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GIS-based website traces bananas

Germany: The website (https://banana.mappr.info), developed by Philippe Rieffel, a student of applied geography at the University of Münster, Germany, under supervision of scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), aims to make a wide range of reliable spatial information on banana readily available to researchers, policy makers and development workers.

According to Hein Bouwmeester, a Tanzania-based GIS specialist with IITA, currently the website is focusing on banana-growing areas in Africa but if successful, will expand to include the whole world. He said the website was developed entirely with open source software and uses “crowdsourcing” to build onto an existing geo-database.

“The idea behind ‘crowdsourcing’ is that currently there is no accurate geospatial data on bananas in Africa. So, the platform will ‘outsource’ these data from the ‘crowd’ of local experts in Africa,” Bouwmeester said. “The core of the website is the editor that enables a user to view and edit banana growing areas and define their characteristics.”

The platform comes in handy as scientists are grappling with the spread of two deadly diseases that are ravaging the crop and threatening the livelihood of millions of farmers. These are the Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) and the viral Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD).

Source: afrol News