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Agro-MAPS : Mapping sub national land use statistics on a global scale. H. George, I. Verbeke and S. Corsi Land and Water Division, FAO. Wye City Group Workshop on Statistics on Rural Development & Agricultural Household Income ROME, 11-12 June 2009. Overview. Agro-MAPS

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agro maps mapping sub national land use statistics on a global scale

Agro-MAPS: Mapping sub national land use statistics on a global scale

H. George, I. Verbeke and S. Corsi

Land and Water Division, FAO

Wye City Group Workshop on

Statistics on Rural Development & Agricultural Household Income

ROME, 11-12 June 2009



Origins & key characteristics

Value addition

Land use issues and rural development

Selected land-use applications

Development of land-use indicators

Mapping & characterization of land-use systems

Concluding remarks

agro maps origins
Agro-MAPS: Origins

LU information needed for specific global applications

  • IFPRI -- Impacts of new technologies; nutrient balances, ..
  • SAGE -- Climate change; human impacts on ecosystem services, ..
  • FAO -- Land degradation, farming systems, early warning, ....

Informal Consortium (Agro-MAPS)

  • Meetings (2002; 2003); pool data holdings
  • CIAT (joined in 2003); IRRI, ILRI – major contributions
  • Funding: within existing programs; MEA (core indicator data set)
  • FAO contributions: coordinated through interdepartmental working group (SPATL)
key decisions

FAOSTAT – 57 countries

Agro-MAPS – 5690 units

Key Decisions


  • Focus on food crops; globally/ regionally important; most recent data; time series?
  • Production, Harvested area; Crop yields
  • Geo-referenced; admin 1 and 2
  • Global coverage, largest countries
  • Pool existing data holdings & published sources (e.g. Ag census)
  • Harmonize data (codes; units; but no corrections); include reference to data sources
  • No long-term commitments!

OPPORTUNITY: Seek partners to develop synergies for further improvements ---data gathering, content, formats, harmonization, long-term development, ...

challenges of implementation
Data Compilation/ Harmonization

Multiple sources (± metadata)

Ambiguities (-, ., 0, blank, NA, ..)

Boundaries (variations - extent, names, codes – SALB, FIPS, NUTS, GAUL, ad-hoc, ..)

Crop codes

Data access/ dissemination

CD-ROM (2006)

Web site development (interactive, 850 Mb data) & distributed update

IPR (“Agro-MAPS”; EUROSTAT, data vs boundary info, ..)





Challenges of implementation

Match codes appearing in tables and maps

boundaries a x cutting issue
Boundaries: A X-cutting issue

CHALLENGE: compile & distribute all aggregated data and their corresponding boundary maps




  • Different boundaries from different sources
  • Differences reported for different crops; year;
  • Disputed Boundaries
status data coverage

59 - admin2

130 – admin 1

Status: Data coverage


  • 134 Countries - 92% of the world land surface covered
  • Some data without maps
  • Updates/corrections (via publications; collaborators; projects, .. public feedback
status data quality


Status: Data quality





  • Use ‘metadata’ to consult original sources
  • Develop better indicators for data sharing
web based lu info system
Web-based LU info system
  • Web site enhancements
    • rapid update;
    • best resolution display
  • Derived info products to support applications
    • major crop combinations
    • raster versions

Interactive display BY REGION

on line query

% Data displayable

On-line query

Find best matching shapefiles!


Download options

  • CSV, dbf, ..
  • All statistical data (by country, region)
  • All statistical data for a specific query
  • Shapefiles (except Europe)
site updates adjustments
Site updates & adjustments

Site Administrator only

  • Rapid update
    • datasets,
    • layers

All Users

  • Adjust parameters
    • crop combination tools
locally important crops

Preview time series data BY COUNTRY

Data sources

Burkina Faso

Locally important crops

Burkina Faso

Important crops

agro maps added value
Agro-MAPS: Added value
  • Global compilation of sub national data
    • versus national aggregates – FAOSTAT
    • global analyses & perspective studies
    • geographic targeting within countries
  • Geo-referenced formats
    • vector; raster for easier integration with user applications (under development)
  • Derived information – LU characterization
    • indicators on rural development issues
    • locally important crops or crop groups -> LU systems mapping
land issues rural development

