Researchers with the NASA Harvest Consortium led by faculty members in the University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences have been hard at work creating the new NASA Harvest COVID-19 Dashboard to help quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agricultural production and food security around the world.
Led by co-principal investigators Dr. Mike Humber (Assistant Research Professor) and Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef (Associate Research Professor and NASA Harvest Program Director) and co-investigator Estefania Puricelli, head software developers John Keniston, Antonio Sanchez, and the Harvest Hub team located at UMD developed this publicly available web-based tool with end users in mind. The primary goal of the dashboard is to provide users with supply relevant chain information that will facilitate analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to crop production, market price volatility, food availability and rapidly evolving policy changes.
The interactive dashboard provides academics, economists, citizen scientists and any other interested analysts with access to a vast amount of agricultural-related data in the context of COVID-19. Uses for the dashboard range from comparing crop production on a national scale pre-dating the start of the pandemic to understanding the changing cost of commodity crops in agricultural markets over time. The dashboard allows users to search for datasets published by partners and affiliate institutions as well as other datasets relevant to agricultural monitoring and food security. This tool can be freely accessed from any web browser and data can be downloaded, visualized and analyzed from one convenient location.
“Understanding global food systems in terms of production, logistics, economics, and policy is and always has been a challenge. COVID-19 has highlighted how important it is to really understand the relationships between these different facets of the agricultural supply chain and a big part of that is bringing together the data,” Humber said.
“The current pandemic is the latest episode highlighting the urgent need for a global, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary food supply-chain information system. The NASA Harvest COVID-19 dashboard provides a significant step toward fulfilling this need by bringing together a range of satellite-based crop indicators alongside real-time economic data, trade & price information, food security indicators and policy information,” Becker-Reshef added. “We look forward to feedback from the community and continuing to evolve and advance this tool for supporting assessments of the complex and rapidly evolving global food supply flows.”
This story was written by Mary M. Mitkish and originally appeared on the Department of Geographical Sciences website.