ESRI has announced that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is assisting coffee producing countries in Latin America and Africa to compete in the speciality coffees market by helping them develop ArcIMS software based marketing and certification systems. ArcIMS facilitates the distribution of GIS data and applications over the Internet. GeoCafe project systems in operation can be found at www.dominicancoffee.com and www.perucoffee.com. Funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Speciality coffee, which commands better prices than traditional blends, refers to several categories of coffee including single source, gourmet, premium, organic, shade grown, bird friendly, and fair trade. However, detailed information is required for speciality coffee certification including the exact location of coffee farms, cooperatives and mills; socioeconomic conditions; environmental and climatic data; production and milling processes; and materials and inputs used in coffee production, as well as general marketing information. Using an Internet browser, a coffee trader can consult one of the GeoCafe national systems to locate farms within a specific region and contact the local cooperatives to obtain samples.
To obtain the necessary raw data, coffee farms, cooperatives, and processing facilities are mapped with GPS devices and a variety of data is collected on each location. The data is integrated into databases that are referenced to digital maps, which contain other related information such as protected areas, forest cover, topography, hydrography, cities and towns, and river basins. This allows for the development of a variety of applications of use to several groups including coffee traders, government officials, and scientists.