Experimenting with ArcGIS PDF Export

FYI – For my first time, I just tried out this [Export to PDF] thing from ArcGIS to ship multiple layers of maps, and it worked great! Even Stan some non-techie users were able to easily turn on/off multiple layers and see/print only relevant layers of information from the PDF viewer, all without even opening ArcGIS. There were some tricky settings (e.g., including legend), but the process was relatively straightforward. This might be also helpful to hide raw data, when you’re limited to share sensitive (?) information around. Feel free to share your success (or not) stories too!


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[Dataset] Further-downscaled GCM by CIAT at http://gisweb.ciat.cgiar.org/GCMPage

FYI, in addition to the FutureClim, here is another downscaled GCM data collection (up to 30 arc-second, a.k.a., 1 km), being developed by Julian Ramirez (j.r.villegas@cgiar.org) and Andy Jarvis (a.jarvis@cgiar.org) at CIAT.


Downscaled GCM Data Portal


From the website:

The datasets contained in this website are part of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) climate change downscaled data, developed in the Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) program. The data have been originally downloaded from the IPCC data portal and re-processed using an spline interpolation algorithm of the anomalies and the current distribution of climates from the WorldClim database developed by Hijmans et al. (2005). All GCMs presented here come from the fourth and third IPCC Assessment Reports, but in further updates of the webpage, only models from the 4AR will be kept.

We assume that the geographies of changes in climates don’t vary too much at regional scales and that the relationships between the different variables will remain basically the same in the future. The surfaces provided here are thus generated using an empirical downscaling approach instead of re-modeling the climate patterns using an RCM (Regional Climate Model).

The downscaling process we follow is mainly the following: (1) calculation of anomalies (if they’re not provided directly by IPCC) by simply subtracting each variable’s future values with the baseline (both provided by IPCC), (2) interpolation of anomalies to a 30 arc-seconds resolution (approx. 1km) and (3) addition of the interpolated anomalies to the current distribution of climates in WorldClim, for temperature we make an absolute sum, but for precipitation (as there are differences between the GCM baseline and our WorldClim baseline), we use the relative difference.

All the datasets are available to direct-download from the site:


[Dataset] Spatially-downscaled climate projection data published at http://futureclim.info

FYI: Spatially-downscaled climate projection datasets by Peter Jones (Waen Associates/CIAT), Philip Thornton (ILRI), and Jens Heinke (PIK) are now available to download at http://futureclim.info. The datasets currently include 5 arc-minute (a.k.a., 10 km) resolution, global coverage of three core variables (i.e., monthly rainfall, tmin, and tmax) and two derived variables (solar radiation and rainy days) for biophysical modeling applications, for four GCM’s (CNRM-CM3, CSIRO-Mk3.0, ECHam5, and MIROC 3.2), three emission scenarios (A1B, A2, B1) for two time slices (2030 and 2050).

By the way, please be aware that the consequences of misusing or misinterpreting climate projection data can be potentially very… harmful. If you have any question, please contact the authors. Even if you don’t have any question, we strongly encourage you to consult with the authors on the correct use and interpretation of the data and results in your research.

Happy Easter!
Jawoo (on behalf of HarvestChoice/IFPRI/CSI)


Characteristically Generated Monthly Climate Data using Downscaled Climate Model Data from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment

Peter G Jones (p.jones@cgiar.org) | Waen Associates, Wales
Philip K Thornton (p.thornton@cgiar.org) | International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Jens Heinke (heinke@pik-potsdam.de) | Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)


This dataset was generated by a generalized downscaling (5 arc-minute) and data generation method that takes the outputs of a General Circulation Model and allows the stochastic generation of daily weather data that are to some extent characteristic of future climatologies. Such data can then be used to drive any impacts model that requires daily (or otherwise aggregated) weather data. A subset of the climate models and scenario runs carried out for 2007’s Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for two time slices (2030 and 2050) was used in this process.


