“Volevi la bicicletta, ora pedala!”  This Italian saying, translated as “You wanted a bicycle, so get pedaling”, can describe situations where we have a goal to meet or decision to make that can only be realized if we get on with taking the required action.

The goal of CGMap is to make CGIAR research projects fully accessible and available.  So we’ve continued ‘pedaling’ towards this fundamental goal in order to open new paths to accessing our research project factsheets.

The key to systematically making information available and exchangeable is what we call Syntactic Interoperability, the underlying concept behind RSS feeds, SQL databases, and Web Services.  CGMap is no stranger to interoperability, as it was born to receive data via XML from a completely different system.

cgmap2.0Today, we are releasing a new version of CGMap, CGMap 2.0, that completely opens the access to new and improved project factsheets, giving donors, researchers, partners, and search engines, as well as systems and Web sites catering to them, direct access to CGIAR research projects.




In this release:

  • Sitemaps:  Search engines can use our sitemaps to index research project factsheets; systems and Web sites can use the sitemaps to list and link to factsheets as applicable (for example, by CGIAR Center/Challenge Program, time period, project code);
  • Improved project factsheets:  The new factsheets provide details of the planned outputs of the project, thereby providing a clear window into the ‘What, Where, and When’ details of the research. The factsheets have a simpler visualization of the project Overview and Rationale, Outputs, and Financial Tables, so that navigating or printing a project factsheet is much easier. Also, the factsheets can be bookmarked and directly linked to, so any applicable circumstance is possible (for example, a link from a Center/Challenge Program’s Web site, a bookmark in a researcher’s browser, or a link from a partner’s project Web page).

So don’t be surprised if you are searching the Web for, say, chickpea research in India, and you find the factsheet ICRISAT-6: Producing more and better food at lower cost from staple open-pollinated cereals and legumes in the Asian SAT (sorghum, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnut) through genetic improvements.

“Volevi la bicicletta, ora pedala!”  This Italian saying, translated as “You wanted a bicycle, so get to pedaling”, can describe situations where we have a goal to meet or decision to make that can only be realized if we get on with taking the required action.

The goal of CGMap is to make CGIAR research projects fully accessible and available.  So we’ve continued ‘pedaling’ towards this fundamental goal in order to open new paths to accessing our research project factsheets.
The key to systematically making information available and exchangeable is what we call Syntactic Interoperability, the underlying concept behind RSS feeds, SQL databases, and Web Services. CGMap is no stranger to interoperability, as it was born to receive data via XML from a completely different system.
Today, we are releasing a new version of CGMap, CGMap 2.0, that completely opens the access to new and improved project factsheets, giving  donors, researchers, partners, and search engines, as well as systems and Web sites catering to them, direct access to CGIAR research projects.
In this release:
  • Sitemaps:  Search engines can use our sitemaps to index research project factsheets; systems and Web sites can use the sitemaps to list and link to factsheets as applicable (for example, by CGIAR Center/Challenge Program, time period, project code);
  • Improved project factsheets: The new factsheets provide details of the planned outputs of the project, thereby providing a clear window into the ‘What, Where, and When’ details of the research. The factsheets have a simpler visualization of the project Overview and Rationale, Outputs, and Financial Tables, so that navigating or printing a project factsheet is much easier.  Also, the factsheets can be bookmarked and directly linked to, so any applicable circumstance is possible (for example, a link from a Center/Challenge Program’s Web site, a bookmark in a researcher’s browser, or a link from a partner’s project Web page).

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Three CGIAR-related blogs we’ve come across recently:

Rural Climate Exchange: Connecting agricultural and environmental science to the climate change agenda

The Centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and their partners generate a wealth of knowledge that can better enable rural people in developing countries to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. The purpose of this blog is to help bring such knowledge to light, so it can better serve global efforts to cope with climate change.

Crop Genebank Knowledge Base Blog: this is the blog of the Crop Genebank Knowledge Base promoted by the Systemwide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP).

The Regional Plan in Eastern and Southern Africa Blog: last but not least, the blog of the CGIAR Regional Plan for Collective Action in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The Regional Plan in eastern and southern Africa, is the evolving, collaborative program of a network of the fifteen CGIAR Centers with Sub-Regional Organizations, FARA, regional networks and voluntary partners primarily from national agricultural institutes and universities that aims to add value to ongoing agricultural research in eastern and southern Africa.

Our colleagues at the ESA Regional Plan have recently published two reports based on the data collected in the CGIAR Research Map in Africa, powered by CGMap and based on the Google engine behind the system:

By the way, the CGIAR Research Map in Africa was selected as one of the top ten entries in the 2009 Science Forum Poster Competition on the theme “ICTs:  Enabling Agricultural Science to Be a Social Endeavour”. Check the announcement on the GFAR Website.

Special thanks to Simone Staiger and Evelyn Katingi for sharing the good news.

What else is out there? Post a comment and let us all know!

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).