changes done by subproject 2. In addition, we will link our study with subproject 3 with the study of the influences of agriculture development on the settlements, humanities and society changes. All of these studies are substantial elements to picture the changes of human and social pulsation in Chia-nan Irrigation affected areas.

Keywords:Spatiotemporal Information, Chia-nan Irrigation, Chia-nan Plain


Project 2:

The transformation of water landscape, land use and industrial development in Chia-nan Plain

How to raise food self-sufficiency ratio has been an important issue under the possibility of food shortage due to extreme climate change. The food self-sufficiency ratio in Taiwan is just 31% which is much lower than in surrounding or European countries. Research on how to improve this agricultural situation is necessary. Especially, the National Land Use Planning Act had passed in December 2015 in which the land resources in Taiwan are classified into four categories including conservation land, urban
development, agricultural development and marine resource. A proper assessment for the planning of agricultural land use is urgent especially from the aspect of concerning the use of water resource since the arrangement of water resource is crucial for sustainable agricultural environment. Chia-nan Plain as the most important agricultural production region in Taiwan will be the crucial region for the issue of food shortage. A more integrated policy for land use is necessary in the future to face the challenge of
the disappearance of agricultural lands during the process of urbanization.

This subproject uses Geography Information System as the main technology to overlay mapping the layers of water system, industrial structure and land use. The inter-transformation of three layers, agricultural land use and spatial patterns will be constructed from a regional perspective. The aim is to analyze the optimum scale and spatial arrangement of agricultural production. Furthermore, the transformation mechanism between land use and industries with its impact factors will be explored in order to create a substantial knowledge for assessing and planning agricultural land use in the future.

Keywords:Climate change, Food self-sufficiency ratio, Optimum scale, National Land Use Planning Act, Inter-transformation


Project 3:

The Influence of the Farm Irrigation Facilities on the Transformations of the Settlements in the Chia-Nan Plain in the Past Hundred Years

Subproject 3 investigates the transformations of built environment by the maps provided by the subproject 1 and the sociocultural environment by the analysis of the subproject 2. This subproject focus on what the influence was of the constructions of Cia-Nan irrigation system on the socio-cultural-spatial transformations of settlements.

In the scope of Cia-Nan Plain, the database of socioeconomic activities, especially the subsistence productivities, would be established by geographic information systems. Further, we take two settlements, Madou and Jiangjyun, as cases to historiography the transformations. Finally, under the perspective of multi-settlements, this research proposes the discourse of the relations among the saline land, where Madou and Jiangjyun locate in, and the areas around it.

Keywords:The perspective of multi-settlements, Saline land, Sociocultural-spatial Transformations, Settlement


Project 4:

Collaborative Methods and Systems for Spatiotemporal Information Processing

Scholarly communication is going through rapid change in this Internet age. Open access to research articles, research tools, and research datasets is the key to this paradigm shift. Researchers are developing and adopting tools and practices to help them share and reuse research materials, and to further facilitate research collaboration. Research Data Management is a major issue in many research projects, in particular in interdisciplinary collaborations where datasets of diverse nature are collected from different sources and shared among many users.

The sub-project, “Collaborative Methods and Systems for Spatiotemporal Information Processing”, aims to develop new methods and tools to help researchers share and utilize datasets with spatiotemporal dimensions. We have been use CKAN as the basis for a research data repository for Taijiang Inland Sea area study, but this is just a start. We have identified the following two areas to further extend our works:

Developing new features for CKAN and advancing it as a platform for collaborative research;
Using and extending OpenStreetMap for collaborative mapping of the past.

Keywords: CKAN, OpenStreetMap, Collaborative system, Spatial-temporal information management


Two Prototypes


The keys to the success of collaborative research are research data and researchers.  Recent web technologies have fundamentally increased the ability of collaborative research across many domains of science. Research data from all areas of scholarship can now be easily shared, preserved and reused with the help of research data repositories. Researchers from different subject areas can now better communicate and interact with each other while they conduct interdisciplinary projects through collaborative systems. Our project, “Collaborative Methods and Systems for Spatiotemporal Information Processing” (2016-2019), aims to develop a digital infrastructure to support researchers from different fields to better share and utilize spatiotemporal datasets.


The main rationale behind our research work is the ideals and practices of open science. Open Science addresses the question of how to build collaborative tools to improve transparency, reproducibility and most importantly, the sustainability of research outcome. In order to pursue this vision, we concentrate on two prototype systems: one is a research data repository, another is a collaborative research platform.
A research data repository is dedicated to data sustainability that is not limited to short-term project life cycles. Meanwhile, a collaborative project platform is built to facilitate communication and collaboration among project members and the wider research communities. The design of the two systems highlights the fundamental requirements for the success of a collaborative research project is the availability of online data sharing and communication platforms.

In order to support long term preservation and curation of research outcome, including datasets and their metadata, from heterogeneous project sources, first we adopt CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network), an open source web-based data portal software package, to manage research datasets.  With advanced geospatial features, CKAN features data preview, search, and discovery, especially with regard to geospatial data. Secondly, we use Drupal, an open source content management system (CMS) known for user-friendly graphical interface and simple content authoring modules, for sharing project documents, standards, ideas and discussion. By the above infrastructure, we create a collaborative environment for project members and the wider research communities.

In addition, our efforts on metadata have emphasized the identification of appropriate metadata standards as well as the development of a metadata specification workflow for project members. We have conducted a requirement survey and a metadata training workshop for project members. We also study contemporary trends in semantic web and Linked Open Data (LOD) with a particular focus on LOD-based geospatial knowledge bases such as GeoNames, LinkedGeoData, OpenStreetMap, DBpediaPlace, Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), and Open Names Linked Data (UK Ordnance Survey).

CURRENT RESULT (Summer 2017) 

Our current digital infrastructure for collaborative research is based on open science principles, and results in two prototype systems: a CKAN-based research data repository at https://data.depositar.io/ and a Drupal-based project platform at https://chia-nan.geospat.io/. The metadata specification workflow is being documented through an automatic generation process (https://gipong.gitbooks.io/taijiang_metadata/). For research community engagements, we initiated one metadata training workshop and have presented in four international conferences/workshops: CKANCon 2016, ECAI Workshop 2017, ISGC 2017, and PRSCO/RSAI 2017.