These downscaled climate data are NOT predictions of what the future climate will be like in any place. They are projections of possible future climate, and should be treated with considerable caution. There is a great deal of variability between different climate models, between different greenhouse gas emission scenarios, and between different downscaling methods. It is not possible to infer anything meaningful from one climate model and one scenario: that is merely one replicate from the future (essentially unknown) probability distribution of future climates at any one place. Users should note that these data represent possible future climatologies in different places; the data say nothing about how climate variability may change in the future, and cannot be used to infer anything meaningful about this. If you are AT ALL unsure as to how these data can be used and how they cannot be used, please contact one of the authors.


Data: http://FutureClim.info
Readme: https://hc.box.net/shared/xc38lnbznn
Report: https://hc.box.net/shared/f2gk053td8

[Congratulations] CIAT: ESRI’s Mashup Challenge Winner!

ESRI’s Mashup Challenge Winners

Press Release: http://www.esri.com/news/releases/10_1qtr/mashup-winners.html
Official Site: http://www.esri.com/software/mapping_for_everyone/api/mashup.html


Ernesto Giron, GIS senior analyst for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, won fourth prize and $2,500 with Drought Timing for Agronomic Screening, an international, interactive soil map that indicates soil type and quality in a specified area and its agricultural capabilities with respect to climate change and potential drought conditions.

View application
YouTube Video

[AAGW2010] Getting Closer. Please book flights!


Thanks to the energies of the organizing committee (see below) I’m happy to confirm significant progress on the arrangements for the Africa Agriculture GIS Week that doubles as our annual CSI meeting. I attach both the announcement of the conference as well as a call for presentations for the open interactive sessions of the conference, and urge you to visit the conference website at http://africaagriculturegisweek.org/ (and thanks to the Francesca and Enrica for setting this up).  We’re also delighted to note that EIS/GIS Africa have become partners in this effort.

As primary sponsors of the event we will retain the CSI and AGCommons sessions, so both the CGIAR centre-specific presentations and the QuickWin presentations are included in the program. Proposals for presentations at the open sessions are welcome from all, including CG centres and partners, but the first priority will be to attract the interest and engagement of young African students and professionals as well as other traditional CSI partners from UN organizations.

With regard to support for CSI representatives we believe we have sufficient funding in hand to cover all in country costs (transfers, accommodation, meals, conference logistical support ). We will continue to seek additional support but as things stand you will need to cover your own travel costs.

You will note from the agenda that there is a CSI Business meeting planned for the morning of 8th June. Please send me any items you would like included in the agenda for that meeting. One item will be the Atlas we discussed at the last meeting for which I’ve secured some modest funding (follow up email).

This promises to be a very exciting week, and a significant step towards creating and energizing a vibrant GIS community committed to helping transform agriculture in Africa. Please make sure you’re part of the action!



AAGW Organizing Committee: Sives Govender, Jubal Harpster, Glenn Hyman, Laban MacOpiyo, Francesca Pelloni, Enrica Porcari, Pierre Sibiry Traore, Stanley Wood

AAGW Announcement.doc
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Invitation to participantsAAGW.doc
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Looking Behind the Africa Trial Sites Network

While Asia and Latin America have benefitted from the Green Revolution, agricultural yields in Africa have increased little over the last half century.  This gap is due, in part, to the current state of African research systems. Improved systems will lead to increased yields, a solution that African governments and donors already recognize. Towards this end, several agricultural research scientists associated with the CGIAR’s Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI) established the Africa Trial Sites (AfricaTS) project, a far-reaching initiative that supports the development of international networks of researchers willing to share the results of their cultivar trial experiments.

In a recent interview, the ICT-KM Program caught up with three researchers behind this AGCommons Quick-Win project: Glenn Hyman (CIAT), Kai Sonder (CIMMYT, previously with IITA) and Sibiry Traore (ICRISAT).

What were the main goals of AfricaTS and what were the outputs?

