GEO Indigenous Hack4Covid: “maps bring us closer, even when we’re apart” – Visibilidade

South America Photo by Sara Riaño on Unsplash

At the Indigenous Hack4COVID Hackaton, a joint first place winning entry was made by Team Visibilidade. The entry was submitted by Douglas Mbura and Rasha Elnimeiry of Kenya and Sudan, respectively. The team solved the Visibilidade challenge submitted by Claudinete Cole de Souza to develop a visualisation tool that will allow the Quilombola communities to tell a story of how COVID19 is affecting their communities in Brazil. In solving the challenge, the team created an app that would help the “Quilombola community in Brazil to share with the rest of the world their story (using story maps) as well as the data which they collect using ODK (through a visual dashboard).” This will allow for easy integration of more data layers already collected by the Quilombola community, as the community has been collecting over 24 layers of socio-economic and health-related data using their mobile phones and Open Data Kit since 2017. 

In this joint interview session with the innovators, they discussion their invention.

Can you give us an overview of the project

The project involves solving the following challenge: A visualisation tool that will allow the Quilombola Community to tell a story of how COVID-19 is affecting their Community- allowing the Community to be visible.

About the Quilombola Community: Experts in collecting and interpreting data, the Quilombola Community has been collecting over 24 layers of socio-economic and health-related data using their mobile phones and Open Data Kit since 2017. The Community has started collecting socio-economic and health data related to COVID-19 and having the Visibility App as a visualisation tool will allow the Community to share their story with the rest of the world, local government agencies and to leverage outside support and access public policies.

Project & Solution: Visibility App: An interactive story-map and data visualization tool that will help the Quilombola Community to communicate their data story with the rest of the world–shining a light on their health, economic, cultural and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visibility App Features

With the app, you can view and customize maps with pictures, sound/music track, text and descriptions, and data/figures for COVID-19 cases to help the Quilombola Community become visible to the rest of the world. Super easy to use. Compatible with ODK (Open Data Kit) and Google Earth Pro (which will allow for easy integration of more data layers already collected by the Quilombola community).

How being a HACK4COVID winner has impacted your innovation

This project has opened a whole new world of challenges and opportunities to us – a realization that indeed maps bring us closer, even when we’re apart. Being a part of GEO Indigenous HACK4COVID winners has allowed us to serve the global community even if we are distant during this challenging time, to think creatively, gain mentorship and collaborate with other winning teams for a common purpose, and learn about and from the Quilombola Community and indigenous communities around the world.

What level of support, or otherwise have you gotten since the end of the event?

Since the end of the event, we have been exposed to many aspects of principle and technology regarding data, mapping and indigenous peoples. We have had the privilege of working remotely, but closely, with The Amazon Conservation Team (ECAM) – a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the biological resources of the Amazon and the people who live there. ECAM has committed a lot of time and resources to help us during (the) design, development and even deployment period of this application.

Diana Mastracci-Sanchez Founder of Space4Innovation and organizer for the GEO Indigenous HACK4COVID has been instrumental in guiding us and providing mentorship during, after and throughout the project.

We have also had the opportunity of meeting experts from the Google Outreach team who have shared with us invaluable insights and who have committed to continue empowering us to create positive change for people and the planet using this tool.

In addition, in a couple of weeks, we are going to receive mentorship on the protection of Indigenous/traditional knowledge and the CARE Principles of indigenous Data Governance by the Global Indigenous Data Alliance.

We are very grateful for all these experiences that we’ve had so far. Frankly, it’s been incredible and we’re thankful because you don’t get this level of support from any rehashed and regurgitated Hackathon or program anywhere in the world

What are your future projections for the project?

This project has opened a whole new world of challenges and opportunities to us – a realization that indeed maps bring us closer, even when we’re apart.

We are grateful for this experience and opportunity and our immediate assignment after this is to customize the application so that it can be adopted by the Surui Paiter community.

The Surui of Randonia (who call themselves Paiter, which means “the true people, we ourselves”) had also submitted a request to have a similar tool like the one we’ve built for the Quilombola community.

Our long-term plan to have this application available to all communities, who need it, in all languages- which we know it’s not easy but we’re willing to make this our lifetime project.

 

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New Report: The 2020 Edition of African Space Industry Annual Report is now available. It presents data and analyses on projects, deals, partnership and investments across the continent. It also provides analyses on the growing demand for space technologies and data on the continent, the business opportunities it offers and the necessary regulatory environment in the various countries.

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