Mapping Soil Conditions in Africa with ODK and AfSIS

1 minute read

The Globally Integrated Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) is a large-scale, research-based project that is building on recent advances in digital soil mapping, infrared spectroscopy, remote sensing, statistics, integrated soil fertility management, and information and communication technologies.

Enumerator entering data into ODK

Eric Couper, the ICT & Agriculture Coordinator of AfSIS writes, _“We are currently researching the agricultural input/output relationship and existing agricultural information flows in the Kisongo, Musa, and Mateves wards, just west of Arusha, Tanzania. When paired with soil data that AfSIS has previously collected, AfSIS’s data can be used by the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, other agricultural research organizations, and NGOs to inform their work and recommendations.</p>

The team recently trained four agricultural extension officers on the use of ODK and began using both mobile phones and tablets to conduct their survey. They used Xls2XForm to generate its survey, and they are using a custom Django-based application for receiving and displaying their data, both developed by Columbia University’s Modi Research Group, an AfSIS partner.

To manage logistical challenges of their geo-spatially randomized survey procedure, AfSIS has adopted Android apps, Locus Free (navigation) and Distance and Area Measurement (area measurement). AfSIS will explore how well these apps work in conjunction with ODK survey procedures.

In the medium term, AfSIS will be developing a short and focused, broadly-applicable, and easily-adopted package of resources (including training materials, existing survey, back-end web support, etc.) for other organizations with similar research questions.”</em>

AfSIS will be documenting its progress here and they have lots of photos online.

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