Foresight Proposal

A Global, Spatially Explicit, OpenSource Data Base for Analysis of Agriculture, Forestry, and the Environment: Proposal and Institutional Considerations  
 
Thomas Hertel, Purdue University 
Wolfgang Britz, University of Bonn 
Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University 
Navin Ramankutty McGill University  
Nelson Villoria, Purdue University 
With additional contributions from 
Stanley Wood, IFPRI 
Stefan Siebert, University of Bonn 
Glenn Hyman, CIAT 
Andrew Nelson, IRRI

Abstract 
After reviewing the current state of the art in spatially explicit, global data base infrastructure for the analysis of agriculture, land use and the environment, we propose new infrastructure to support researchers working in this area. The proposed effort would do three things:1) gather national and sub national statistics from various statistical agencies around the world to put together a consistent global data set, along with regional companion data sets, on agriculture and land use;2) employ spatial disaggregation methods, including the use of satellite remote sensing technology and spatial statistics to develop geographically-explicit gridded data on a global scale; and 3) develop a data portal, including new tools for providing data in a variety of convenient formats to the global research community. Distinguishing features of this effort will be its focus on transparency, documentation and peer-review, quality control and sustainability over time. The majority of such previous efforts have only focused on the data portal element – they rely on other researchers to provide them the data. By integrating data collection, development, and provision into one project, we will be able to support the global research community as it seeks to understand the long-run sustainability of the global agricultural system.


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