2014: An Android app that maps the savannah for wildlife rangers
On the Director’s Fellows retreat in Kenya during May 2014, the students met with staff from Wildlife Works (located just outside of Tsavo National Park) to learn about how they track incidents of poaching and monitor biodiversity.
From conversations with Wildlife Works rangers, students learned that their team spends an inordinate amount of time recording data on paper, and then transcribing and uploading that data to computers. The Media Lab team thought that making it easier for rangers and scientists to collect, sync, and store data will give them more time to attend to other critical aspects of their work, such as tracking down poachers and educating community members about the value of protecting Kenya’s wildlife.
To support the Wildlife Works rangers in their work, director’s fellow David Kobia led a team at both the MIT Media Lab and the iHub in Nairobi to create a mobile data collection app that would help rangers spend less time collecting data and more time using it. This app allowed rangers to collect field data from incidents of poaching, trespassing, and coal logging, as well as logging flora and fauna. The team also created a phone case to make this data collection system suitable for use across the savannah.