Workshop 10/18/2013

Vital Signs, an integrated monitoring system for ecosystem services in agricultural
landscapes funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( ), is
organizing a 1-day workshop to review an initial blueprint of the Vital Signs information
system. We would like to invite you to participate in this meeting, which will take place on
Friday, October 18th, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in

The mission of Vital Signs is to create an integrated system for monitoring, analysis and
decision making support to address key ecosystem service challenges in Sub-Saharan
Africa. We plan to organize near-real-time data streams managed in a state-of-the-art
monitoring system and use them as inputs into advanced models and indicator
computations. The latter, in turn, will be presented to decision-makers through online
interfaces (dashboards). The project focuses on ecosystem resilience, water security,
human well-being and poverty, agricultural sustainability, and other key characteristics of
ecosystem and agricultural development.

The objectives of the workshop are: (1) to review a preliminary infrastructure blueprint for
the Vital Signs Information System; (2) to share relevant experience constructing and
integrating building blocks of an observatory system; (3) to review existing observatory
systems, and understand how their experience can be leveraged for Vital Signs; and (4) to
discuss a transition from infrastructure blueprint to construction and operation phases,
potential partners, and risk mitigation strategies.