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Develop improved systems of natural resource management by using spatial information regarding risks and opportunities at different scales.

For further information contact: GIS Communications
Last Update: 18 February 2008

A System of Drought Insurance for Poverty Alleviation in Rural Areas

This CIAT project, supported by the German Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) and the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), with the collaboration of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), studied the feasibility of a practical method of drought insurance that is self-sustaining and ready for use by poor farmers, NGOs, or other development organizations. Although insurance is widely used by farmers in developed countries to protect them against weather risk, weather insurance has rarely been offered to poor smallholder farmers in developing countries. In the case of drought, insurance works by encapsulating the best available scientific estimate of drought probability at a site within a single number-the insurance premium. The premium allows insurers to offer insurance to insurable parties in a transparent risk-sharing agreement.

A weather insurance was accordingly developed for drybean farmers in Nicaragua, involving a methodology to establish the causal relation between insured weather event and crop loss in the absence of actual weather and yield data. The method coupled generated weather data to crop simulation and consisted of three stages: generation of weather data, relying on the weather generator MarkSim; simulation of crop yields using the generated weather data; and estimation of the minimum water (rainfall) needs of the crop at fixed intervals during its growth and development.

A sample weather insurance contract was proposed based on the rainfall-deficit index developed based on minimum rainfall requirements for 10-day periods throughout the growing season. Consultation with farmers also provided valuable feedback on administrative and operational aspects of the scheme. Hence, the work described in this report provides the scientific tools that allow the expansion of micro-finance and insurance to people who have hitherto been denied them.

Download the document (2.25 Mb)

Release of the Most-Detailed Map of the World’s Rivers

The Land Use Project has been involved in a WWF-led initiative to map global rivers and watersheds, called HydroSHEDS. This data is now being released for Latin America, with Asia and Africa to follow shortly, providing unrivaled information on the hydrology of the earth. HydroSHEDS uses high-resolution topographic data to model flow directions and flow accumulations, resulting in detailed data on river networks and catchment boundaries. The CIAT Land Use Project provided the project with its hole-filled SRTM topographic data.

The release of HydroSHEDS will give researchers and watershed managers detailed data and maps on catchments for any given region. When coupled with hydrological models, this will permit an intimate understanding of the hydrological processes occurring within regions. Ultimately, it is hoped that the use of HydroSHEDS will contribute to improved management and conservation of water resources and aquatic ecosystems

More Info - HydroSHEDS Information Flyer (6.77 Kb)

Contact: Andy Jarvis

Diversification Agriculture Project Alliance (DAPA) in Latin America

Small-scale coffee growers in the mountains of southern Colombia are capable farmers. They dream of better ways of growing their coffee and profiting from the increasing demand for specialty products. Thomas Oberthür explains how farmers, scientists, food processors and retailers are working together to develop high-quality that will fetch high market prices.

Read more in the last issue of ICT Update of Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

The Geographic Dimensions of Poverty and Food Security

Food PolicyA special double-issue of the journal Food Policy presents nine studies on the geographic dimensions of poverty and food security in developing countries. The initiative, led by the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), is part of broader efforts by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to target research and development on the most vulnerable of the poor and food insecure. The studies demonstrate the integration of environmental, economic, and spatial information using geographic information science and technology.

More information

Contact: Glenn Hyman

Geographic Information Now On-line

SRTM 90 m Elevation Data for Colombia

The SRTM 90 m elevation data for Colombia and each department is now on-line.

More Info: SRTM 90 m elevation data

Download Data

Contact: Andy Jarvis

The Latin American and Caribbean Population Database

These digital maps are based on population totals from the region's 18,300+ administrative units.

See the Web site in English or in Spanish.


The Mitch Atlas

This atlas details the agriculture, natural resources, and socioeconomics of Honduras. Originally available on compact disk, this information was consolidated as part of CIAT's support of relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

See the Web site in English or in Spanish.

Rural Sustainability Indicators for Central America

An aid for improving policy and decision making on sustainable land and environmental management in the region.

