Mapping the World from Satellites: Helping Us Understand Global Food and Water Security in the Twenty-first Century

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The world population reached 8 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach 11 billion by 2100. How did the world feed itself, especially during the rapid rise in population from 2.5 billion at the end of World War II to the present? How will the world feed itself in the future? Earth Observing (EO) satellite-derived data are key to understanding, modeling, mapping, and monitoring the world’s agricultural croplands over space and time. This research, conducted under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-funded Global Food Security-Support Analysis Data (GFSAD) project, uses cutting-edge EO technologies and tools to map global agricultural croplands and their water use, with the goal of contributing to food and water security in the 21st century. Landsat and Sentinel data are the basis for the global cropland extent product at 30-meter spatial resolution (GCEP30). Other products include irrigated and rainfed agriculture, cropping intensities, and crop types at regional, continental, and global levels, along with multiple derived products such as cropland areas and associated agricultural statistics. Each dataset undergoes a thorough accuracy assessment to ensure its validity. The associated manuscript is available here.

The Landsat-derived Global Cropland Extent Product at 30 meters (GCEP30). The full-resolution image is available here

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Author Name
Prasad S. Thenkabail
Author Email