Shared services

Enabling access to shared services in support of CGIAR research and its researchers

The Platform empowers CGIAR and its community to deliver on the potential of big data to bring results for smallholder agriculture. A key part of the Platform’s Convene Module strategy is to develop ambitious partnerships to facilitate collaboration and ideation and build CGIAR capacity on big data approaches.

The Platform has enabled access to shared services in support of CGIAR research. The services described below are available to all CGIAR researchers. If you would like to benefit from any of these services, please contact Jawoo Koo at

Secure sharing and transfer of large datasets

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture activated a subscription to Globus, a grid computing alliance providing tools for secure management of data. The Platform is testing Globus to determine if it can become a pan-CGIAR data infrastructure.

The subscription offers comprehensive data management capabilities for CGIAR researchers, including file sharing, easy and secure transfer of large datasets, access to cloud storage, protected data management with the setting of appropriate access permissions for sensitive data, advanced endpoint administration, and much more.

Commercial satellite imagery

CGIAR has partnered with Maxar’s DigitalGlobe to accelerate machine learning solutions for agriculture. Under the partnership, CGIAR’s geospatial scientists will mine DigitalGlobe’s 100 petabyte imagery library using machine learning and the computational power of the company’s Geospatial Big Data platform (GBDX) to create more sophisticated baseline datasets in agriculture, plan new projects and monitor crop health, crop yield and the environmental impacts of farming.

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture conducted several trainings and provided technical assistance to CGIAR researchers to make the most out of satellite imagery and the processing platform GBDX. This is allowing scientists to leverage GBDX to examine land tenure (focusing initially on India, Ethiopia and West Africa), crop yield and crop production estimation, water resource conservation in South Asia, and pest and disease monitoring to develop early interventions (focusing initially on the fall armyworm in sub-Saharan Africa).

Gridded global weather data

The Platform secured access for CGIAR researchers to validated historical global weather data from IBM The Weather Company and from aWhere.

IBM The Weather Company provided a research subscription to validated gridded global weather data and invited CGIAR researchers to be early user-validators of a new global information service centered on short term (six month) seasonal probabilistic forecasts. aWhere provides global access to a real-time and historical record of all relevant weather variables including short-term weather forecasts.

Localized, accurate weather forecast can help inform farmers on when to plant, provide warnings and recommendations for pest and disease control and even optimal times to harvest to maximize profits. Access to quality historical weather data may prove to be a key capability for backtesting predictions about agro-ecologies and farming intensification.

High-resolution population data

The Platform facilitated unfettered access for CGIAR to global gridded population LandScan™ dataset through securing a subscription with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

LandScan is a community standard for global population distribution data and is widely regarded as one of the best available population datasets. At approximately 1 km (30″ X 30″) spatial resolution, it represents an ambient population (average over 24 hours) distribution. The database is refreshed annually and, as of mid-2019, the latest dataset available is LandScan Global 2017.