GEO 2017-2019 Work Programme


Geo Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM)

Activity ID: 129


GEOGLAM, the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring initiative, was initially launched by the Group of Twenty (G20) Agriculture Ministers in June 2011, in Paris. The initiative forms part of the G20 Action Plan on Food Price Volatility, which also includes the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS,, another inter-institutional initiative with a Secretariat hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The G20 Ministerial Declaration states that GEOGLAM “will strengthen global agricultural monitoring by improving the use of remote sensing tools for crop production projections and weather forecasting”.

The main objective of GEOGLAM is to reinforce the international community’s capacity to produce and disseminate relevant, timely and accurate projections of agricultural production at national, regional and global scales by using Earth Observation data. This will be achieved by:

  • establishing a sustained international network of agricultural monitoring and research organisations and practitioners;
  • harmonizing the operational global agricultural monitoring systems based on both satellite and in-situ observations, including through improved coordination of satellite observations.
  • enhancing national agricultural reporting systems,

Activities for the period

  • Monthly delivery of the operational Crop Monitor for the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) since September 2013 – monthly coordination of evidence-based consensus building amongst newly and well-established global, regional, and national monitoring systems;
  • Successful development and deployment of the operational Crop Monitor for Early Warning, with first monthly publication on 5th February 2016, result of collaboration amongst multiple well-established groups monitoring countries at risk;
  • Growth of a regional Asia-RiCE initiative geared toward strengthening methods and developing national capacity for rice crop monitoring, under Japanese leadership supported by France/ESA in cooperation with ASEAN framework;
  • Initiation and development of a Rangeland and Pasture Productivity (RAPP) activity aiming to establish a system to monitor the condition of global grazing lands and their ability to sustain animal protein production (RAPP Map:, while building on a Community of Practice (~ 10 pilot countries) under Australian leadership;
  • Prototyping of a crop information system in Tanzania (in partnership with the MAFC National Food Security Office - NFSO) and in Uganda, funded by the Gates Foundation;
  • Start of national crop monitoring demonstrations based on Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 in producer and food secure countries in Ukraine, Mali and South Africa, funded by ESA;
  • Development of EO-based products aiming at individual farmers in developing countries by projects of the G4AW programme (Geodata for Agriculture and Water), led by Netherlands space office;
  • Monitoring of rice crop using satellite remote sensing (Sentinel 1, Sentinel 2 and SPOT Pleiades imagery) and GIS technologies in Northern and Eastern Afghanistan (FAO-DDNS). Rice crop area estimation /area frame and rice crop mask is being developed for selected provinces;
  • Curricula and E-learning courses related to geospatial information and technology for agriculture monitoring and statistics, and environment impact assessment are being developed from FAO-DDNS, Bologna University and Twente University (under Pakistan Agriculture Monitoring and SIGMA Project);
  • As partner of the Sentinel-2 for Agriculture project, the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is testing the use of Sentinel-2 satellite images to estimate wheat area and yield for the 2016 crop season;
  • FAO-DDNS is testing Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 data with aim to develop sustainable methods and tools for crop area and yield estimation in Iran.

Policy mandate

GEOGLAM has a clear political mandate as it has been launched by the G20 in 2011, together with the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS). And GEOGLAM has been recently re-endorsed, in June 2016, during the meeting of the G20Ministries of Agriculture, in Xi’an (China).

And a proof that the Crop Monitor for AMIS is delivering what was expected can be found in the decision taken by the AMIS Secretariat in May 2016 to invite GEOGLAM to become its eleventh member, together with institutions such as FAO, World Bank, or OECD.

User engagement

User communities are already benefitting from GEOGLAM activities:

