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GEOGLAM: A GEO initiative

Esri has worked with GEOGLAM to help improve this workflow by inspiring the creation of this app  built using on the Esri platform.This app provides the framework through which collaborators explore and comment on productivity of these rice, wheat, maize, and soy. Comments are synthesized and delivered to AMIS (the G20 Global Agriculture Market Information System) with the intent of stabilizing commodity price shocks by grounding estimates in earth-observed evidence. It is the only such product of its kind.


GEOGLAM is the Group on Earth Observation’s (GEO) Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative mandated and adopted by the G20, with the purpose of informing decisions and actions in agriculture through the use of coordinated and sustained Earth observations.

The goal is to strengthen the international community’s capacity to produce and disseminate relevant information on agricultural production at various scales (national, regional and global).

GEOGLAM is a ‘coordination program’, a volunteer- based community of practice made up of international and national agencies concerned with agriculture monitoring.

What do they do?

Led by head of University of Maryland Geography department Christopher Justice, and Professor Inbal Becker-Reshef, GEOGLAM leverages in-house expertise in remote sensing to create (mostly) MODIS -derived products to aid in crop outlook forecasting: monthly precipitation, temperature, and NDVI anomalies. This is the innovative part — those information products are then socialized among the regional and commodity experts to comment upon the anomalies. The experts provide commentary grounded in regional expertise, which is then synthesized into an evidence and consensus-based report of the actual status of global productivity.

Strategic linkages

World Bank: GEOGLAM data is in high demand, especially by those who focus on risk assessment, such as the World Bank’s Marc Sadler (Practice Leader of the Risk and Markets Practice of the Agriculture and Environmental Services Department). He sees the GEOGLAM data as a key input to the construction of a system to quantify the production, stocks, and flows of global commodities.

Gates Foundation: The foundation has strong ties with GEOGLAM and has carved out a role for GEOGLAM to head the crop monitoring part of the STARS project – an initiative aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through earth observation.

USDA: GEOGLAM now has an institutional linkage with the USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, thanks to the stated commitment of Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Ann Bartuska.

NASA: NASA is a strong partner to GEOGLAM, providing input data as well as funding to help pay for GEOGLAM’s full-time staff at the University of Maryland. What is in GEOGLAM’s future.