The fifteen CGIAR International Research Centers have pioneered the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) for sustainable agricultural development for more than a decade. In May 1999, they formed the Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI) which links the all of the CGIAR’s GIS/RS laboratories, and the many geospatial scientists and researchers within the CGIAR system, with scientists and institutions from around the world. Together, these laboratories, scientists and researchers constitute a formidable assemblage of technical ingenuity, scientific expertise, and practical experience in spatial analysis.
These powerful spatial technologies have become an integral part of interdisciplinary research within the CGIAR. Through linking geo-referenced data to digital maps, a whole new range of opportunities for integrating and presenting diverse information has opened to a diverse set of users to harness these technologies. Users can more readily see and understand interrelationships between, for example, urban and rural areas, markets, crop production, deforestation, and soil erosion.
The CGIAR-CSI facilitates and creates mechanisms for standardizing data sets within the CGIAR, sharing methodologies and solutions, and promoting inter-center collaborations. The Consortium also serves as a platform for joint efforts in GIS-/RS–based agricultural research at global, regional, and local levels.