Sign Up for
CropSignal Communications

Gain access to in-depth demos!

Help

Want to learn more about CropSignal? The Help section provides answers to frequently asked questions from our users.

Click the Help Topics on the left to learn more, or simply search this page using the Search Field below.

Unable to find what you need? Please submit your question using our contact form.

Would you like to discuss CropSignal with one of our representatives? Simply fill out our contact form.

General:

Do I need a specific browser to use CropSignal?

Not at all, any modern browser will work. Testing has shown that best performance is achieved using Firefox 17+ or Chrome 23+.

Internet Explorer versions prior to 10 are not supported.

Google Chrome versions prior to 11 are not supported.

Firefox versions prior to 3.6 are not supported.

Opera versions prior to 11 are not supported.

Safari versions prior to 5 are not supported.

A 1280 * 720 minimum screen resolution is required.

Cookies and Javascript must be enabled for the site to function properly.

Mixed SSL/Non-SSL content must be allowed.

What is Public CropSignal?

We have made available some pages that allow you to search one or more of our topical datasets to get a feel for how CropSignal functions without requiring users to register an account. These pages are typically limited to one data source and no results can be saved.

Click here to see list of public CropSignal sites

What are the Free CropSignal accounts?

From the public CropSignal sites, we offer users the chance to register for a free public account. Doing so grants users access to more features not available on the public pages. For example, you can save widgets to dashboards and access RSS feeds, webmarks, alerts, and calendar functions.

However, these accounts are still typically limited to one data topic and one data source. Users with full access to CropSignal can utilize several data topics that include other types of data (satellite-derived statistics, weather, progress/condition, etc) and also can utilize statistics from many data sources at once whose results have been matched across sources by crop type for easy comparison. Additional analysis tools for forecasting data are also available.

How do I get a full CropSignal account with access to multiple data sources, topics and tools?

Currently, we do not have an automated registration process for creating full featured CropSignal accounts. We will be adding a subscription service in the near future that will allow this. However, you may create a free account to try CropSignal and then contact us and let us know you're interested in seeing a more full featured version of CropSignal.

What is the best way to get started with CropSignal?

While CropSignal is capable of very complex queries and analyses that will require a small learning curve, CropSignal is designed with ease of use in mind.

There are a number of in app help aids available to assist users within the application including:

  • A PDF tutorial is available for users
  • Your account will come pre-populated with some dashboards and widgets. This pre-populated content can be changed, copied and/or deleted and are a great starting point for you to learn CropSignal.
  • If you are stuck, you can simply contact our support team directly through the contact us link at the top of every page.

What comes pre-populated in each new user account?

Each account will come pre-populated with with at least one dashboard and some sample widgets. This content is a great way to get started and can be changed, copied and/or deleted to better fit your exact needs.

Data

What locations are supported?

CropSignal supports Global data, National-level data for a wide variety of of countries, and sub-national data for a subset of those countries.

What crops are supported?

A partial list of crops currently supported by CropSignal is as follows:

