Esri and Vital Signs Launch Partnership, Pairing Technology and Science to Map, Track Critical Services from Nature to Africa's Farmers

7/9/2013

Vital Signs will use Esri technology to visually communicate data that shed new light on the benefits farmers receive from nature and agriculture in Africa

Redlands, California/Arlington, Va. USA – Vital Signs, a monitoring system for agriculture, ecosystems and human well-being, announced Esri as its first corporate partner today at the annual International User Conference for the geographic information systems (GIS) software developer. Vital Signs will use Esri applications and software to help policy-makers visualize outcomes of different agricultural decisions as part of the monitoring system’s online indicators of sustainability. 

 
“Feeding the growing world population will require a 70-100% increase in food production through agricultural intensification, but no country can achieve this goal if it doesn’t also work to sustain nature – the healthy soils, pollinators, fresh water and forests on which farmers​​ depend,” said Dr. Sandy Andelman, Vital Signs Executive Director and Senior Vice President of the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans at Conservation International. “The foundation of Vital Signs is providing open-access information at all the scales that are relevant for agricultural decision-making – from a smallholder farmer household to a farm plot, landscape, region, and all the way to the globe.” 

 
Esri will provide Vital Signs with landscape analysis tools and help design a dashboard for users to assess tradeoffs and monitor a decision’s impact on the land and farmer’s livelihoods. These tools will enable them to establish baselines, set targets, and monitor the progress of sustainable policies within the five countries that Vital Signs currently works – Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

 
“Monitoring the complexity of Earth’s many ecosystems requires active networks of people, science, data, and technology,” said Jack Dangermond, president and CEO of Esri. “However, actually living in sustainable relationships with these ecosystems requires people who are willing to collaborate and commit to a healthy planet. Conservation International is a standard of these values. It is an honor for Esri to work with its staff to build the Vital Signs system.”

 
Vital Signs was launched in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Conservation International (CI). The monitoring system is co-led by CI, the Earth Institute, Columbia University (EI), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa (CSIR). Vital Signs will collaborate and partner with governments, other nongovernmental organizations, the academic community, the private sector and key international partners. Esri’s contributions of its GIS cloud services, software, and expertise to Vital Signs will help policy makers in Africa and around the world make informed decisions about pursuing agricultural intensification sustainably. 

 
A longtime customer of Esri software, Conservation International uses ArcGIS to collect and map data for its many projects throughout the world.

 
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For more information, contact:
Kevin Connor, Media Manager, Conservation International 
Office +1 703 341 2405/ mobile +1 571 232 0455/ email kconnor@conservation.org 

 
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About Vital Signs – Launched in 2012 with a three-year $10 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vital Signs is an integrated monitoring system starting in Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique,  where agricultural intensification is targeted to meet the needs of Africa's growing population. Vital Signs is co-led by CI, the Earth Institute, Columbia University (EI), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa (CSIR). Vital Signs provides integrated measurements of agriculture, ecosystem services and human well-being by pooling near real-time, multi-scale data into an open-access online dashboard that policy makers can freely use and customize for smart decision making. Vital Signs will quantify sustainability and provide analytical tools to evaluate risks and tradeoffs among agricultural development, ecosystem health and human well-being outcomes. The system provides an evidence-based mechanism for establishing baselines, setting targets and monitoring progress. For more information, please visit:  www.conservation.org/vitalsigns or www.vitalsigns.org​.​

 
About Esri – Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at esri.com/news. 

 
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About Conservation International (CI) – Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and its global biodiversity to promote the long-term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. CI employs more than 800 staff in nearly 20+ countries on four continents and works with more than 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please see www.conservation.org or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.