Glenn Hyman: AfricaTS set out to develop a network of trial sites in Africa that could participate in crop improvement programs.  The project aims to manage information related to trial sites in a standardized way, and also hopes to have research organizations pooling information on trial sites and making it available to the crop improvement community in a way that would promote a more efficient evaluation of improved varieties. Project participants identified trial sites in Africa and basic information about these sites.  Tools to make this information more accessible to the crop improvement community were developed and a website was established to share information developed in the project.  The website includes results of some spatial analyses, tools for analyzing data, and links to existing resources for the crop improvement community. 

Can other organizations outside the CGIAR access information on the website?

Glenn Hyman: Absolutely!  It’s about international public goods, something we need to develop more. It often happens in the CGIAR that we get paid to do research that ends up sitting on our own hard drives or on our own bookshelves. This project is about getting results out there for the public to use.

Why did the four Centers, CIAT, CIMMYT, IITA and ICRISAT, get involved in this project?

Glenn Hyman: Mostly because they are the main Centers working on crop improvement in Africa. It was partly opportunistic as well, because a couple of us sat around talking about the idea, then we sent out a note to everyone else. And these four were the ones that shared the strongest interest. One possibility for a second phase of the project could involve other Centers taking it over and starting to put their own sites in. For example, the best candidate to join efforts now is probably the Africa Rice Center (WARDA), because they are doing so much work in West Africa. But there are other Centers, such as CIP, which does a lot of trial work in Africa on sweet potatoes.

Why did you personally come on board?

Kai Sonder: I simply thought it was a great idea. The compilation of the African trial sites with lots of interactive information is a very valuable thing to have available for the whole agricultural research, development and extension community interested in Africa. It allows us to put research results, and not just research results on plant improvement, in a wider geographical context for up-scaling, improved applicability of results, etc. For example, a person from a NARS or NGO in any country in Sub-Saharan Africa can use one or several of the tools on the AfricaTS site and find out about existing research that was done in a place that is similar to their intended area of work. They can then contact a breeder or other person involved to get seeds or planting materials or implement results.  The site will hopefully help connect researchers with similar interests working in similar areas and allow them to exchange results, data, seeds, etc. If properly used, the site will reduce redundancies of testing varieties and breeds and the time it takes to get new improved varieties to farmers in larger areas.  Political and economic communities like ECOWAS are thinking of streamlining their seed improvement and delivery systems and sharing information on evaluation sites. Having access to a common platform will contribute to that goal.

Are you still actively involved with the project?

Glenn Hyman: We would like to get new support for it in the future. The Centers involved plan to present the project at the next CSI meeting, which will take place in Kenya, in June 2010. Between now and then, we will be doing a lot of networking and some tweaking of the website. We’ve also had some interest from colleagues who want us to write proposals related to this. The CGIAR is starting a huge climate change initiative, and a big part of that involves trying to make sure that we have seeds that are adapted to future climates. We plan to write a proposal that will involve cultivar trials for future conditions at different sites today. That’s where we think this network is going to be really useful for future research.

What about the sustainability of Africa Trial Sites work?

Glenn Hyman: A large number of our trial sites are from projects of the Generation Challenge Program. Some others are part of the Tropical Legumes Project, and yet others from the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Project.  These are all ongoing projects that have work out in the field, and which need the type of data and information that are part of this network. We also expect the network to be useful for future projects and multi-location trials.

Are you involved in networking and social media aspects in the run up to the CSI meeting? What do you hope to see as an outcome of the meeting?

Kai Sonder: I will certainly try to contribute to spreading the word on the meeting and getting local colleagues involved. Unfortunately, I?m now based in Mexico and the geographical and time distance doesn?t make it easy to arrange for things.