  • Barley
  • Broad Beans, Dry
  • Cake of Flax Seed
  • Cake of Mustard
  • Canary Seed
  • Canola
  • Chickpeas All (Garbanzo)
  • Chickpeas Large (Garbanzo Larger than 20/64 in)
  • Chickpeas Small (Garbanzo Smaller than 20/64 in)
  • Coffee Extracts
  • Coffee Husks and Skins
  • Coffee Substitutes Containing Coffee
  • Coffee, Green
  • Coffee, Roasted
  • Corn For Grain
  • Corn For Silage
  • Cotton Lint Amer. Pima
  • Cotton Lint Upland
  • Cotton Lint
  • Cotton Linter
  • Cotton Seed
  • Cow Peas, Dry
  • Field Beans, Dry
  • Flax Fibre and Tow
  • Flax Fibre Raw
  • Flax Seed
  • Flax Tow Waste
  • Flour of Mustard
  • Flour of Potatoes
  • Fructose and Syrup, Other
  • Glucose and Dextrose
  • Hay All, Dry
  • Hops
  • Isoglucose
  • Lactose
  • Lentils
  • Lupins
  • Maple Sugar and Syrups
  • Meal, Corn Gluten Feed
  • Meal, Cottonseed
  • Meal, Rapeseed
  • Meal, Soybean
  • Meal, Sunflower Seed
  • Milled/Husked Rice
  • Millet
  • Mixed Grain
  • Molasses
  • Mung Beans, Dry
  • Mustard Seed
  • Oats
  • Oil, Cottonseed
  • Oil, Flax Seed
  • Oil, Mustard Seed
  • Oil, Olive (All)
  • Oil, Olive (from Residues)
  • Oil, Olive (Virgin)
  • Oil, Poppy Seed
  • Oil, Rapeseed
  • Oil, Safflower
  • Oil, Soybean
  • Oil, Sunflower Seed
  • Olive Residues
  • Olives
  • Olives Preserved
  • Pea Seed Wrinkled
  • Peas Austrian Winter
  • Peas, Dry
  • Peas, Green
  • Pigeon Peas
  • Pop Corn
  • Poppy Seed
  • Potato Offals
  • Potato Products, Frozen
  • Potatoes All
  • Potatoes, Autumn
  • Potatoes, Spring
  • Potatoes, Summer
  • Potatoes, Winter
  • Rapeseed All
  • Rapeseed
  • Rice All
  • Rice Broken
  • Rice Husked
  • Rice Long Grain
  • Rice Med Grain
  • Rice Milled
  • Rice Short Grain
  • Rye
  • Safflower
  • Seed Cotton
  • Sorghum All
  • Sorghum For Grain
  • Sorghum For Silage
  • Soybeans
  • Sugar Beet All
  • Sugar Beet Pulp
  • Sugar Cane All
  • Sugar Cane Bagasse
  • Sugar Cane For Seed
  • Sugar Cane For Sugar
  • Sugar Crops, Other (than Sugar Cane and Sugar Beet)
  • Sugar from Sugar Cane, Non-Centrifugal
  • Sugar, Confectionery
  • Sugar, Other
  • Sugar, Raw Centrifugal
  • Sugar, Refined
  • Sunflower Seed All
  • Sunflower Seed For Oil
  • Sunflower Seed Non-Oil Use
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tapioca of Potatoes
  • Tobacco Leaves All
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Dark Green River Belt (Class 3: Type 36)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Dark One-Sucker Belt (Class 3: Type 35)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Dark Sun-Cured Belt (Class 3: Type 37)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Light All (Class 3A: Types 31-32)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Light Burley (Class 3: Type 31)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Air-Cured Light Southern Md Belt (Class 3: Type 32)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Binder All (Class 5: Types 51-56)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Binder Conn Valley Broadleaf (Class 5: Type 51)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Binder Northern Wisconsin (Type 55)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Binder Southern Wisconsin (Type 54)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Filler Pa Seed Leaf (Class 4: Type 41)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Types All (Classes 4-6: Types 41-65)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Cigar Wrapper Conn Valley Shade-Grown (Class 6: Type 61)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Fire-Cured Eastern District (Class 2: Type 22)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Fire-Cured Va Belt (Class 2: Type 21)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Fire-Cured Western District (Class 2: Type 23)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Flue-Cured East Nc Belt (Class 1: Type 12)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Flue-Cured Ga-Fla Belt (Class 1: Type 14)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Flue-Cured Nc Bord & Sc Belt (Class 1: Type 13)
  • Tobacco Leaves, Flue-Cured Old/Mid Belts (Class 1: Type 11)
  • Tobacco Products: Cigars, Cheroots, Cigarillos
  • Tobacco Products: Cigarettes
  • Tobacco Products: Other (than Cigarettes, Cigars, Cheroots, Cigarillos)
  • Tomato Juice
  • Tomato Juice, Concentrated
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Peeled
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomatoes All
  • Tomatoes, Canned
  • Triticale
  • Vetch
  • Wheat All excluding Durum
  • Wheat All including Durum
  • Wheat Durum
  • Wheat Other Spring
  • Wheat Spring Hard Red
  • Wheat Spring Hard White
  • Wheat Spring Soft White
  • Wheat Spring White
  • Wheat Winter All
  • Wheat Winter Hard Red
  • Wheat Winter Hard White
  • Wheat Winter Soft Red
  • Wheat Winter Soft White
  • Wheat Winter White

Like to see another crop? Send us your requests through the contact us link at the top of the page.

