Knowing where agricultural land is located is crucial for regional and global food security planning, and information on field size offers valuable insight into local economic conditions.
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) developed new maps using a hybridization of multiple data sources contributed by many other institutes and organizations, combined with crowdsourcing validation data where volunteers used high-resolution data to check the accuracy of larger-scale maps.
For instance this map focussing on Uruguay shows crop suitability in the timeframe 2011 – 2040. Local climate, soil and topography determine the available energy, water and nutrient supply for agricultural crops and thus their natural suitability.
The following data were applied: daily data for temperature, precipitation and solar radiation , soil data such as texture, proportion of coarse fragments and gypsum, base saturation, pH content, organic carbon content, salinity, sodicity.
See for further info: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/150116-Cropland-Maps.html