Use of geo-spatial data in agriculture statistics
The integration between statistical and geospatial data is fundamental to improve the monitoring of global development outcomes. Over the last 10 years, FAO assisted around 70 countries in producing national land cover databases and crop forecasts by using Earth Observation data. FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics Division developed the Sent2Agri toolbox with the University of Louvain and the European Space Agency, a set of methods and tools to produce Earth Observation products for agriculture monitoring.
Furthermore, FAO's Statistics Division and the FAO Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) joined efforts to deliver innovative products that assist countries in filling potential gaps in data collection:
- FAOSTAT Land Cover statistics, which are fundamental to understand local, regional and planetary agricultural trends and are elaborated by processing data gathered from NASA MODIS Land Cover, and the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative and Copernicus Land Cover maps.
- FAOSTAT statistics on Drained Organic Soils, which are computed geospacially and provide estimates related to drained areas for agricultural production and the associated greenhouse emissions (drainage produces large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere).
- FAOSTAT statistics on greenhouse gas emissions from fires, which are computed geospacially from NASA MODIS information on burned areas and from thematic agro-climatic maps, through cloud computation in the Google Earth Engine platform.
Finally, the FAO'S Data Lab for Statistical Innovation is developing a new tool in collaboration with the FAO's Office of the Chief Statistician that links the use of satellite imagery to agriculture mapping and crop assessment, and which will be capable of producing estimates on agricultural production.