What public data sources are used in CropSignal?

CropSignal collects data from multiple authoritative sources, including USDA, NOAA, FAO, StatCanada, ABS, ABARES, and many other national sources etc. All data is tagged with the source it came from.

What are the comparison fields?

Comparison fields compare one timeframe to another to assist in using historical data as a valuable analysis tool. CropSignal provides comparison to the previous year and the average of the previous 5 years. CropSignal provides both the actual data (for example, yield for previous year and average yield for previous 5 years and 10 years) and the percentage that the year under analysis changed versus the previous year, 5 year average, and 10 year average. An example may show current yield is 2% higher than previous year and 5% lower than 5 year average.

How do the time fields work?

Years in Annual Crop Stat/Trade topics are based on the Harvest year

Years in the Seasonal Analysis topic are based on calendar years and reset on January 1st. The months and days follow the normal calendar.

The weeks are numbered from 0 to 53 with week 1 being the first week with more than three days in the calendar year. Weeks run from Monday through Sunday. Week 0 is a partial week made up of any days in this calendar year before week 1. Similarly, week 53 is made up of any final remaining days not part of week 52, the last full week of the year.

How does CropSignal collect the data?

CropSignal operationally and automatically monitors a multitude of authoritative data sources and timely collects relevant datasets for CropSignal. We go through extensive QA/QC and data preprocessing to ensure data accuracy and completeness before sending to the CropSignal database. For example, we collect and daily analyze gigabits of satellite imagery in support of CropSignal.

How frequently is public data updated?

CropSignal continuously monitors our public data sources and the data is updated whenever new data becomes available. This typically occurs several times per day but will vary depending on the dataset. For example, the annual datasets may only be updated once per month.

Does CropSignal alter the public data?

No. Any specific values released are reported as is.

To enhance usability, however, we may estimate data where official data is absent.

Is weather data measured data or simulated data?

All weather data is measured from ground stations.

What if I have a great idea about a new dataset or site feature to include?

Please click the 'Contact Us' link and let us know. We have many dataset and site upgrades that we plan to rollout, but we always welcome suggestions. Also, please feel free to let us know what existing features you like or don't like.

Topics

What's a Topic?

A Topic is the workspace that provides you the tools and the process you need to slice and dice the massive database down into a workable subset that focuses in on your area of interest and data widgets (e.g. tables, maps and charts) are displayed.

Topics are organized thematically: National Annual Crop Stats, Sub-national Annual Crop Stats, Seasonal Analysis, and Annual Trade Stats are our current topic offerings.

The Topics tab is where you can select which Topic you'd like to navigate to.

How do I use a Topic?

To use a topic, simply start selecting items in the filter dropdown boxes based on what data you would like to see. Once you have selected an item from each filter box, press the 'Display' button to see the resulting widgets.

Some Topic pages may offer different display options that allow you to sort/organize the resulting widgets.

How does the filtering work?

Filtering is implemented using "OR" logic within a filter box and "AND" logic between filter boxes. For example, if you choose US and Canada in the Locations box and Canola in the Crops box, results for both US and Canada will be displayed, but only for Canola.

Filter boxes are ordered, that is the items selected in boxes to the left will determine which options are available in filter boxes to the right. By default, the Locations box comes first and after the user selects one or more locations, the second box will populate with options (e.g. Crops) that are available for at least one of the selected locations.

Users can re-order the filter boxes -- for example if you're looking for results for a particular Crop but don't know which locations are applicable, you can move the Crop filter box to the left to become the first box and then select the Crop you want and the remaining selections will be auto-populated for you.