LU changes to combat food insecurity & poverty

High bioenergy demand & indirect LU changes

Land scarcity

Large scale cropland acquisitions

Climate change impact on land suitability and use

Increasing urbanization

Highly variable food prices; trade


land degradation (including forest)

sustainability of agro-ecosystems/ biodiversity

food versus environmental tradeoffs

Land issues & Rural Development
development of lu indicators
Development of LU Indicators

Percent changes

crop production; per capita production

area harvested; per capita area harvested

yields (NB: influences due to management; rainfall)

yield gap


harvested area to total suitable area (NB: differs from arable land to total land area)

harvested area to cropland area (i.e. cropping intensity)


Potential vs Actual yields (e.g. field trials, Agro-MAPS)

yield gap sorghum kg ha bfa
Yield gap – sorghum (kg/ha) - BFA

YIELD GAP -- Difference between potential yields and actual yields available from Agro-MAPS.


Yield gap map (sorghum, Kg/ha)

Yields from field trials versus yields from Agro-MAPS

For geographic targeting of regions where productivity gains are possible

harvested vs suitable area
Harvested vs suitable area

Harvested area

Highly suitable area

harvested vs total cropland
Harvested vs total cropland

Harvested area

total cropland area

cropping intensity
Cropping intensity

Harvested area to total cropland (i.e. cropping intensity)

It is useful for estimating future food production under given conditions of the availability of land suitable for cropping and population growth

land use systems mapping
Land use systems mapping
  • Distinct geographic assemblages of
    • the natural resources base,
    • current land use and management, and
    • the socio-economic setting
  • Facilitates ‘territorial’ vs. sectoral policies & planning
  • Global  sub national scales

Farming systems & Poverty- 2001


Locally important crops

  • Set of crop(s) having the highest relative percentages of total harvested area which together just exceed a predetermined threshold percentage (75%) of the total harvested area for each administrative unit.
  • “Mixed’ label if the number of crops is greater than 4 (user selectable)
national lu systems mapping


(production conditions)


(use of resources – land use)


(explanatory factors – influence land use management practices)

AEZ suitability

crops & management

population density

soil; climate; terrain

livestock & management

infrastructure (access to advisory services; markets)

land cover

fishing & management

land availability



District-level farming systems map

National LU systems mapping


Agro-MAPS data

  • ± indicators to suit end-user needs
  • land tenure, plot characteristics
  • orientation/intensity of production
  • prices/ subsidies, credit access

scale independent framework

created by spatial integration of relevant data for each of the 3 major land-use characteristics with the aid of geographic information systems as well as with input of expert local knowledge


LU systems & attributes

LADA -- National land degradation assessment - Senegal


LU systems & degradation

% area affected by land degradation

agro maps user survey
Agro-MAPS: User survey
  • Climate change
  • GIS-based cropland GHG inventory for Burkina Faso and Tanzania
  • C sequestration calculation
  • MSc research project aiming to upscale the emissions of the ozone depleting gas methyl bromide
  • research on carbon sequestration in croplands

Land-use (policies; assessment; planning)

Land use assesment in calculating arid and semi arid land area in Kenya

Plantation planning

Comparing yields between SSA and LA

Biofuels policies impact on land use

For presentation of sugarcane production ares under cultivation and yield in India

For research Purpose- Land-livestock planning on country scale

Data Preparedness for response to emergency

seminar on food security

Academic and scientific

Modelling exercise on water use

Research on Crop Growth Modeling

biofuels research

Change in indigenous land practices since 1950

agro maps user survey31
Agro-MAPS: User survey

Environment analyses and management

Geospatial analysis for evaluating North American and European Union ecological areas for pesticide dissipation studies project

Ecological Region analysis North America and EU

Establish GIS database for environment management

Investment and marketing

Investment research

Preparing analyses for sales department

Size markets in Argentina and Brazil

soyabean production in Madhya Pradesh research

researching oil palm industry in DRC

Gain understanding of African agricultural imports/exports to assist my work in Mozambique as a volunteer consultant to sustenance farmers

food production and consumption in asia


For more info ...


concluding remarks
Agro-MAPS: ready access now

to sub national LU data (vs national aggregates)

derived information, on global scale

Facilitates development of

LU indicators of relevance to MDG1 and 7 issues in rural development

LU systems maps allowing a territorial vs a sectoral approach to policy formulation and planning

Info gaps remain

time series data; no data for some countries

seeking collaborative arrangements for future sub national LU data compilation (not just statistics)

Concluding remarks