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Scientists developed two new global maps to provide help in search for fresh farmland

Jan 20, 2015 17:14 IST

Scientists from International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) developed two new global maps to provide help in search for fresh farmland.

The maps were released in the third week of January 2015 in the journal Global Change Biology. It offered two types of data that experts argue is essential for the search. Now, two new global maps may provide some help in the search for fresh farmland.

The first map was created using a great deal of international and vetted crowd-sourced data, showing global cropland percentages at one kilometer resolution for the year 2005.

This data, cross-checked for accuracy and combined with pre-existing large-scale maps, created something researchers are claiming is more intergraded than anything else seen before.

A second map, based entirely off crowd-sourced data through the Geo-Wiki project, helps verify the rate of change that cropland goes through.

This map was produced after a global network of citizen scientists looked at thousands of high-resolution images of land cover to determine whether cropland was present or not in regions that likely had land back in 2005.

This can help them determine where and when cropland remained, and if it is still in use.


Current sources of information on cropland extent are not accurate enough for most applications. With the world growing increasingly warmer, the global cropland map is a low cost solution to fill this need.

However, finding this land so that it can quickly be put to use remains a challenge.

The trouble with being certain about farmland distribution is that there are not many detailed records in developing countries, especially when smaller lands often look no different that the surrounding vegetation from planes or satellites.

However, where maps agree there is cropland, there is a higher likelihood that cropland is actually present.

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