After displaying some results, it's easy to modify your filter settings and update the results. Therefore, we recommend that users 'start small' in their filtering by selecting one or two items from each filter box. Selecting too many items from the filter boxes will strain our systems and overwhelm the user with results.

Additionally, you can filter results on specific variable criteria such as Production greater than 50,000 metric tonnes AND Yield Change over 5 year average > 3%.

How are the Topic results organized?

The topic results appear as a sequence of widgets (tables, charts, and maps) displaying the data reflected in the filter selections. Each widget can be saved to a dashboard by selecting a dashboard from the dropdown menu on the widget and clicking the star icon. Unwanted widgets can be removed from the page by clicking the X (close) icon. Widgets are shown five at a time (to keep browsers from crashing) with a button to 'Show more Widgets' that will render the next five widgets to the page. Different types of widgets have different controls (e.g. charts can have legends enabled/disabled, for maps users can control how thematic classes are generated and where the legend is positioned, etc). Maps are rendered as PNG images while charts are generated as HTML5 objects (although they can be exported as images).

Dashboards

What is a Dashboard?

A Dashboard is a single page within the CropSignal application that allows for viewing and interaction with multiple pieces of content from multiple sources both inside and external to the application. In CropSignal, the Dashboards are widget based. A widget is a single piece of content, such as a table report, a chart or a map. A Dashboard allows the user to place many widgets on a single page to provide easy viewing and access of individual content items that would normally require opening and closing many windows or pages.

What types of Widgets are available in CropSignal?

Any widget that can be generated on a Topic page can be saved to a dashboard. These typically includes tables, maps and charts. Additionally, RSS feeds can be added to dashboards so that you can see the most recent stories from your favorite feeds. Any RSS feed can be entered manually and can include news feeds, blog feeds or other RSS based information. GDA provides a selection of popular feeds to choose from as well. Also, groupings of webmarks can be added to dashboards as a widget.

How do I create a Dashboard?

Creating a Dashboard is simple within CropSignal. Go to the Dashboard tab and select create new Dashboard (+). Provide a name for the Dashboard. When viewing widgets on a topic page, select that dashboard from the dropdown menu at the top of the widget and choose to save that widget to dashboard (the star icon).

Is it easy to change my Dashboard once I have created it?

Absolutely, CropSignal's Dashboards implement 'move-to-top' and 'move-to-bottom' ordering functionality for widgets. Likewise, one can add, delete, copy, or move Widgets with ease at anytime. Similarly, dashboards can be renamed and you can change which dashboard is your default dashboard at any time. Some dashboard widgets can be resized (which may affect how the widget layout looks) and these size changes are saved automatically.

Do I only have a single Dashboard in CropSignal?

No, CropSignal allows for the creation of multiple Dashboards.

Will my dashboard widgets show updated data?

Yes. A widget from either a Topic page or RSS feed will show the latest data available (according to the parameters). For example, if you have a table widget on your dashboard that shows the 2012 Corn For Grain US Production value that you created in May 2012, when you return in September the widget will reflect any updates that have been published since then.

Webmarks

What is a Webmark?

A webmark is a link to an external website that may contain updated crop reports or other relevant information that you like to check on periodically or refer to as needed.

How do I create a Webmark?

Click on the Webmarks tab, and click the 'Add Webmark' button. When creating a Webmark, you must supply a name and valid URL and at least one tag. You may optionally add any notes/description information that you would like. You may also optionally add the Webmark as an event to your calendar.

What are tags?

Webmarks are organized by a tag system and each webmark must have at least one tag. A tag is just a word/phrase that serves as metadata for the Webmark. For example, you might tag a webmark by the location, crop, year or source of the data it represents.

When adding a group of Webmarks to a dashboard as a widget, you select which tags to filter your Webmarks by and all Webmarks that match the tags you selected (and whether you selected match any/match all) will be included in the widget.

Can I add a Webmark as an event to my calendar?

Yes you can. For example, if you added a Webmark for the NASS Crop Progress reports, you could select to add the webmark to calendar and create the date as the starting date (April 2, 2012) and the time as the publication time (4:00 pm EST) and select the repeat pattern as Weekly on Monday's. You may also optionally set a reminder to notify you some time period before each publication.

