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Welcome to the rst of what will be a regular Rice Today Maps page. Each issue, the magazine will feature a map generated by IRRIs geographers, who use geographic information systems (GIS) and other computer tools to analyze spatial variation in rice production and the factors that inuence it. While technologies developed at IRRI help farmers on the ground, the information gained through satellite images and geographic modeling can help us see the big picture and ensure that research, funding, and policies focus on appropriate technologies and strategies in the right places.

Poverty and elevation in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Data sources: Minot N, Baulch B. 2005. Spatial patterns of poverty in Vietnam and their implications for policy. Food Policy 30:461-475; Fujii T. 2004. Commune-level estimation of poverty measures and its application in Cambodia. WIDER Research Paper 2004/48; van der Weide R. 2004. How poverty came on the map in Lao PDR. World Bank; Healy AJ, Jitsuchon S, Vajaragupta Y. 2003. Spatially disaggregated estimates of poverty and inequality in Thailand. World Bank.

o develop effective poverty reduction strategies, we need to understand what the geographic patterns of poverty are, and what causes these patterns. A rst step is poverty mapping. Here, we show a detailed map of the poverty ratio in four countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The poverty ratio is the percentage of the population that has an income (or level of consumption) below the national poverty line. Thailand
Rice Today April-June 2007

is least poor, but its mountainous areas are poorer than its lowlands, just like in Laos and Vietnam. It is remarkable how similar the situation is on each side of the Vietnam-Laos border. In Cambodia, the situation is less clear, with poor areas in some highlands but also in the large oodplain of the Tonl Sap Lake.

Text and map: Robert Hijmans, IRRI Social Sciences Division.