Photo Credit: Neil Palmer / CIAT

From mapping crop distribution, production, biophysical indicators, and poverty rates, to mapping projects. HarvestChoice seemingly maps it all if it happens in Africa South of the Sahara, both from the farmer’s point of view and the practitioner’s. Thanks to Spatial Development International, an IT company based in Seattle (WA) specializing in web-based spatial data tools, and HarvestChoice, it is now possible to map the locations of a project and overlay with a mixture of available fine resolution spatial data from HarvestChoice. The Project Mapping and Monitoring Tool (PMMT) eases the task of project management and monitoring without renouncing sophisticated mapping technology.

The PMMT, tailored to one of the Feed the Future (FTF) agricultural projects but easily customizable for any type of project, is ultimately intended to help project managers, practitioners, and researchers improve strategies and partnerships for greater impact of their work by understanding where and how project activities are taking place. The features and functions of the PMMT are designed to provide the following benefits:

  • Inform strategic and project management decisions. The PMMT can help inform decisions by detailing geographic information about project sites, location of markets, related projects and partners, travel time, annual precipitation, or maize yields.
  • Communicate programmatic projects to key stakeholders. A primary benefit to users of the PMMT is the ability to view the spatial layout of project activities relative to the geographic context. Users have the ability to add and then visualize information and data of their projects to the PMMT database in a variety of ways.
  • Understand how programmatic efforts relate to other projects as well as to external agricultural information. Users have the ability to browse and map other projects alone as well as alongside their own projects. This functionality provides the framework for multiple organizations to communicate together in an integrated manner.

The PMMT is composed of two functional modules which perform specific and complementary functions:

  • Mapping application, allowing all users to contextualize where project activities are taking place and view the associated information and data
  • Data entry application, allowing authorized users to add additional data (a set of monitoring indicators, for example, such as in the case of FTF projects) to the PMMT through an intuitive, step-by-step interface

The PMMT enables users to locate action sites, produce maps, and enter new project reporting data:

  • Explore Projects. Browse and filter projects spatially on both an interactive and a static summary map, as well as in a tabular list view
    • Filter by region, country, district, partner, and target technology
    • Navigate by panning and zooming the map
  • View Context. Add many different layers to the map view
    • Map overlays with contextual (e.g. population, crop production) layers
    • Site locations and related content with contacts, ancillary datasets, project information
    • Reference layers to change base maps, add region and/or district administrative boundaries
  • Enter Monitoring Data. Update indicator measures online
    • FtF indicators (programmatic indicators for project sites)
    • Custom indicators specific to a project site
  • Export Data. Export maps and data to work with offline
    • Map application, exporting a map image (with a legend )
    • Data entry/reporting module, exporting an image or a .csv data report file covering all years and indicators

For our users, there are two help resources available through the PMMT: the user guide and video tutorial (accessible from anywhere in the system). There is also a Feedback link, allowing comments or questions related to PMMT data, suggested features, and inform the development team of any possible glitches.

Since we at HarvestChoice prefer a hands-on approach, we hope you will give the tool a whirl and, once you get familiar with it, impress your colleagues at the next meeting with cutting edge mapping and monitoring techniques. The temporary URL of the tool is:, stay tuned for updates!

Tags: Mapping


HarvestChoice, 2014. "Monitoring and Mapping: Now Possible with the Project Mapping and Monitoring Tool." International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC., and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available online at

Oct 6, 2014