Photo Credit: Kris Krüg /

Each year Esri brings people together from all over the world who share a common interest - to make the world a better place through maps. This year’s Esri User Conference gathered over 16,000 participants in San Diego, California, including 14 representatives* from the CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI) and HarvestChoice. Participants shared their stories of where with the help of technological innovation in digital mapping, big data, remote sensing, and GIS.

Members of CGIAR-CSI and HarvestChoice understand the power of geography and imagery for visualizing the extent of agriculture’s impact, the biophysical constraints, as well as the possibilities for positive impact. Within this context, we participated with the Roots, Tubers, and Bananas team (RTB) to showcase our work in a series of presentations on crop distribution, and abiotic and biotic constraints to production of roots, tubers and bananas.

HarvestChoice also presented its capacity for generating knowledge products designed to help guide investments in agricultural development. Naturally this included a treatment of our flagship tool, Mappr. Mappr allows users to tap into our core collection of over 650 spatially-explicit layers of biophysical, agricultural, socio-economic, and market access data. In addition, users can craft their own stories through maps, charts, and tables and grab data for their own analyses through our open API; all for the purpose of making better choices in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mappr makes use of the latest state-of-the-art Esri technologies like ArcGIS REST API and geoprocessing services to summarize agriculturally-related variables by, for example, agro-ecological zones, farming systems, or by travel time and distance to markets.

As always, this year Esri hosted an elite league of presentations that inspired us. Among these our favorites included:

Once again, Esri united the planet's biggest 'GeoGeeks' to showcase the power of where, who, like HarvestChoice, “believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future”. Nothing nerdy about that. We wonder what new technological innovations will happen by next year's conference and the stories they will help reveal.

Photo by Henry Juares, CIP

(Photo courtesy of Henry Juárez / CIP)

*Members of the Consortium of Spatial Information across seven CGIAR Research Centers who attended the Esri conference (pictured above, left to right): Ulrike Wood-Sichra and Maria Comanescu, HarvestChoice / IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute); David Brown, Bioversity; Kai Sonder, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center); Elizabeth Barona, CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture); Kiran Chandrasekharan and Ameer Rajah IWMI (International Water Management Institute); Silvia Elena Castaño, Glenn Graham Hyman, Ernesto Girón, Jorge Cardona, CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture); and Henry Juárez, CIP (International Potato Center). Missing from photo: Tunrayo Alabi, IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture); Bernardo Creamer, CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture).


HarvestChoice, 2014. "HarvestChoice and Esri: Bonded by Landscapes." International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC., and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available online at

Jul 31, 2014