Data Access

Access data produced by the LTAR Network

LTAR Data Inventory

The purpose of the LTAR Data Inventory is to make the data from all 18 LTAR sites discoverable and describe and create metadata about the data to facilitate data sharing, as well as accessibility, interoperability (i.e. machine readable), and reusability (i.e. cross-site analysis) for the LTAR network and the greater public. The LTAR Data Inventory will enhance data discoverability and data sharing across the network by creating a controlled vocabulary of categories and variable names that describe LTAR data.  The data inventory table is available via Airtable.

LTAR Standard GIS Layers

This effort created a geodatabase of standard GIS layers that represent locations and areas associated with the USDA Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network as of 2021. The geodatabase includes spatial data describing LTAR site locations, addresses, experimental plots, fields and watersheds, eddy flux towers, and phenocams. There are six data layers in the geodatabase available to the public. This geodatabase was created in 2019-2020 by the LTAR network as a collaboration between the LTAR Remote Sensing and GIS working group and the LTAR Data Management working group.  

LTAR Regions GIS Layers

The LTAR Network is conducting research on the sustainable intensification of agroecosystems. To enable coordinated network level research, a spatial framework is required to facilitate analysis. However, no suitable spatial framework currently exists to meet the needs for the LTAR Network. To develop a framework for analysis the LTAR Network initiated the Regionalization Project. Goals also included providing a standardized spatial footprint for LTAR cross-site investigations, estimating the confidence with which results from research plots and fields could reasonably be extrapolated to “represented regions”, informing decisions about where additional research sites should be prioritized and facilitating public outreach of the LTAR Network. The product from this effort are 3 GIS datasets to describe: agricultural production, environmental impact, and rural prosperity. 

AgCROS and Products

The USDA Agricultural Research Service has established and continues to expand features, capacity, and capabilities of the Agricultural Collaborative Research Outcomes System (AgCROS; Delgado et al. 2018). AgCROS is a cloud-based integrated platform designed to eventually be a “one-stop shop” for USDA agricultural research data and metadata, along with providing access to relevant datasets from other organizational repositories. It is a growing “network of networks” that presently contains a wide variety of datasets from multiple agricultural research networks, such as: the Nutrient Uptake and Outcome Network (NUOnet), the Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement Network (GRACEnet), the Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices (REAP), the Dairy Agriculture for People and the Planet (DAPP; Dairy Grand Challenge), the Soil Health Assessment Network (SHAnet), the Agricultural Antibiotic Resistance (AgAR), and more recently the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network. By integrating data from these diverse data networks into a well-described and organized open access database, AgCROS facilitates the ease and access of research data and increases the effectiveness and collaboration among researchers.

AgCROS is a partner of the Ag Data Commons, providing public access to USDA-funded research data.

Publication describing the AgCROS effort


AgCROS Real-time Met Data Repository (GeoEvent Server)

Meteorology data is being connected in close to real time for each of the 18 LTAR sites published to the GeoEvent Server hosted on Azure Cloud”

AgCROS Database API

The AgCROS Public API gives access to the combined databases that are part of the AgCROS framework

LTAR Data in the Ag Data Commons

Ag Data Commons provides access to a wide variety of open data relevant to agricultural research. Ag Data Commons is a centralized registry for USDA-funded data already on the web, as well as a repository for new data being published for the first time. While compliance with the U.S. Federal public access and open data directives is important, Ag Data Commons aim to surpass them. The goal of Ag Data Commons is to foster innovative data re-use, integration, and visualization to support bigger, better science and policy.

LTAR Network Spatial Data

GIS layers have been published to Ag Data Commons to spatially describe the LTAR Network sites and regions:

LTAR Sites

Metadata and data from the following LTAR sites are presented. They are related to topics such as agricultural sustainability, climate change, ecosystem services, and natural resource conservation at the watershed or landscape scale.

The LTAR Program on the Ag Data Commons

Related Research Networks

Phenocam Network

The PhenoCam Network is a cooperative continental-scale phenological observatory that uses imagery from networked digital cameras to track vegetation phenology in a diverse range of ecosystems across North America and around the World.  This is the list of Phenocams in the LTAR Network. 

AmeriFlux Network

AmeriFlux is a network of PI-managed sites measuring ecosystem CO2, water, and energy fluxes in North, Central and South America. It was established to connect research on field sites representing major climate and ecological biomes, including tundra, grasslands, savanna, crops, and conifer, deciduous, and tropical forests. This is the list of Ameriflux towers in the LTAR Network. 

