RTB GIS group wins award

A group of researchers working on geographic targeting and priorities for the roots tubers and bananas program recently won the of Special Achievement in GIS award from ESRI. The effort was led by CIAT (DAPA), CIP, IITA and Bioversity.

Por Glenn Hyman| July 26, 2013

We have received some press about the award on the following websites: CGIAR scientists unite to design award-winning mapping tool (CGIAR) Online mapping tool for analysis and planning receives international award (RTB) RTBMaps: more than just eye candy for scientists (CIAT) Interactive tool maps out world of bananas, potatoes and cassava (FreshFruitPortal.com) This is only the beginning of what we expect to do with this online Atlas. The partners of the four CGIAR centers are working to add content and analysis. We also expect to make some improvements in the application itself. Ernesto Giron is leading the application development work. Ex-DAPA GIS analyst Elizabeth Barona is leading the data development work. Just to give you an idea of some of the ideas, technology and people behind this effort, here below is a synopsis of information related to the effort (taken from the ESRI award profile): Synopsis of your project goal: The project aims to use geographic information science and technology to support priority setting for research and development in crop improvement for roots, tubers, and bananas (RTB). The RTB research program (https://www.rtb.cgiar.org) targets tens of millions of dollars toward crop improvement research aimed at supporting small farmers in developing countries to improve their crop production and reduce obstacles to a successful harvest. The specific objective of this project is to geographically target research and development to RTB farmers meeting a range of conditions: high poverty and problems of food insecurity, marginal environments including poor soils and subsistence agriculture, particular problems related to pests and diseases that attack these crops, among others. Business problem you solved? The RTB research program involves hundreds of scientists working in research organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies throughout the world. But only a very few of the scientists have access to geographic information for guiding their research and development activities. How can we bring geographic information science and technology to a large number of participating scientists who do not have the data, the software, or the expertise to use this information? Our solution was to develop an online, cloud-based electronic atlas aimed at supporting research and development in roots, tubers, and bananas. Using ArcGIS Online, the scientists participating in the RTB program can use geographic information science and technology – without having to store and manage data, without having to install software on their computers, and without having to have extensive knowledge of GIS software routines. Technology used for implementing and deploying your application or solution: We used ArGIS 10 Desktop with Spatial Analyst extension, ArcGIS 10 Server on-premises, ArcGIS API for Javascript, IIS web services based on .NET, and ArcGIS Online combining data on the cloud with data and applications on our local server to develop an atlas that brings together many of the map themes related to development of roots, tubers, and bananas crops. The atlas is structured to allow our participating scientists to understand the distribution of the crops and observe the spatial distribution of many of the obstacles to production of these crops. The atlas also includes an application to allow our partners to evaluate the importance of different factors when setting priorities for research and development. The application uses weighted overlay analysis within a multicriteria decision analysis framework to rate the importance of factors when establishing geographic priorities for research and development. Development team and biographies: Tunrayo Alabi is currently the GIS Research Database Manager at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Elizabeth Barona is a professional geographer and GIS Analyst-Consultant based in Miami, FL USA. David Brown is an Information Technology and GIS Specialist for Bioversity International in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Bernardo Creamer is an Agricultural Economist based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Jesus David Hoyos is a professional geographer and research assistant at CIAT. Glenn Hyman is a senior scientist at CIAT focusing on geographic dimensions of tropical agriculture. Henry Juarez is an Associate Researcher at the International Potato Center (CIP), leading the GIS lab at the Integrated IT & Computational Research Unit. Ernesto Giron is Senior GIS Analyst and Consultant in the GIS and Remote Sensing industry. Reinhard Simon is Head of the Research Informatics Unit at CIP in Lima, Peru.