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RTB GIS initiative promotes open data

Cross-posted from Roots, Tubers & Bananas (RTB) News

By Glenn Hyman – International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Far too often our research and development activities remain hidden in difficult-to-find places, limiting its potential to achieve impact. A group of seven professionals applying spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) to roots, tubers and bananas (RTB) research is working to change that. They met last week in San Diego, California in conjunction with the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) International Users Conference to share results of their work on RTB crops. The meeting was sponsored by the RTB Research Program and the Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI), both CGIAR initiatives.

Photo by Henry Juarez, CIP

Photo by Henry Juarez, CIP

The researchers – a RTB team of GIS professionals – presented their research on mapping soil organic carbon in cassava fields, participatory research for biodiversity monitoring of potato, use of GIS for assessing banana fusariam wilt disease, a multi-criteria decision support system for priority setting in RTB crops, an open database of evaluations trials and an online digital atlas called RTBMaps (see summaries and links to the research presentations below). One aim of the group is to share useful geographic information developed by RTB researchers with the larger agricultural research community. They share this knowledge through RTBMaps.

RTBMaps brings together spatial information on RTB crop distributions, abiotic and biotic constraints to RTB production, socioeconomic conditions and other map information relevant to these crops. The group puts this information in the public domain for use by the research and development community working on RTB crops. Future development of the Atlas will include new map layers on pests and diseases, climate change impacts on RTB crops and other layers of interest. Ultimately the group expects to motivate new research and development activities that build on these knowledge and information resources.


Online Atlas of Roots, Tubers and Banana Crops

RTBMaps is an online GIS tool to visualize production, constraints and social indicators associated with Roots and Tubers and Bananas (RTB) crops. Information mapped by the tool, includes data on pests and diseases, evapotranspiration rates, vulnerability to failed harvests, fertilizer application rates and the incidence of malnutrition in children. With this project the power of maps will be out of the GIS lab into the hands of the RTB science community-CGIAR scientists and partners worldwide.


Spatial Variability of Soil Organic Carbon in a Cassava Farm Nigeria

Spatial variability map of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is crucial for nutrient management. Georeferenced samples were collected at 30 and 60cm depth on 467Ha. Kriging produced spatial distribution of SOC using Geostatistical Analyst. Best fit semivariogram models were Rational Quadratic(topsoil) and K-Bessel(subsoil). The nugget-to-sill ratio was 0.60 (topsoil) and 0.92(subsoil), indicating medium & weak spatial dependence for both depths. Two fertility management zones for SOC were delineated


Participatory mapping for the systematic monitoring of biodiversity

Biodiversity sustains a wide variety of genetic traits that are very valuable for the potato’s adaption to changing environments and successful cultivation in the future. However, several factors are threatening biodiversity in the Andes. For this reason, it is necessary for monitoring to be done with a standardized system and common observation parameters. Here we explain how participatory mapping and survey methods are used for the systematic monitoring of potato landraces in the Andes.


Geographic Targeting for Diagnostic of Banana Fusarium Wilt

Using ArcGIS Desktop we applied different criteria to select a group a 149 farms to conduct the first stage of a study in San Luis de Shuaro, Peru. Due to access difficulties found on this region, the study would have been much more difficult and cost much more in terms of resource allocation had we been unable to utilize GIS.


Siempre: A GIS aided multi-criteria decision analysis application

GIS tools allow the handling of spatial criteria data to be assimilated and interpreted by groups of experts when evaluating solutions to complex problems.This project uses multicriteria decision analysis to support geographic targeting of interventions in crop improvement for main agricultural crops, by using an application called SIEMPRE, which is GIS aided online, and is used to elicit expert opinion to value alternative solutions utilizing the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) methodology.


A global agricultural trial site application

This presentation describes an application that organizes and manages evaluations of crop cultivars at sites across the world. The application can serve this data and includes multiple opportunities for linking systems that deal with these types of data. In the presentation, we demonstrate the development of an online database to manage evaluation data, linking this data set to geographic representations online and providing the data as a service to other applications.

Geographic targeting for the Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) research program.

Cross-posted from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) DAPA Blogs

Researchers from IITA, Bioversity, CIAT and CIP met last week at CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia to advance geographic targeting and priority setting for the Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) research program. Our activity is a background analysis for the larger RTB priority setting process that extends into the middle of 2013. The aim of the work is to consider the geographic dimensions of priority setting for the RTB crops – potato, sweet potato, yam, cassava, bananas, plantains and others. RTB researchers included professionals from the GIS labs of the four partner centers, economists working in impact assessment and several others. The team is analyzing problems and opportunities for RTB crop development, such as poverty and socioeconomic conditions where these crops are prevalent, biotic and abiotic constraints to crop production and yield gaps.

The key activity in the analysis looks at the spatial coincidence of RTB crops with poverty, population, demography, drought, excessive heat, soil constraints, pest and disease problems and many other considerations affecting where to target R&D interventions. Where should RTB focus efforts? What are the best bets for targeting technology to its ecological and socioeconomic niche? Our team is working to answer these questions and many more. Other activities in the project include a broad-scale yield gap analysis for identifying the places where R&E might have the most impact, places where crop yields are well below their potential. Finally, the team is creating an online digital atlas on everything related to RTB crop development.

