Indexed approaches: FAO’s concept 

1. Monitoring of Crops, Rangeland and Food Security at National Level






Objectives of the course:

  • Obtaining skills in using satellite images for monitoring of vegetation development
  • Capability to use the WinDisp software
  • Learning to interprete the products with regard to food security





A food security early warning system aims to provide reliable and timely information to national level decision makers in order to enable decision making on possible short term interventions and to adjust long term planning.



Remote sensing in combination with a GIS database can be a useful tool for monitoring aspects of food production and environmental changes. Especially satellites with a high temporal resolution, such as NOAA and METEOSAT are most valuable for a "Food Security Early Warning system". This system can be used to relate the monitoring products to other available information, such as biophysical and socio-economic information to assess the impact of changes in production.



In this demo use will be made of a software package, called WinDisp specifically designed for displaying, processing and analysis of large time series of meteorological satellite images. The software creates products that can provide information for monitoring and early warning of large semi-arid to semi-humid regions.

WinDisp is a freely distributed software package that can freely be downloaded from the Internet. In the demo Vegetation Index images from the NOAA satellite will be used as well as rainfall estimate images. For the whole of Africa and for some parts of South America and Asia these NOAA images are also freely available on the Internet. In addition Rainfall Estimate images for the whole African continent are available. Other related datasets, such as maps and tables can also be displayed and analyzed in WinDisp.


Amongst others, below some of the products are listed that can be prepared using WinDisp:

  • Early crop yield estimation, appr. 2 months before harvest
  • Identification of areas with other than normal vegetation development
  • Identification of drought risk areas (water use efficiency)
  • Information on increasing or decreasing desertification
  • Assessment of growing season quality (length, rainfall distribution)
  • Timely identification of favourable conditions for diseases
  • Identification of vulnerable areas (coeff. of variance)


You can now start with section W 2, entitled Display and Examination of Vegetation Index and Rainfall Estimate Images