LTAR Remote Sensing/GIS Working Group Data Products

  • The LTAR Network regions dataset: This dataset consists of three sets of regional boundaries. These GIS datasets are intended to be used for mapping the network and for summarizing spatial data relevant to domains of sustainable intensification corresponding with agricultural production, environmental impact, and rural prosperity.
  • Spreadsheet of remote sensing and geospatial data products:  List of recommended data products by the LTAR Remote sensing/GIS Working Group.

Related Data Resources

  • The National Agricultural Library’s Agricultural Thesaurus and Glossary are online vocabulary tools of agricultural terms in English and Spanish and are cooperatively produced by the National Agricultural Library, USDA, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture as well as other Latin American agricultural institutions Cancel belonging to the Agriculture Information and Documentation Service of the Americas (SIDALC).
  •  An online repository of policies, tools, case studies, and other resources to support data governance, management, exchange, and use throughout the federal government.
  •  The Geospatial Platform is a cross-agency collaborative effort and Shared Service that embodies the principles and spirit of Open Government, emphasizing government-to-citizen communication, accountability, and transparency.
  • USDA GeoHub: The Enterprise Geospatial Management Office provides enterprise-level leadership to align geospatial strategic planning, policy, tactical implementation and operational capability with USDA’s Mission requirements and performance goals. Our key focus areas are: ensuring agency geospatial products and services are represented and managed as enterprise assets; enabling equal access to shared services; conducting public service innovation prototypes
  • Landscape Change Monitoring System: The Landscape Change Monitoring System (LCMS) is a remote sensing-based system for mapping and monitoring landscape change across the United States. LCMS produces annual maps depicting change (vegetation loss and vegetation gain), land cover, and land use from 1985 to present that can be used to assist with a wide range of land management applications.
  • SSURGO-Query Tool: This tool was developed for CEAP-Grazing Lands. Intended users of this application are soil scientists or conservationists, rangeland/pastureland management specialists, agronomists, foresters, ecological site specialists, and anyone wanting to query specific soil properties or characteristics at the MLRA (major land resource area) scale from current soil survey geographic information (SSURGO). This online tool was designed to aid users with identification of soil/ecological site concepts, grouping landscapes for modeling purposes, to provide management-pertinent soils data for more efficient conservation planning, and to link research-scale data to soils data.
  • Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT): The Ecosystem Dynamics Interpretive Tool (EDIT) is an online information system for the development and sharing of ecological site descriptions, ecosystem state and transition models, and land management knowledge.
  • Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA): Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) integrates information from across the federal government to help people consider their local exposure to climate-related hazards. People working in community organizations or for local, Tribal, state, or Federal governments can use the site to help them develop equitable climate resilience plans to protect people, property, and infrastructure.
  • Rangeland Analysis Platform:  The Rangeland Analysis Platform (RAP) is an interactive web application designed to assist in managing and monitoring America’s rangelands. The RAP datasets are derived from over 40 years of remote sensing data (1984-2018) and they enable users to monitor trends and changes in different types of rangeland vegetation at the pasture, landscape, or regional scales. The tool was developed for landowners, managers, and conservationists to quickly and easily access information that can guide land use decisions. The RAP is designed to be used alongside local knowledge and on-the-ground data to plan management actions. Data provided through the RAP Beta version currently includes vegetation cover. Other data will include forage productivity, riparian condition and sensitivity, climate and drought monitoring, and more. 
  • Dynamic World: The real world is as dynamic as the people and natural processes that shape it. Dynamic World is a near realtime 10m resolution global land use land cover dataset, produced using deep learning, freely available and openly licensed. It is the result of a partnership between Google and the World Resources Institute, to produce a dynamic dataset of the physical material on the surface of the Earth. Dynamic World is intended to be used as a data product for users to add custom rules with which to assign final class values, producing derivative land cover maps.
  • OpenET: OpenET uses best available science to provide easily accessible satellite-based estimates of evapotranspiration (ET) for improved water management across the western United States. Using the Data Explorer, users can explore ET data at the field scale for millions of individual fields or at the original quarter-acre resolution of the satellite data.
  • ResearchDataGov is a web portal for discovering and requesting access to restricted microdata from federal statistical agencies



The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network consists of 18 Federal and university agricultural research sites with an average of over 50 years of history. The goal of this research network is to ensure sustained crop and livestock production and ecosystem services from agroecosystems, and to forecast and verify the effects of environmental trends, public policies, and emerging technologies.