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What does it take to prepare SPAM data?

Inconsistent formatting, units and administrative names make flagging errors even more difficult

Many SPAM users have been wondering why SPAM updates take so long to release.   While the actual execution of the model can be done one country at a time in one day, data preparation for even one country can take months.

One of the biggest delays occurs around the acquisition and "cleaning" of subnational crop production statistics.  Before the data can even be verified, it needs to be formatted correctly and inputted into the Harvest Choice subnational database.  Then,  it goes through a series of analyses aggregating numbers up to the next administrative level, then checking reported yields against those from an outside source, usually FAOstat.

Crop names and administrative unit names also need to be harmonized and verified before the data can be coded to match a time-stamped shapefile representing the maximum number of administrative units for which the incoming crop statistics report data.

Note "The Pipeline" posts will always indicate which country is being processed as well as which ones will come next.