Agricultural Census 2012: Publishing Mashable GIS Big Data Services

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rick Mueller, USDA Washington DC, Washington, DC, United States
The 2012 Agricultural Census was released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on May 2nd 2014; published on a quinquennial basis covering all facets of American production agriculture. The Agricultural Census is a comprehensive source of uniform published agricultural data for every state and county in the US. This is the first Agricultural Census that is disseminated with web mapping services using REST APIs. USDA developed an open GIS mashable web portal that depicts over 250 maps on Crops and Plants, Economics, Farms, Livestock and Animals, and Operators. These mapping services written in JavaScript replace the traditional static maps published as the Ag Atlas. Web users can now visualize, interact, query, and download the Agricultural Census data in a means not previously discoverable. Stakeholders will now be able to leverage this data for activities such as community planning, agribusiness location suitability analytics, availability of loans/funds, service center locations and staffing, and farm programs and policies. Additional sites serving compatible mashable USDA Big Data web services are as follows: The Food Environment Atlas, The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, The Farm Program Atlas, SNAP Data System, CropScape, and VegScape. All portals use a similar data organization scheme of “Categories” and “Maps” providing interactive mashable web services for agricultural stakeholders to exploit.