See the Web site in English or in Spanish.

These maps can be directly imported into standard geographic information systems software.

Contact: Glenn Hyman

For more information on Geographic Information Systems, visit the Land Use Project Web site.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Population Database Updated, Version 3.

CIAT and partners completed the third version of their population database for Latin America and the Caribbean in March 2005. This web site presents the results of that effort, including digital maps available for download and new documentation reflecting the latest additions and updates to the database. The new version now contains population data from over 18,300 administrative units in the region. New population totals from recent censuses were incorporated for more than 20 countries. The population distributions were estimated using improved spatial data. This initiative is part of continuing efforts to improve the capacity to understand the geographic dimensions of population in Latin America and the Caribbean.

More Info

Using Spatial Analysis Tools for Conserving Forages in the Field

A new online article describes the use of spatial analysis tools for identifying potential areas where forage species can be conserved in the field.

This novel approach used FloraMap™ and DIVA-GIS in disturbed environments of Latin America. The paper, published in Ecology and Society, also discussed the possibilities of establishing low-maintenance plant communities and the potential dangers of exotic weeds. Further studies of genetic drift in forage populations would not only be scientifically valuable but would also help identify useful genotypes for local use.

The study was an interdisciplinary effort by CIAT's projects on forages and land use.

Peters M; Hyman G; Jones P. 2004. Identifying areas for field conservation of forages in Latin American disturbed environments. Ecol Soc 10(1).

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High Value Diversification in Coffee Zones Workshop

The "High Value Diversification in Coffee Zones" Workshop was realized from February 21st until February 25th, 2005 at CIAT in Cali, Colombia. The workshop was oriented toward project coordinators, research partners, representatives of educational institutions, and associations of coffee producers, dealers, and consumers.

This workshop offered an opportunity to define the Projects research development process, the activities to be carried out, and budgetary execution.

Attach you can find the information about the agenda and the list of participants of the workshop. There is also a CD available including the Power Point presentations from different workshop participants. This presentations can be downloaded from Downloads section.

If you wish we can send you a CD by email.

For more detailed information, see the section "Workshop & Fieldtrip Outline"

Global High-resolution Topography Data Available

With the release of the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) topography data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) a new era of spatial analysis is upon us. Topography is a fundamental factor in defining water availability, local climate, soil type, and light receipt, and is therefore a key factor in any agricultural or environmental spatial research. The Land Use Project has just finished processing the data for Asia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, Europe, and North America, and is offering these data upon request for institutions or projects involved in international development. We have also made some preliminary analyses of data quality within the context of the tropics, showing that the SRTM data are potentially of great value to globalizing site-specific research. Further information is available in our SRTM 90 m elevation data Web page.

Contact: Andy Jarvis

Study on Impact of Global Climate Change

In an article published in the journal Global Environmental Change, CIAT scientist Peter Jones and Phil Thornton of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), forecast that climate change could lead to a 10 percent drop in maize production over the next 50 years in Africa and Latin America. Their findings are based on results from a CIAT computer tool called MarkSimTM, which simulates site-specific daily weather for risk assessment, based on data collected by thousands of weather stations around the world.

For further details, see the article in Nature magazine's on-line "Science Update," the Future Harvest news feature, and the background article in our annual report, CIAT in Perspective.

To order a copy of MarkSimTM on CD-ROM, see our product catalog.

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Related Web Sites
CIAT Geonetwork
Homologue TM
Land in Tropical America
The CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information Network (CSI)
Central American Geographic Information Project (PROCIG)
Environmental and Sustainability Indicators
Accessibility Analyst
Vulnerability to Natural Disasters in Honduras (in Spanish)
Cross Scale
Dynamic Mapping of Food Security Problems in Ecuador
(in Spanish)
Theme 2: Water and People in catchments
Enabling efficient and equitable water use,
Challenge Program on Water and Food
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Latin American and Caribbean Population
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(in Spanish)
CIAT in Focus
GIS : A Window on Tropical Agriculture and Natural Resources, a background document

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