The Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) mobile applications are now publicly available on Google play. This comes 18 months after the design, development and testing of the first two applications: LandInfo and LandCover. These innovative mobile data collection and analysis tools support local land management and land use planning to optimize food security, land restoration, and climate change adaptation programs.
The LandInfo application allows users to enter point-specific information about soil texture, topography and easily observable soil properties. It provides free cloud storage and sharing, and allows the app to return site-specific data including temperature, rainfall, estimated amount of water the soil can store for plants, and growing season length. The LandCover application functions via the stick method in assessing vegetation cover and structure of
pastureland. The outputs of the Land cover provide important information such as percentages of bare ground and vegetation cover, which is important in rangeland health monitoring.
“ATPS has been supporting the development of the LandPKS through field work and data collection and is now looking forward to creating awareness, building the capacity of stakeholders including farmers, rural development planners, policy makers, and extension workers, and mobilizing policy supports on the use of the applications as a tool for farm decision making and land use planning,” said Dr. Nicholas Ozor the Ag. Executive Director at ATPS.
Speaking during the official launch of the LandPKS tools and public release at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) on Wednesday, 22nd April 2015, Dr. Ozor welcomed and appreciated the support of all the delegates who were drawn from the academia, civil society and policy-making institutions.
“The launch of LandPKS is a step forward in reducing food insecurity and environmental degradation challenges,” emphasized Dr. Hussein Farah the Director RCMRD. He was pleased with the good turn out of the invited delegates and as the host he officially welcomed them.
Further, Dr. Patrick Wargute the Director The Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources – Kenya, stated that the LandPKS will go a long way in land rehabilitation, climate change adaptation, enhancing food security, and in sustaining ecosystem based adaptations.
Mr. Robinson Mugo of SERVIR- Eastern and Southern Africa brought the project into perspective and informed delegates that “SERVIR is about connecting space technology and science in the village.” He further explained that, the LandPKS will globalize access to knowledge and information about land potential for governments and communities, it will also identify the knowledge and information to each type of land and soil and connect people with similar types of lands and challenges with each other.
In addition, Dr. Adam Beh from United States Department of Agriculture -Agricultural Research Service (USDA- ARS) presented the project and demonstrated how the App works. “ The LandPKS App is now available on Google play store on Android platform however with time we shall ensure that it is available on I-phone, windows and other platforms” he re-affirmed. He went further to explain that LandPKS is a knowledge engine supported by global databases and models.
The LandPKS team has developed a cloud-based, land potential knowledge system powered by geospatial datasets that allows the potential of land to be defined explicitly and dynamically for unique and constantly changing soil and climate conditions. The knowledge engine, together with mobile phone and cloud computing technologies, will also facilitate more rapid and complete integration and dissemination of local and scientific knowledge about sustainable land management.
The flow of data in the LandPKS system starts with site data that is collected from the field via mobile phone applications. The users’ input data are combined with geospatial data collected based on user location to run simulation models of potential soil productivity and erosion risk. Simulation results are used to create customized outputs that are returned to the user via the mobile application. The LandPKS strategy is efficient, easy to use and provides actionable information with modular, hierarchical (drill down to increasingly complex inputs and output) and open source, it complements and leverages related efforts like; ISCRIC, Africa soil Information Service (AfSIS), Vitalsigns, World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), United Nations Convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD), JournalMap.Org among others.
The launch of the app marks the start of connecting knowledge and information that already exists and can be uploaded therefore allowing land owners all over the globe to use their land to the fullest potential. The represented organizations including primary partners and field collaborators consisted of; Regional centre for mapping of resources for development (RCMRD), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), united Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), , SERVIR-Eastern and Southern Africa, United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA- ARS), Department of Resources Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources – Kenya, NASA, Ministry of agriculture livestock and fisheries- Kenya , Kenyatta University ( KU), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) among others.
For further information about this app and for collaborative opportunities, please contact:
The Executive Director,
African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS),
3rd Floor, The Chancery Building, Valley Road,
P.O. Box 10081- 00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya,
Telephone: +254 (0) 20-2714092;
Mobile: +254 (0) 713 161 928; Fax +254-20-2714028