AgroAtlas: Potato Map of the Future
AgroAtlas is a new website developed in tandem between Russian scientists and the USDA. As the name suggests, AgroAtlas, is a comprehensive resource for agricultural GIS data, and according to the the official USDA release:
shows the geographic distributions of 100 crops; 640 species of crop diseases, pests, and weeds; and 560 wild crop relatives growing in Russia and neighboring countries. The atlas also includes 200 maps that illustrate the environmental variables that affect crop production in that part of the world.
The website is impressive. There is a ton of data which is broken into three main categories: Crops and Wild Relatives, Harmful Objects and Environment. Then, each category is further subdivided, making it easy to find anything from a potato cultivation area to a map of mean annual air temperature’s standard deviation. To make things even better, each dataset can be downloaded as a GIS layer (RDC, RST formats) or mashed using a downloadable AgroAtlas app. Unfortunately, no web-based visualization tools are available at this point, and the downloadable version of AgroAtlas is Windows-only (major downer).
Another strong point is the website’s English version. I don’t think I have seen a Russian website where the English version was as thorough and complete. I guess this is where the partnership with the USDA really shines through.
AgroAtlas sets the bar pretty high for other Russian GIS websites. As I see it, the next logical step for them would be to integrate with GeoCommons API to make their data truly open and accessible.