The rapid increase in anthropogenic nitrogen emissions to the atmosphere is matter of concern for the environment, as these may lead to photochemical air pollution, reduced visibility, eutrophication of surface waters, changes in biodiversity, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, and global warming. In this study, ambient emissions of reactive nitrogen (ammonia and nitrous oxide) from animal and crop farming are analyzed for the base year 2003. This objective was achieved by the systematic development of a spatially resolved emissions inventory on a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform. Emissions of ammonia (NH 3) and nitrous oxide (N 2O) were estimated: (i) from livestock; 1705-Gg/yr and 214-Gg-yr -1 and (ii) fertilizer applications; 2697-Gg-yr -1 and 326-Gg-yr -1. These estimated emissions were compared and contrasted with global, U.S., and European emissions of reactive nitrogen; emissions from India were second only to China. From the spatially resolved emission inventory, it was observed that the state of Uttar Pradesh has the highest NH 3 emission (522-Gg-yr -1) followed by the state of Maharashtra (425-Gg-yr -1) both from animal and crop farming. Similarly the State of Uttar Pradesh has the highest N 2O emission (70-Gg-yr -1) followed by the state of Maharashtra (47-Gg-yr -1). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.