Andy Nelson

  • Dr. Andrew Nelson is a geographer and is responsible for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) group at IRRI.

    Current activities

    Andy leads the GIS group at IRRI that develops spatial information on rice production across Asia in order to map rice areas, their cropping patterns and the frequency of flood and drought events. We also contribute to the maintenance of key spatial databases on sub-national rice statistics and the Global Administrative Areas database (GADM).

    Andy’s team is developing methods for the continental scale mapping of rice producing areas including remote sensing processing chains for the semi automatic mapping of rice production areas at high temporal frequency and medium spatial resolution.  In collaboration with PhilRice and sarmap, they work with high resolution radar data for the accurate assessment of rice acreage and (trans)planting dates in the Philippines.

    He also collaborates with different groups across IRRI to develop spatial models of rice pest and rice disease epidemics, spatial applications of crop simulation models like ORYZA2000 and the spatial characterization of socio-economic markets and mega environments for rice in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.


    Andy has been working in international research environments as a GIS expert for the last 16 years.  His research has covered a broad range of development and environmental topics including; integrated modeling of environmental and socio-economic issues, environmental alert systems, access to markets, population and poverty mapping and the monitoring of protected areas. He has co-authored around 25 articles.


    • PhD 2004 Geography, University of Leeds, UK
    • MSc 1996 Geographic Information Science, University of Leicester, UK
    • BEng 1994 Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham, UK

    Work history

    • Scientist, Geographer, IRRI (2009-present)
    • Consultant, The World Bank (2009)
    • Consultant, FAO (2008-2009)
    • Scientific Officer, European Commission – Joint Research Centre (2005-2008)
    • Consultant, UNEP, (2004-2005)
    • Research Fellow, University of Leeds (2003-2005)
    • Consultant, The World Bank (2001-2002)
    • Junior Research Fellow, CIAT (1996-2001)