Real time mapping with SMS where there is no internet

Lambert Marie-Julie

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In the Sahel, the survival of pastoral and transhumant communities depends directly on the access to water and pasture for their livestock. The availability of these resources is mostly influenced by the erratic rainfall conditions that characterize the Sahelian climate. To reduce the vulnerability to critical events, pastoral communities need access to reliable information on pasture, water, climate, animals’ concentration and disease outbreaks. As they live and move in areas with poor to no internet connection, Action Against Hunger (ACF) developed a system where data is collected from herders using a Telerivet SMS gateway and stored in a cloud environment. An automated script then geocodes the responses and creates a shapefile for each survey, ready to be plugged into QGIS for analysis. Currently 109 focal point nomadic herdsmen are spread over 4 Sahelian countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger) to collect and inform more than 18 core indicators on the pastoral situation. Cartographic data is then published on a public and open source web platform and transmitted to herders through radio broadcasts.