Generation Atlas

The Generation Atlas uses map server technology to allow users to explore opportunities for and constraints to agricultural production throughout the world. Developed for the Generation Challenge Programme, it is a comprehensive compilation of online maps and tools for researchers, students, policy analysts and others interested in crop improvement.

Though the tool focuses on GCP's target crops, target regions and target traits, all these are broad enough to ensure that the tool would be of use of researchers working to alleviate the challenges facing farmers in the world's poorest countries. GCP's original mandate crops, presented in alphabetical order are 1. barley 2. cassava 3. chickpeas 4. coconuts 5. cowpeas   6. groundnuts    7. lentils 8. maize 9. millets 10. Musa 11. Phaseolus  12. pigeonpeas 13. potatoes 14. rice 15. sorghum 16. sweet potatoes 17. wheat and 18. yams. For these crops, GCP-funded research work variously targets drought tolerance, disease resistance, phosphoros iptake efficiency, aluminium toxicity tolerance, salt tolerance, submergence tolerance, and enhanced productivity. Various farmerf and market preferred qualities have also been targeted - including aroma and stickiness in rice, and post harvest deterioration and nutritional quality in cassava.

The Generation Atlas is currently hosted by the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT - International Centre for Tropical Agriculture). Click on Generation Atlas to go the home page of this service. A brief description of each of the current tools of the Atlas follows below.For more information and assistance, contact Glenn Hyman.

The Priority Setting tool of the Atlas provides data, information, interpretation and insights on setting priorities in crop improvement programs aimed at overcoming drought and other obstacles facing farmers. It is a useful resource for planning interventions with the highest likelihood of success and impact.

The GCP Atlas tool provides maps of the Generation Challenge Programme's target crops, priority zones, constraints to production and socioeconomic characteristics.


The Farming Systems Characterisation tool ranks farming systems in terms of drought, poverty and population using the John Dixon's farming system classification. This is in recognition of the fact that crop varieties work in given agro-ecologies or farming systems, not necessarily according to geopolitical boundaries.

The Seasonal Drought Index tool provides global maps showing the seasonal march of agricultural drought throughout the growing season, enabling the researcher to determine the best time and location for field experiments.


The Drought Timing is a tool for planning cultivar trials and exploring agricultural drought, using soil and climate data to model the water balance and estimate drought probability at any site. It empowers the researcher to make informed choices on when and where to commence a trial with a view to maximizing the likelihood of subjecting the trial to the desired conditions.

The Crop Buffer tool explores the mix of crops around any user defined point and associated radius, providing data and a pie chart on cultivated area in hectares. This is useful information indicating potential opportunities for useful additional information over and above that obtainable directly from a field trial or experiment.

The Genebank Accessions tool explores the location of gene bank accessions of Generation Challenge Programme target crops in the context of crop distribution and constraints to production.

The Phenotyping Network section of the Atlas provides a map and detailed descriptions of cultivar trial sites, assembled by the Generation Challenge Program, the Africa trial sites project (, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, IITA and CIAT. This project was partly made possible through the Consortium for Spatial Information.

The Climate Similarity tool enables users to find the field trial sites with the highest probability of similarity throughout sub-Saharan Africa according to Homologue software.

The Trial Sites Business Intelligence tool makes it easier for the crop researcher to interact with the massive amounts of data on the web in ways that are powerful, informative, and valuable - by breaking down this information in an interractive way for regions, countries, specific localities within countries and  crops. The information includes climatic data.

The Data Availability section of the Atlas provides descriptions, sources and availability of the data used in each one of the Generation Atlas Applications.


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