You may be able to help real-world farmers by playing a video game.
Cropland Capture, a game hosted on the Geo-Wiki Project's website, tasks players with identifying cropland from Google Earth images. Players get points for identifying land and could win an Amazon Kindle, a Samsung Galaxy S4 and more through the game's ongoing tournament. According to a recent tweet from the game's official Twitter account, players have combed more than 300,000 square kilometers of land.
The idea behind the game is to improve upon existing maps, rather than start from scratch, Geo-Wiki's Linda See told National Public Radio.
"We're taking the existing maps and arguing that they must be right somewhere," See said. "So by putting them together you get a better product. But then we need to improve and validate that product, and that's where the game comes in."
The Geo-Wiki Project's self-described mission is to "improve the quality of global land cover maps," and the organization enlists volunteers to help improve disputed data by analyzing satellite imagery. By producing better, more accurate maps, Geo-Wiki's project lead, Steffen Fritz, hopes to help farmers with that information.
"We know, for example, in Africa, there are huge yield gaps," Fritz said. "This means you could produce much more food in certain places in Africa, but we don't even know where exactly the cropland is. So because we don't know where the cropland is, we don't know where the best investments could be made in terms of increasing production. So the first step is a very good cropland map."
You can play Cropland Capture on its official website.