New global agriculture maps released

In order to enhance global cropland information for regional and global food security planning and information on field size, two new global maps have been recently released in the journal Global Change Biology.

The first, IIASA-IFPRI Global Cropland Map, illustrates global cropland percentages at 1 kilometer resolution for the year 2005 and it was elaborated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

IIASA-IFPRI was developed using a hybrid approach that combined multiple data sources with crowdsourcing validation data. As a result, the new global cropland map is more accurate, since it relies on different datasets on cropland cover.

“Getting an accurate crop map is particularly difficult in developing countries, where smallholder plots are tough to differentiate from the surrounding vegetation,” said Liangzhi You, a senior research fellow at IFPRI.

The second, Global Field Size Map, focuses on mechanization and human development and is based entirely on crowdsourced data collected through IIASA’s Geo-Wiki project.

IIASA researcher said, “Crowdsourcing has incredible potential for gathering this type of information, and it could be particularly valuable in Africa, where future food security is a major uncertainty”.

You can access the two global agriculture maps in the GEO-wiki website.