Agriculture presents a trilemma. On the one hand, increased food production per capita over the last few decades has lifted millions of people out of starvation In addition, agriculture can provide renewable energy feedstocks as well as opportunities for low cost greenhouse gas abatement.

However, agricultural expansion and intensification have also driven global environmental degradation in recent decades, and its future productivity is threatened by climate change.

Defining the Challenge


  • Can these three forces be reconciled as we look to the future?
  • What are the data requirements for making informed investment, regulatory and policy decisions in the context of this trilemma?
  • How can we ensure that the information used to make such decisions is valid and fit for the job at hand?


The Problem

Most spatial datasets

  • are regional or national, not global; while many of the problems are global in scope;
  • are not practically accessible;
  • require specialized IT knowledge; and
  • are incompatible.


The Proposed Solution

Develop a consistent, open-source, spatially explicit global data set, along with regional companions on agriculture, resources, and the environment that is maintained by a network of research nodes.