Spatial computing perspective on food energy and water nexus

Emre Eftelioglu, Zhe Jiang, Reem Ali, Shashi Shekhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In the coming decades, the increasing world population is expected to grow the demand for food, energy, and water resources. In addition, these resources will be under stress due to the climate change and urbanization. Previously, more problems were caused by piecemeal approaches analyzing and planning those resources independent of each other. The goal of the food, energy, and water (FEW) nexus approach is to prevent such problems by understanding, appreciating, and visualizing the interconnections and interdependencies of FEW resources at local, regional, and global levels. The nexus approach seeks to use the FEW resources as an interrelated system of systems, but data and modeling constraints make it a challenging task. In addition, the lack of complete knowledge and observability of FEW interactions exacerbates the problem. Related work focused on physical science solutions (e.g., desalination, bio-pesticides). No doubt these are necessary and worthwhile for FEW resource security. Overlooked in these work is that spatial computing may help domain scientists achieve their goals for the FEW nexus. In this paper, we describe our vision of the spatial computing’s role in understanding the FEW nexus using a Nexus Dashboard analogy. From a spatial data lifecycle perspective, we provide more details on the spatial computing components behind the Nexus Dashboard vision. In each component, we list new technical challenges that are likely to drive future spatial computing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1029711, IIS-1320580, 0940818, and IIS-1218168; U.S. DoD under Grant No. HM1582-08-1-0017; and the University of Minnesota via U-Spatial. We would like to thank Kim Koffolt and the members of the University of Minnesota Spatial Computing Research Group for their comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, AESS.


  • Food, energy, and water nexus
  • Precision agriculture
  • Spatial computing
  • Sustainability
  • System of systems


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