Sunday, November 08, 2009

Global Soil Map Could Transform Agriculture

Image source: Soil Maps of Africa

CIAT last August published this article, which began:
An ambitious new project to digitally map soils all over the world could transform agriculture. An article in the journal Science, describes how the (GSM) initiative could help tackle pressing problems such as food insecurity, climate change and environmental degradation worldwide.

The initiative follows the launch of African Soil Information Service (AfSIS) earlier this year, which will use the latest satellite technology to produce high quality maps of Africa’s soils in order to fine-tune farming practices. GSM will use the AfSIS methodology to produce similar maps for the whole world.
Comment: Some 40 years ago, when I was working in a pattern recognition lab, we started trying to get people to recognize that computer processing of satellite remote sensing data would have important applications in agriculture.

We were of course right, but we were also naive as to the time and effort it would take to achieve those benefits. The state of the art has apparently advanced to the point that the technology can be applied even in the poor countries of Africa.


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