“Oh, there are grasshoppers in northern Kenya,” said Mr. Cressman. “We need latitude and longitude coordinates in real time.”
Instead of trying to rewrite grasshopper tracking software for newer tablets, Mr. Cressman thinks it would be more efficient to create a simple smartphone app that allows anyone to collect data as one. expert. He contacted Dr. Hughes, who created a similar mobile tool with the Food and Agriculture Organization to track a devastating crop pest, a fall pest, via PlantVillage, run by him. establish.
PlantVillage’s app uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help farmers in 60 countries, mainly in Africa, diagnose problems in their fields. Borrowing from this blueprint, Dr. Hughes and his colleagues completed a new application, eLocust3m, in just one month.
Unlike the previous tablet-based program, anyone with a smartphone can use eLocust3m. The application presents pictures of grasshoppers at different stages in their life cycle, helping users diagnose what they see in the field. GPS coordinates are automatically captured and the algorithms double-checked the photos sent with each entry. Garmin International has also helped with another program that works on satellite devices.
“The app is really easy to use,” said PlantVillage’s Jeptoo. Last year, she recruited and trained locust followers in four difficult areas of Kenya. “We have spies who are 40 to 50 years old, and they can even use it.”
Last year, more than 240,000 locust records poured in from East Africa, collected by PlantVillage scouts, government-trained staff and citizens. But that is only the first step. Next countries need to act on data systematically to prevent scratching. However, for the first few months, officials are strategizing “the back of the envelopes,” Mr. Cressman said, and the entire area has only four planes to spray pesticides.
When Batian Craig, the director of 51 Degrees, a security and logistics company focused on wildlife protection, sees Mr. Cressman quoted in a scratching news story, he realizes himself. can help.