The meeting’s main purpose is to meet friends and colleagues within the CGIAR GIS community. So it’s a bit like an annual class reunion and it strengthens our personal relations. The big strength of the CSI is that it’s a very informal network that works very well because of our common interests and the social ties.  It’s a very level community and we share a lot on data, software and information. I always learn about new data and techniques and a lot of joint projects have come out of the contacts made.  It would also be nice to get a larger project going that would include the whole CSI group, such as the Agricultural Atlas for Africa.

People of related disciplines from the UN, NGOs and other institutions often participate, depending on the location and interest , so it?s always a good opportunity to network and get a new range of partners and clients. Last year, this was already quite fruitful in combination with the WhereCamp Nairobi, as I met a lot of people from different sectors and learned a lot of new things on technologies and applications beyond our normal agricultural development scope. This year, as the CSI meeting is imbedded in the Africa Agriculture Geospatial Week (AAGW), I look forward to even more exciting new encounters, partnerships and impulses for my work.   

Did you face any challenges with AfricaTS that you didn’t anticipate at the outset?

Glenn Hyman: We expected a lot of historical data on trials to be in a lot better shape than it was. This was partly due to communication in the past. Some of the trial projects were started 25 or 30 years ago. Today, the Internet has made a big difference. Instead of sending trial results out by regular mail, people can get them out by email and through websites like ours. This reduces errors and the time it takes to send things. One thing that is really exciting about AfricaTS is the recent changes expected in Africa related to Internet connection and cell phones. Internet connections will be improved by new undersea cables, probably within a year. This will make a lot more people in Africa connected, and we will soon be able get the Africa crop improvement, research and development community linked to this project. 

Sibiry Traore: Historically, low adoption rates of research germplasm have resulted (inter alia) from inadequate knowledge and sampling of target environments. This was also due to important communication gaps between disciplines, e.g. between breeding and ecology (including human ecology). However, AfricaTS offers a unique opportunity to deploy genes across multiple environments more efficiently by breaking through these knowledge and communication gaps.

Would you have done anything differently?

Kai Sonder: The time frame was tight for a small project and the web design part took too long. So in hindsight, these things should have been set up more at the beginning or parallel to the compilation of sites to have the web platform ready as early as possible. This would also have allowed us to share it with parts of the intended client community early on to get feedback and the word out sooner. If this gets expanded to other crops and geographical areas it will be easier.

What I found very useful was using a single site for sharing project documents online for editing and other work. This prevented endless emails with updates and revised versions and the related problems. For me, this was the first project fully managed by Skype and a Google site. So that was quite an exciting experience using new technologies with three partners in four countries and several continents.

Looking ahead what do you hope to see happening?

Sibiry Traore: AfricaTS should be viewed as a springboard for a much larger concept. Beyond the “ivory tower”, ON-STATION trial networks where growing environments are well controlled, it will set the stage for 21st century multi-local on-farm trials where growing environments are less well controlled, but where farmer implication is far more direct. In that sense, AfricaTS lays the ground for truly multi-local PARTICIPATORY trial networks of the future ? which will also be more flexible and affordable.


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2010 Africa Agriculture GIS Week – Emerging Options and Issues

Dear Colleagues,

This is a brief follow-up to the earlier (in January – already!) email about our next CSI/AGCommons sponsored meeting, the 2010 Africa Agriculture GIS Week (AAGW). Most importantly, the date and location have been set!

  • Location: Nairobi, Kenya (exact venue not still under negotiation, likely ILRI or ICRAF. Yes, we too are disappointed we didn’t make Bamako. Let’s get the funding to do that next time!)
  • Dates: 8-13 June 2010 (MARK ON YOUR CALENDAR NOW!)
  • Draft Schedule
    • Day 1 (8 June, Tue): Business meetings for CSI and AGCommons (independently and jointly) (perhaps half day special mini-symposia)
    • Day 2,3 (Wed, Thu): Presentation sessions (Centers, AGCommons, external contributions from the region)
    • Day 4 (Fri): Training (topics TBA, but including ArcGIS Server)
    • Day 5 (Sat): Africa WhereCamp 2.0 (details TBA)
    • Day 6 (Sun): BarCamp (details TBA)
    • Content Committee: Glenn, Sibiry, Laban, Enrica, Laban, Jubal & Stan (overall program and set themes for contributed sessions)

Details, including venue and budget support, are still being finalized – we’ll keep you posted. Any and all ideas for program, logistics, recreation.. gratefully received.

