CropScape: Agricultural Data Portal and Analysis
As we explain in our book, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, agriculture data is available in an increasing number of formats and portals. One of these portals and an extremely useful one is called CropScape. CropScape hosts the Cropland Data Layer (CDL), a raster geo-referenced land cover data product created annually for the continental USA using moderate resolution satellite imagery but also extensive agricultural ground truthing.
CropScape allows the data user to browse crop data spatially and temporally from 1997 each year to the present. Tools include the ability to swipe images of two different years in the map panel, the ability to access agricultural census data by county, and identify crops at individual pixels. But probably most importantly, CropScape allows the data user to download crop data in a Geotiff format for any customized area of interest. The data set is also available each year back to 2008 as a zip file for the entire USA. This data set is over 1 GB in size. Statistics range from grapes to pumpkins and much more, but the primary focus is on large area summer crops such as wheat and corn. The spatial resolution is 30 meters. The interface is fairly intuitive but if additional assistance is needed, an extensive FAQ exists.
As we discuss in our book, a great many well-intentioned data portals exist, but many are not designed with the data analyst in mind. CropScape is definitely designed from the data and GIS analyst’s perspective, which is welcome given the importance of and need for agricultural data.