The first 2009 issue of Collective Action News is just out with a main piece on the first CGIAR Research Map:  powered by CGMap and built with data contributed by scientists working in Sub Saharan Africa, the map shows ongoing CGIAR research in the region. 

A month ago if anyone wanted to get an overview of the research that the 15 international agricultural research centres of the CGIAR were doing in eastern and southern Africa it would have been a difficult, time consuming undertaking of uncertain outcome. Today, say the developers of the first ‘CGIAR research map,’ it is a matter of three clicks on the internet.  Having such information readily and easily accessible, contend the developers, doesn’t just satisfy the curiosity of information hungry browsers, it is a keystone to fostering complementary research. 

Connecting the dots: Online maps for improved access to information on agricultural research projects tells the story of how  the ICT-KM’s  CGMap project and the Regional Plan for Collective Action in Eastern and Southern Africa joined forces while facing different challenges.

The result is “an interactive and easy to navigate map, which provides a geographical overview of where research projects are carried out. To facilitate collaboration, the information provided also includes the contact address of the scientist concerned; projects are also linked to the Medium Term Plans of the relevant CGIAR Centres. In addition the map allows participating scientists to update their project information directly online and in real time”.

The CG Research Map is designed to encourage complementary research, and help build collective responses to complex challenges, while directing investments to areas that seem to hold greater promise or that have been ignored. And it is fun to navigate too!

The map is also the first example of CGMap’s potential to improve the visibility and accessibility of the CGIAR’s work. Relying on the methodology, expertise and core information accumulated so far, the CGMap team is creating mash-up prototypes to demonstrate that structured information and new web technologies can actually add value to the already valuable CGIAR research information (more about CGMap here).