Calendar

What is the Calendar?

The calendar is a Tab on the site where users may add events. Events may be attached to Webmarks or custom events. It is an easy way to keep track of important events, for example the release of an important crop report.

How do I add an event to my calendar?

You can add an event by clicking on a date or time in your calendar. A pop-up will ask if you would like to create an event, and if you click OK it will take you to a form to enter the appropriate values. You can also link Webmarks as Events to your calendar by adding/editing Webmarks.

When you create a new Event you must supply a an event name and optionally supply a description/notes. You must choose a date and time (and timezone) for the event (which will serve as a starting time if this will be a repeating event).

Can I set up events to repeat?

Yes. When adding/editing an event, click the little 'gear' icon next to the 'Repeat' title and a popup dialog box will appear where you can select the repeat pattern. Available repeating patterns are daily, weekly (you can select which weekdays), monthly (the same day of the month or same weekday (e.g. third Tuesday)), or annually.

Finally, when creating a repeating event you must choose an end condition from either a number of times to repeat or a specific date.

How do I create a reminder?

When adding/editing a calendar event there are input boxes for selecting if/when a reminder should be triggered. To set a reminder, simply enter a duration value and unit (e.g. 4 hours or 2 days). You may also optionally choose to be reminded via email.

When a reminder has triggered, the Calendar tab will have a number next to it that shows the number of triggered alerts which will be increased. Also, when you navigate to the Calendar page the triggered alerts will be displayed at the top of the page. You can dismiss any triggered alerts to remove them (note that if the event is repeating, the reminder will re-trigger when the next instance occurs.

What timezone are events displayed in?

Events are displayed in the user's timezone. You can edit your timezone in your account settings (select the city nearest your location). Each event is created in a specific timezone which is stored separately with each event.

How do I edit an event?

Click on an event in your calendar view and a popup menu will appear with an Edit option.

How do I delete an event?

Click on an event in your calendar view and a popup menu will appear with an Delete option. Note that deleting an repeating event will remove all instances of that event. Deleting a Webmark event will not delete the Webmark.

Alerts

What is an Alert?

An Alert is an optional setting on certain Topic-based dashboard widgets that will keep track of upates to the data, and trigger whenever the data changes.

When an alert triggers, you will be notified when you login to CropSignal and you can also optionally be notified via email.

How do I setup an Alert?

Alerts are setup when viewing a dashboard. If a widget on your Dashboard can be alerted, a checkbox in the widget title will be available where it says 'No Alert Set'. Simply click the checkbox, supply a name and whether you want to be notified via email, click OK and your alert is created.

When do alerts trigger?

Alerts are processed automatically by the site several times per day. Additionally, a user's alerts are processed for any updates whenever they log in.

Where can I look at my Alerts?

You can access all of your saved Alerts by clicking on the Alerts Tab. Here you will find a table that allows you to sort your Alerts by name, dashboard, Alert Status (Triggered, Not Triggered), and number of results. From this page you can edit/delete alerts, dismiss triggered alerts and also view the alert widgets.

If I open the widget with an alert in the Widget Filter editor, change the filters and save the widget as a new one will the alert be updated?

No. Widgets saved from the Widget Filter editor are new widgets. You would have to create a new alert for that widget.

What is an enabled or disabled Alert?

An enabled Alert is one that is actively monitoring the database based on the settings in the Alert. A disabled Alert is basically turned off or not active. The settings etc. of a disabled Alert remain unchanged and a disabled Alert can be enabled at any time.

How do I know when an Alert has been triggered?

You will be notified in the site when you log in. The number of triggered alerts will appear as part of the Alerts tab at the top. Also, when you click on the Alerts tab, the triggered alerts will be highlighted on the table.

You may 'dismiss' triggered alerts which turns off their triggered status. They may trigger again if the data changes.

You may also set alerts to notify you via email when they trigger. You can change this setting by editing an existing alert, or checking the 'Notify By Email' checkbox when creating a new alert. In this case, an email will be sent to the email address on your account when the alert has triggered.