We have spent the first years in Ngulia developing and deploying a smart-phone based command, control and communications (C3) system that digitalizes the workflow of the rangers. The C3 system includes the following components:
- An app for the rangers in the field, where they report direct and indirect rhino sightings, as well as security alerts for suspicious activities, such as footprints, fence breaches and weapons. Data security and robust connection to the network have been important goals.
- A backend with a flexible database for all reports, that will eventually also host sensor measurements and cloud computations for anomaly detections issuing alerts and analytics for off-line evaluations.
- A Dashboard where the commanders and researchers can see the reports from the field, the positions and patrols of the rangers, and other statistics of the system.
The development of the C3 system has been done in strategic phases where we have exclusively honed in on the needs of the rangers and the local conditions on the ground.
Sensor Fusion App
In the first phase, we leveraged a modified version of Linkoping's sensor fusion app, which was designed and developed with a grant that precedes project Ngulia and awarded in the name of Åke Svensson, previously CEO for SAAB and Teknikföretagen.
The platform for this version of the app was a Nexus 5 and produced very good trail logs of the ranger patrols, as well as logged radio measurements from the wireless network. As part of the outcome from this deployment, we discovered that the park had uneven and poor connectivity. Our project partner Airtel and Nokia, however, assisted us with tuning their network to enhance the coverage.
First ranger version
The first ranger version of the app was developed in partnership between Linköping university and iHub. Our teams worked collaboratively honing in on the needs of the rangers, officers and research teams at Ngulia and the broader Tsavo West National Park. Over the course of six months, we organized design and UX workshops, while fine tuning the app based on what we learned in the field. In September 2015 we deployed the app and dashboard and have carried out training and education ever since. Every month, we work with the park leadership to analyze the data.
Based on lessons learned from the field, Linköping university has deployed an updated version of the app that the rangers are currenlty using.