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Presentation

2nd Revision

Introduction

 

About

What is different in this type of publication?
This publication is not organized in a linear way, such as a research paper or a book. It is a hyper-link document, which is more comparable to a data base of facts (data), arguments, in-depth analyses, web-links, and visuals - such as charts, maps, diagrams, or satellite images. These elements are organized into a web of thousands of links. You can, for instance, directly "jump" from one argument to several others that are related; you might investigate the usually included links to corresponding figures and tables; or you might find a link to a collection of related web resources (which might be on a server in China, Europe, the US or anywhere else in the world); very often you will find links to maps, satellite images or the included bibliographies.
While this hyper-link concept of a scientific document is certainly unusual, it probably better represents the true structure of the problem at hand. China's food situation is not determined by a few factors, which can be isolated and analyzed independently in a simple cause-effect sequence. We have had too much of these one-dimensional analyses, which - for instance - have deducted China's food prospects just from its limited land or water resources. Of course, these analyses may highlight important details; however, they are also eliminating a most important aspect of the problem, which is the multitude of interrelated factors from political, bio-physical, social and economic dimensions. I believe that this web of scientific and political arguments, socio-economic data, maps of geo-physical characteristics, and various other linked information elements better represents the true structure of China's food problems, than an analysis of a few isolated elements.
I have also spent considerable efforts to develop and optimize the interface to these analyses and data. The arguments and information items in this application can be accessed by nine different access tools. These tools are like windows, which allow the user to look into the database from various sides and angles. They structure the information in particular ways and for specific purposes.
1. All arguments are organized in an evaluation matrix. This is the main tool to be used in this application. It was designed as a tool for planners and decision makers. The matrix should help to evaluate the major dimensions of China's food problems in a systematic way. The matrix is organized into 7 sectors (rows) and 6 key questions (columns) for each dimension. This tool is for a detailed study of all arguments and all the material included in this publication.
2. Corresponding data can be accessed from a data directory, which includes links to all tables, charts, figures, maps, and remote sensing images. The data directory is a simple interface to a database of empirical background information on China's food security. Check out this list if you need access to the hard numerical facts and statistics, which are behind the arguments and analyses.
3. The FAQ is a list of quick answers to Frequently Asked Questions, concerning China's food prospects.Each question is linked to a very short, bullet-style answer (such as you would use on a transparency in a talk), which tries to give the "bottom-line" research results for a particular problem. The Quick Answers List should be used, if you are interested in the bare-bone results of this publication.
4. There are also a few in-depth analyses of food-related issues, which do not fit into the argument scheme of the Evaluation Matrix, but are nevertheless important for understanding China's food situation.
5. An executive summary provides the main results of this study for hasty readers. Use this tool if you want to get a quick overview of the main arguments and most important facts in the form of data sets and visuals.
6. Here are the conclusions of our research. 
7. There is a list of bibliographical references (bibliography) on food and agriculture in China.
8. A large selection web links to China-related resources, research centers and related materials.
9. And an index to everything in this application. This is not only an index to certain phrases and names in the texts, but a collection of links to all kinds of information items in this publication - including data sets, tables, charts, maps, satellite images. Go to the Index if you want to find out what is available in this publication for a specific keyword.
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How is this publication available?
This application is available in three different formats:
On a CD-ROM
This is the CD-ROM version of the the ChinaFood application. It includes all my arguments and in-depth analyses on China's agriculture and food security. Because of the large storage capacity of the CD-ROM I could also include a much larger amount of background material, than would have been possible in an online document or a book. In particular, I have included additional data in the form of tables, charts and maps. For instance, this CD-ROM version has some 30 high- and medium-resolution true-color maps on China (in addition to the low-resolution versions), which visualize agriculture-related, geo-referenced data. They are optimized for being displayed on computer screens with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels (medium resolution) and 1600 x 1200 pixels (high resolution). 
As an online collection of web pages on the INTERNET
The online version of this application includes a much smaller selection of tables and charts than the CD-ROM, so that access over the INTERNET is not slowed down. Moreover, it only has low-resolution maps; the medium- and high-resolution maps would be very slow to download. However, the web pages have a much larger number of China-related web links than you can find on the CD-ROM. I will also try to update these links as often as possible (which is not possible with the CD-ROM)
As a paper document
The paper document is for a quick overview and available only on special request. It includes a selection of the main arguments and analyses. However, due to cost considerations, many of the tables and charts and most of the (color) maps are not included in the printed document.
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Which software was used to develop this application?
For page design and link management I used MS Front Page 3.0. This was my main tool for writing the linked HTML-pages, which make up the core of this application.
The tables, charts and figures I have designed in MS Excel. They were saved as screen copies or directly exported into FrontPage.
Most of the maps were originally produced from the LUC-GIS system in ArcInfo and ArcView and exported as postscript files.
The Postscript files (from the GIS), the screen copies (from Excel) and all other graphics files were edited, color-optimized for web presentation and converted to GIF or JPG files in Adobe PhotoShop 4.0. I also used this software to produce the subsequent multiple layers, which make up some of the maps (such as the precipitation maps.)
Many maps (and some tables) in this application are available in three different resolutions (for 800x600, 1024x768 and 1600x1200). I have written a small Java script which checks the screen resolution of the user, so that the browser can automatically load the appropriate image.
The application is started with a small program, which does (in the background) some testing of the users' system, to make sure it has adequate screen resolution, color depths, and MS-Windows setup. The program also displays a selection menu and automatically loads a web browser (either Netscape or Internet Explorer - depending on what the user has installed). I used Borland Delphi 3.0 to write this program.
For creating a 3-D digital elevation map of China ("shaded contour map") I used Surfer 6.0 (from Golden Software).
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Disclaimer
The views expressed in this CD-ROM and corresponding web site are those of Gerhard K. Heilig and do not necessarily reflect those of IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this CD-ROM and corresponding web site do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IIASA concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delineation of its frontiers or boundaries.
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Revision 2.0 (First revision published in 1999)  - Copyright 2011 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. (First revision: Copyright 1999 by IIASA.)