RTB Cali Workshop Official Photograph

Nov 12-14 Roots, Tubers and Bananas workshop in Cali, Colombia at CIAT HQ. Front row Left to Right: Guy Hareau, David Brown, Henry Juarez, Bernado Creamer, Tunrayo Alabi, Elizabeth Barona, Martha del Rio Duque; Second Row: Flavio Avila, Glenn Hyman, Diemuth Pemsl, Ulrich Kleinwechter, Tahirou Abdoulaye, Ernesto Giron; Third row: Holger Kirscht, Joe Guo and Reinhard Simon.


The New Atlas of Crop Production Constraints and Opportunities

With a wide view of the future where plant breeders have the tools to breed crops in marginal environments with greater efficiency and accuracy for the benefit of the resource-poor farmers and their families, the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) has carried out a broad access and proactive distribution platform as a consolidated vehicle for dissemination of knowledge, tools and services around crops breeding. The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) is particularly intended to boost crop productivity and resilience for smallholders in marginal environments by facilitating access to cutting-edge breeding technologies and informatics tools hitherto unavailable to developing-country breeder.

One of the useful informatics tools is called “Generation Atlas”, a GIS-based web mapping tool that allows researchers, policy analysts, students and others interested in crop improvement to explore constraints and opportunities of agricultural production throughout the world.

The new IBP Generation Atlas is a comprehensive compilation of online maps and geo-processing tools that use a combination of Google and ArcGIS Server technologies, integrated with databases like Google Fusion Tables synchronized with IFPRI and CIAT relational database management systems (RDBMS) to provide access to trial sites information from AgTrials, the Global Agricultural Trial Repository initiative, historical climate data, WorldClim data, generic soil profiles, soils from various sources and many more valuable information from HarvestChoice.

The web map about shows farming systems and trial sites from AgTrials repository. You can explore the map using your mouse, clicking on the red points or just go to the Atlas for visualizing more map layers and useful information such as weather stations, climate, global crop distribution, planting date, soils, soil constraints, seasonal drought index, failed season, population, percentage of children less than 5 yrs old stunted, phenotyping field sites, among others.

For further information you can contact to Glenn Hyman at CIAT or leave us a comment.

Try IBP Generation Atlas

RTB Workshop at CIAT in Cali, Colombia

Cross-posted on CIAT’s DAPA Blog

RTB (Roots, Tubers and Bananas) Workshop was held at CIAT‘s headquarters in Cali, Colombia on 12-14 November 2012.

We have 19 people from IITA, CIAT, CIP and Bioversity. One of our objectives is to test out cloud technology for sharing geographic information. We are using resources from the CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information’s (CSI)  agreement with Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). The technology is ArcGIS Online. The four CGIAR centers are pooling together their data and putting it in ArcGIS Online. Here below is a map of irrigated areas from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) overlaid on a maps of John Dixon’s Farming Systems map. Use your mouse to pan and zoom around the maps. Note you can pan to different parts of the world. This blog post is calling the ArcGIS Online system and data stored on the cloud.

So far, we are quite pleased with the drawing speeds. We did have some difficulty getting everyone signed on to the system, but we did manage to do with only a 25 minute delay in our agenda. Today we are discussing input data into a multi-criteria evaluation process. Tomorrow, we split up into group according to crop, and begin thinking about the geographic dimension of RTB priorities.

For further information about the CSI geospatial platform initially used to support RTB project and soon more CGIAR CRPs, please contact your GIS Team in each center or leave us a comment here to follow up and help you anytime.

CGIAR-CSI at CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) – a CIAT blog

How to geotag digital photographs


ASB researchers Glenn Hyman, Efrain Leguia and Konstantin Koenig posed for a quick photograph on the banks of the Ucayali River in Pucallpa, Peru, before heading upstream to the Masisea area. They used digital cameras and global positioning systems to geo-tag their photographs for later use in their land-use validation effort.

During a land-use workshop held 10 days ago in Perú, we developed this guide to geo-tagging digital photos using GPS. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments, especially about other methods and other resources with respect to geo-tagging.

Before REALU’s land-use workshop in the Peruvian Amazon river port city of Pucallpa, Perú during the last week of May, ASB researchers conducted a three-day field campaign to validate their land-use mapping efforts. The purpose of the trip was to verify the map based on what they see on the ground. The researchers linked field notes, global positioning system (GPS) points and digital photographs to support their validation exercise. One outcome of this activity was the development of a guide on how to geo-tag digital photographs. The attached documents in English and Spanish give a step-by-step guide on how to assign the correct geographic coordinates to photographs taken in the field.

Best, Glenn

Glenn Hyman
CIAT – International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Tel.  57-2-445-0000 ext 3731 (direct)
or 1-650-833-6625 ext 3731 (via USA)

Fax. 57-2-445-0073 (direct)
or 1-650-833-6626 (via USA)


New online application supporting policy and program development in the Amazon

Originally posted by Glenn Hyman (CIAT):

We developed this beta version of a policy and program support system for ecosystem services management in the Amazon.  For more information on this application, see the news item on the CIAT webpage. The news article includes information on how to access the site and how to provide user feedback, something that we would very much appreciate. Capabilities of interactive map servers are finally realizing their potential.

The screen shot below shows the user defines an area for the application to calculate the opportunity costs of avoided deforestation.