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Publication Detail
Making local knowledge matter: Supporting non-literate people to monitor poaching in Congo
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Vitos M, Stevens M, Lewis J, Haklay M
  • Publisher:
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
    New York, NY, USA
  • ISBN-13:
  • Status:
  • Name of conference:
    Third Annual Symposium on Computing for Development (ACM DEV 2013)
  • Conference place:
    Bangalore, India
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
  • Keywords:
    citizen science, mobile sensing, development, conservation, natural resource management, social-environmental justice
This paper describes a project initiated by non-literate indigenous people to equip their own “citizen scientists” with rugged smartphones running adapted software that enable them to share some of their detailed environmental knowledge in ways that improve the sustainable management of their forest. Supporting local people to share their environmental knowledge in scientifically valid and strategically targeted ways can lead to improvement in environmental governance, environmental justice and management practices. Mbendjele hunter-gatherers in the rainforests of Congo are working together with the ExCiteS Research Group at University College London to make their local knowledge about commercial hunters’ activities improve the control of commercial hunters and diminish the harassment they often experience at the hands of “eco-guards” who enforce hunting regulations. Developing and deploying a system for non-literate users introduces a range of challenges that we have tried to solve. Our Anti-Poaching data collection platform, running on Android smartphones, is based on a decision tree of pictorial icons and employs various smartphone sensors to augment observations. We describe its development here.
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