Again, self-sponsorship for all or part of your participation should be your goal, but we will do all we can to top up where essential for Centre CSI reps.

Many thanks to Francesca, Ria and Laban who have started shouldering the logistical burden, soon to be helped by a contact at our chosen venue.

Stan (& Enrica)

PS. The World Cup starts on June 11th and I will be pre-selling 2010 World Cup Champions (England) tee-shirts. Order now to avoid disappointment.

See the power of the crowd-sourcing: “The volunteer mappers who helped Haiti” at BBC News

See the slideshow at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8517057.stm, showing impressive evolution of OpenStreetMap data in Haiti within few days.

Plus, the CrisisCommons WiKi page lists all the international voluntary collaboration efforts.



From: Wood, Stanley (IFPRI)
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:01 PM
To: Koo, Jawoo (IFPRI)
Subject: maybe embed this link in the email to CSI as an “added extra”


“Smart Investments in Sustainable Food Production: Revisiting Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems”

Wow, congratulations!! 😀

Smart Investments in Sustainable Food Production: Revisiting Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems

Science. 2010; 327:822-825.  [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

M. Herrero,1,* P. K. Thornton,1 A. M. Notenbaert,1 S. Wood,2 S. Msangi,2 H. A. Freeman,3 D. Bossio,4J. Dixon,5 M. Peters,6 J. van de Steeg,1 J. Lynam,7 P. Parthasarathy Rao,8 S. Macmillan,1 B. Gerard,9J. McDermott,1 C. Seré,1 M. Rosegrant2
Farmers in mixed crop-livestock systems produce about half of the world’s food. In small holdings around the world, livestock are reared mostly on grass, browse, and nonfood biomassfrom maize, millet, rice, and sorghum crops and in their turn supply manure and traction for future crops. Animals act as insurance against hard times and supply farmers with a source of regular income from sales of milk, eggs, and other products. Thus, faced with population growth and climate change, small-holder farmers should be the first target for policies to intensifyproduction by carefully managed inputs of fertilizer, water, and feed to minimize waste and environmental impact, supported by improved access to markets, new varieties, and technologies.

1 International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Post Office Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya.
2 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2033 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA.
3 International Finance Corporation, The World Bank Group, Washington, DC 20433, USA.
4 International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka.
5 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
6 Centro Internacional de Agricultural Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia.
7 Independent consultant, Nairobi, Kenya.
8 International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India.
9 CGIAR System-wide Livestock Programme, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ROLLout: sowing the seeds of the bigger picture

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ROLLout: sowing the seeds of the bigger picture


by Pierre Sibiry Traore

Why is very high resolution imageryPIVOTAL for the smallholder farmers that we are? Wait a minute… Why is it, in fact, so critically important to anchor and trigger agricultural growth through community geospatial infrastructures and boosted precision agriculture?

Because the world is changing. Because mankind is growing, and its offspring, higher rural population densities and larger cities, constitute with advances in technology (especially ICT) the number one driver of global change, BY FAR AND LARGE.

Because everywhere in the developing world, we intensify production systems – just as surely as we move forward the demographic transition stages. And guess what. This twin driver translates on the ground into another phenomenal duality: the need to simultaneously GO LOCAL with the production resource base and GO GLOBALwith income sources of livelihoods. Because we need to quit mining and wasting space and resources, and start to procure and cycle them locally as they get scarce. Because we need to adapt local systems to the growing distant demand and to the influence of urban preferences – hey, after all we can demand a few things from urbanites and globalites in return! Like, increase our “carrying capacity” (what a flawed concept in an increasingly anthropized world!) – or rather, EXPAND OUR TOOLBOXES. By linking us to credit, new nutrient sources, and resource management tools. Like VHRI.

