The CGIAR International Agricultural Research Centers constitute a system of interdisciplinary work on agricultural systems in the Third World that brings together the physical and social sciences. Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in agricultural geospatial research. This interest reflects the centers' growing interest in sustainable agriculture and agro-environmental mapping. It also proposes a rather narrow concept of geography. It addresses the potential origins of the limited representation of geography in these centers to date, and the context of this emerging interest. We argue that geographers bear a responsibility to extract The practical implications of their research We suggest that centers provide one way to do this. Potential contributions from the physical, biogeographical, cartographic and social fields to our discipline are considered, and the importance of teamwork bringing together these different disciplines is suggested. Particularly important, whether for applied agricultural research or the theoretical study of Third World agriculture, could be a critical development of the concept of 'sustainability'. Several thematic and conceptual building blocks are introduced for such a development.