Friday, September 25, 2020

A handy feature in Google Maps

 Many people are familiar with the Measure Distance feature in Google Maps.

Put the cursor on the map, right mouse button click. Then a second mouse button click and it will give you the distance between the two points on the map.

But you don't have to stop there, you can add a third, fourth and more clicks and the distance accumulates.

What many people do not realize is that if you form a closed polygon with your if you were measuring the length of fence wire you would have to buy it to enclose the parcel, Google will calculated the enclosed area.


This parcel is east of Bugtussle, Ky. It is a fairly simple shape and you could probably make a reasonable approximation by pacing off the length and the width. 685,000/43,320 is about 16 acres.

This parcel is also east of Bugtussle and it would be significantly more difficult to get a good estimate of the area of this field.

One use for this tool is to estimate the number of cow-grazing-days in a paddock. If you have two paddocks of the same size and one consistently produces more cow-grazing-days than the other you might want to figure out why. You are leaving money on the table if you have rain and sun falling and it isn't making as much grass as the other paddock.

For example, I learned that my pasture is only 3.6 acres in size. I thought it was bigger than that. This pass through, I expect to get forty grazing days with about 4500 pounds of beef. At 4% dry-matter per day, that is 180 pounds of dry-matter per day or 7200 pounds total. Another way to look at it is that the cattle are harvesting 2000 pounds of dry-matter this time around the paddocks.

This is a fen or a grassy bog in mid-Michigan. It is pretty tough to pace out distances when you sink to your knees with each step.


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