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Using GIS to Predict and Prevent Food Crises

Using GIS to Predict and Prevent Food Crises

The GIS industry is a very interesting one with many uses being demonstrated. A majority of them are designed to help the GIS professionals and related companies discover the different characteristics for both scientific and commercial purposes, but some of these applications can also be used for a humanitarian purpose.

For example, a mobile app has been created to help individuals contact their psychiatrist or therapist in just a matter of a few seconds in case he or she needs help.

To determine high concentrations of mental illness, scientists are using field imagery to determine which cities and towns in the United States are in the most need for a strategy.  Once the data has been collected, strategies can be executed regarding how to effectively assist these individuals.

Now, these same principles are being used to help those areas around the world who are seeing high levels of food crises (such as hunger and poverty). NASA is the lead agency responsible for launching such efforts.  NASA can track rainfall, moisture, temperature patterns, and a variety of other factors that can lead to shortages in crops, which can lead to higher demand and price for what’s left over.  This decline in crop production can cause local farm shortages which can affect local communities, regional areas and more. It’s also worth stating there are also other GIS vendors, such as Descartes Labs, who can get involved.

Referencing a Press Release last week:

“According to the World Bank, the world is about to lose 25% of its crop yields to climate change. Even with enhanced food production methods designed to meet the demands of food security, there will still not be enough in impacted areas. But what if we could predict shortages around the world with enough lead time to manage a lifesaving response?”


It should be noted that this project just initiated. To start the efforts, NASA just purchased a GIS Data Warehousing Platform from a group of smaller agencies, and Descartes is focused on using satellite imagery using a technique called “Deep Machine Learning.”

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 6,000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

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Valerie Stephen