Linking to the global ecosystem for open data in agriculture

Linking to the global ecosystem for open data in agriculture

The development of a government open data infrastructure does not stand on its own but is part of a global movement for open data for agriculture. Together we are building a global data ecosystem for agriculture. More and more governments and international organisations are publishing their data. It is important to link to these international initiatives to maximise reuse and impact from the data and to avoiding duplication.

A number of international organisations provide data sets with a global coverage that are used for for agriculture. Examples include:

The CIARD RING, maintained by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR):, aims to interlink all agricultural relevant data sources. The RING is a global directory of information services and datasets in agriculture, which aims to make all relevant datasets discoverable (also by machine) through one entry point and to interlink all major sources. New open data infrastructures are invited to register their services and datasets to this portal and to make use of the data sources within.

Using data standards to structure and describe datasets with similar content is necessary to make the data easily discoverable, to analyze the data in coherence with similar dataset, or to be able to interchange one dataset for another of the same sort when better data becomes available or when focussing on a different area. To facilitate the standardization of data the VEST/AgroPortal Map of Standards has been established This lists over 140 agriculture-specific vocabularies, classification schemes and metadata standards. Many of these have been developed in scientific and specialist domains to support data sharing within particular communities of practice.

Government in action 11: Linking government, farmer and international data sources, saving $3.6m in drought damage with open data.

CIAT rice scientist Edgar Torres inspects plot of high-yielding rice at the institution’s headquarters in Colombia. Photo Credit to Neil Palmer (CIAT). Source

By linking data from the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture, an association of farmers (National Federation of Rice Growers; Fedearroz) and weather and experimental data from an international research centre (Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical; CIAT) a region-specific climate-smart agricultural decision-making tool for Colombian rice growers could be developed. This tool is now openly available to anyone and actions informed by this data helped farmers avoid extreme damage from drought.

Policy area: Optimizing agricultural practice
Key data category: Weather data, agricultural practice
Location: South America