  • The national and regional agricultural statistical systems community in developed countries with EO-based monitoring systems fully integrated in existing agricultural statistical systems, and where developments linked to new satellite data or new processing methods are regularly implemented; in developed countries not fully taking benefits of EO-based monitoring systems; and in developing countries, where EO-based monitoring systems could play a significant role in improving existing agricultural statistics and crop production assessments using outlook, which have been assessed as having strongly declined in the two or three last decades (cf. FAO-led Global Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Statistics);
  • The Research and Development community, sharing science and benefitting from new EO data and methods, such as those currently being developed for the recently launched Sentinel satellites to develop best practices adapted to specific agro-ecosystems (e.g. in the Sahel, with small fields with irregular limits, mixed crops, presence of trees…), rice crop outlook using Agro-meteorological information derived from EO data such as GCOM-W, GPM, Himawari, MODIS  (e.g. in ASEAN, monthly rice crop outlook), or rangeland condition through the Vegetation Fractional Cover product derived from the Landsat and MODIS sensors;
  • The Capacity Development community, working with the research community, to transfer knowledge to operational capacities, in particular in developing countries;
  • The Aid agencies, which need information on growing conditions in food insecure countries to decide when and where to intervene (cf. rice crop production information collection using ALOS-2 and other satellite data by Asia Development Bank regional capacity development technical assistance project);
  • The private sector, from farmers to commodity traders, for which information on existing growing conditions are useful to manage their stocks, and buy and sell at best prices. The livestock sector is one of the key RAPP end-users when they can get information on rangeland and pasture condition which can be used to better manage grazing;
  • The insurance companies, that offer products aiming at covering the risks of food crop or cattle losses in particular due to climate extremes, and which have already used or could use EO information to assess the level of damages and provide weather index insurance.


  • Monthly delivery of the Crop Monitor for AMIS (since September 2013);
  • Monthly delivery of the Crop Monitor for Early Warning (since February 2016);
  • Development of the Asia-RiCE programme, for rice monitoring in Asia (data set requirements, SAR/Optical rice crop production information and monthly delivery of rice crop outlook);
  • Development of JECAM activities (Minimum data set requirements, Cross-site SAR experiment);
  • Development of the Rangeland and Pasture Productivity (RAPP) initiative (including the RAPP Map, the Vegetation Cover Anomaly monthly distributed on, and discussions around EO data requirements and modelling activities);
  • Development and on-line publishing of the new GEOGLAM website (

Future plans

  • Find new resources for the GEOGLAM Secretariat (full- or part-time secondments, funding of coordination activities…);
  • Expand participation to the Crop Monitor for Early Warning, and for RAPP;
  • Continue the development of the Asia–RiCE programme (cf. GEO-Rice, funded by ESA);
  • Continue the development of the RAPP initiative;
  • Increase the Capacity Development community on agriculture monitoring based on EO technology (Curricula, E-learning, regional/sub-regional workshops and Seminars).


The direct funding of the GEOGLAM Secretariat was assessed as US $450.000 per year  and the mean yearly indirect funding (i.e. the sum of the various national funding implemented by national programs and contributing to GEOGLAM) as US $6.000.000 (2015 basis). The in-kind contributions by the Community of Practice (on their own funding) were estimated to be circa $2.000.000. These latter two categories’ figures are not easily estimated and are probably under-estimated (to avoid double counting).

Project secretariat and supporting organization

The GEOGLAM Secretariat is presently composed of three persons:

The GEOGLAM Secretariat works closely with the GEOGLAM Implementation Team (IT), composed of the co-leads of each of the main GEOGLAM components, and also coordinates EO data requirements with CEOS. The GEOGLAM IT holds regular teleconferences (about once a month) and meets at least once a year, generally during a side-meeting of another meeting to which many GEOGLAM partners already participate (an international conference such as IGARSS or an international research project meeting with many European and non-European partners; cf. JECAM-SIGMA-Sen2-Agri joint meetings in Kiev, October 2016). Regional and national meetings / conference related to GEOGLAM are also held by IT members (such as Asia Rice crop team meetings, RAPP workshops, etc.)


GEOGLAM now has more than 300 members and keeps growing. Among its members are UN agencies, recognized programmes (international, national or regional), academic departments, research centres, institutions that have R&D and operational mandates in agriculture, space agencies, regional organizations and members of the private sector. The list includes:

Members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, EC, France, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, USA.

Participating Organizations: FAO, RCMRD, WMO.

Others: Asia-RiCE team (Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam) and AFSIS (ASEAN+3 Food Security Information project); AGRHYMET; Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS); International Research Centres such as IRRI (Rice), ILRI (Livestock), ICRISAT (Semi-arid tropics), CIMMYT (Maize, Wheat), IFPRI (Policy Research) all belonging to the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) network; Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS); Southern African Development Community (SADC); World Food Programme (WFP).

Linkages across the Work Programme

Initiatives: AfriGEOSS; AmeriGEOSS; Earth Observations in Service of the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development; GEOGLOWS.

Leadership & Contributors (this list is being populated)




Implementing Entity



Inbal Becker-Reshef

United States



Alyssa Whitcraft

United States



Ian Jarvis

GEO Secretariat



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