Because you know what? We, smallholder farmers, are inherently skilled in image interpretation. But never did anyone bring us such VHRI maps before – and therefore few were aware of what we could do.

We, smallholder farmers, have many words to quantify finescale variability (jigin‐jigin in Bamanankan). But we never had an opportunity to look at hot spots, and bright spots from above.

We, smallholder farmers, live in close‐knit communities that can support and own intrinsically spatial and equitable technology exchange processes – using our knowledge of family lineages, hamlets and population distribution across the landscape. But we never before realized that VHRI could literally shortcut local extension bottlenecks and shortcomings.

These are but a few learnings from the SIBWA ROLLout phase, which introduced 4 VHRI products in each of 6 rural communities of West Africa in August 2009. Spending 3 days per site, logging 44,000 km‐person of road travel, directly interacting with 183 smallholder farmers, collecting over 600 photographs and 600 minutes of streaming video. And, more importantly, SOWING THE SEEDS, in these communities, OF THE BIGGER PICTURE. Because that is what VHRI can do: anchor – both locally and globally – the fundamental paradigm of modern and sustainable agricultural growth.


SIBWA (Seeing is Believing West Africa) is one of the AGCommons “Quick Wins”: 5 projects that deliver measurable impact within a year to demonstrate the potential of different models and methods. To learn more please visit :


Winter Storm Warning – reminder re IFPRI weather closing policy

Photo by kimberlyfaye

So, I have this theory that IFPRI (HQ in Washington, DC) is the only CGIAR center hit by snow storms every winter. True/false?

Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 5:13 PM
Subject: Winter Storm Warning – reminder re IFPRI weather closing policy
Importance: High

As you’ve probably have heard, the DC metropolitan area is currently under a Winter Storm Warning. The current weather forecasts for tomorrow predict a severe snow storm for this area (possibly 18-24 inches) beginning late in the morning and continuing into Saturday.

If you feel that coming into the office will entail a serious hardship consider choosing to take a vacation day (or work from home if you have approval from supervisor based on programmatic type of work to do so).

Resampled SRTM by Andy Jarvis

In case you haven’t noticed, our lovely friend Andy Jarvis (a.jarvis@cgiar.org) posted a new SRTM dataset last October, called the “Resampled SRTM (250m, 500m, and 1km)” (I’ll spare the detailed background of the dataset for Andy).

Since the new dataset quickly became so popular and overwhelmed the already-so-slow CSI webserver, we had to move the data to a new location, the HarvestChoice Box (at box.net). If you’re interested in, or if you were thinking of resampling SRTM yourself, get it at https://hc.box.net/shared/1yidaheouv. Let me know if you experience any download problem.


So, what’s up with the CSI website?

Ah, good question. It’s a long and winding story (I want to save the details for my presentation at the upcoming meeting). In short, we will move into a new environment relatively soon, with the courtesy of AGCommons. The current platform at CGNet doesn’t really support what we need.. The choice of CMS will likely to be Joomla, instead of Drupal (another story). I’ll give a short demonstration/training on this at the meeting.

In the mean time (and possibly even after the migration process), the CSI’s sub-websites are still functioning at where they are:

The meeting websites are already setup outside at the Google Apps:

And, don’t forget that we have a new mailing list at the Google Groups:

Anyhow, all the server complications shouldn’t stop us blogging here – so hope you all enjoy this new space. Let’s get mingle here!


New blog site!

Hi there, welcome! CSI has a group blog here. Well, sounds familiar? Because, it’s not the first one we have – but hope this one works better. It’s very simple to use – just email your “blog” to post@cgiar-csi.posterous.com; we will take care of the rest. Really. 🙂   Enjoy!