Applied Information Management

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Food Security Management

ICT enables tracking and reporting of regional food resources.

This annotated bibliography describes information and communication technologies (ICT) in use around the world that can be applied to the growing food insecurity problems in Oregon. Articles written since 2000 are reviewed to identify technologies that can be implemented to positively affect food security and support policy recommendations. Topics include ICT infrastructure, GIS mapping, and agricultural information and knowledge management. Tools include information and knowledge networks, accessible databases, community food assessments, and food traceability systems.

GIS Tools for Reducing Food Insecurity
Chloropleth, thematic, and web mapping Easy to interpret maps with several layers that can be overlaid to provide a complete picture of economic, geographic, and demographic information.
Geographic information systems (GIS), geospatial information technology, and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) Systems and databases that gather and store information about geographic data, collected through satellite systems and shared and accessed through global positioning systems and mapping.
Geographical data Data gathered and recorded in geographic information systems and maps.
Geocoding, geoidentified, geoindicator An analysis of the information gathered and shared for GIS systems; aids in making accurate and useful maps; can show precise current information and help create future forecasts.
Spatial analysis An analysis of the information gathered and shared for GIS systems; aids in making accurate and useful maps; can show precise current information and help create future forecasts.

The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to identify and describe the most promising information and communication technology tools that can be used to support knowledge management related to food security. Specifically, these tools can be used to (a) identify practiced methods of tracking access to market information and (b) increase the ability to track and report on regional resources. As a key example, geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to analyze and track food availability based on grocery stores and other fresh food markets per capita. GIS can also contribute to crop cycle planning in order to sustainably optimize growing seasons and yield, as well as enhance food traceability. In addition, GIS can help predict environmental impact of changes to the global food system and management decisions.

Food security is defined as "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life" ("Food Security", 1996, para. 1). Food insecurity and hunger result when there is a lack of access to safe and nutritional foods. In 1998, 9.7 percent of households in the United States did not have enough food to meet basic needs; by 2008, that percentage had risen to 14.7 percent. The Oregon Department of Agriculture states that 14.6 percent of Oregon households do not have consistent access to food. During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, more than 260,000 Oregon residents each month (33 percent of whom were children) ate meals from an Oregon Food Bank food box, an increase of 29 percent since 2008.

Knowledge management systems, specifically the utilization of databases populated by information gathered via GIS, web-mapping frameworks, and information gathered through precision agricultural systems, combine information and communication technologies with geographic information and navigation systems. This combination of technologies allows information to be used effectively to improve food security by cross-referencing the information gathered by the various technologies with the hunger indices identified by Masset (2011).


  • Chowdhury, N. (2001). Information and communications technologies. (Appropriate technology for sustainable food security). Retrieved from the International Food Policy Research Institute.
  • Food Security. (1996). In The World Health Organization: Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health. Retrieved from the World Health Organization.
  • Gareau, S. E. (2004). The development of guidelines for implementing information technology to promote food security. Agriculture and Human Values, 21(4), 273-285. Retrieved from Springer.
  • Gebbers, R., & Adamchuk, V. I. (2010). Precision agriculture and food security. Science, 327(5967), 828-831. doi:10.1126/science.1183899
  • Hwang, M. & Smith, M. (2010). Integrating publicly available web mapping tools for cartographic visualization of community food insecurity: A prototype. GeoJournal, 0343(2521), 1-16. doi: 10.1007/s10708-010-9385-3
  • Masset, E. (2011). A review of hunger indices and methods to monitor country commitment to fighting hunger. Food Policy, 36, S102-S108. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2010.11.007
  • Ostry, A., & Morrison, K. (2009). Developing and utilizing a database for mapping the temporal and spatial variation in the availability of "local foods" in British Columbia. Environments: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 36(1). Retrieved from Environments: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Wu, W., Tang, H., Yang, P., You, L., Zhou, Q., et al. (2011). Scenario-based assessment of future food security. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 21(1), 3-17. Retrieved from Springer.
  • Access the UO Scholars' Bank to download the entire Capstone paper.
AIM alumna Amy Cissell

Research Paper Author: Amy R. Cissell, grants and contracts administrator, Oregon Health and Science University—2012 University of Oregon, AIM Program Graduate. This study received the 2012 Director's Capstone Research Award.

Download the entire Capstone research project