Universität Bonn

INRES Pflanzenbau


Geospatial Open Source Hosting of Agriculture, Resource & Environmental Data


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. 

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 is that most spatial data sets:

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

The project will therefore 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. The focus of our activities is on the analysis of water use in agriculture.

Persons in charge

Stefan Siebert




Global Policy Research Institute, Purdue University (support of kickoff-meeting), other funding (in review)

Cooperating partners

Coordination: Agricultural Economics Faculty, Purdue University, West Lafayette, US


Siebert, S., M. Kummu, M. Porkka, P. Döll, N. Ramankutty, B.R. Scanlon, 2015. A global data set of the extent of irrigated land from 1900 to 2005. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19, 1521-1545. DOI:10.5194/hess-19-1521-2015.

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