QED is Mapping Nigeria to Reduce Conflict Between Farmers and Herders

Quantitative Engineering Design (QED), a data systems company has announced that its latest maps project will be effective towards reducing farmer and herders conflict in Nigeria. The disclosure was made by Dr William Wu, the Co-Founder of QED at a one-week webinar organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria and World Bank, tagged; Nigeria Space Program: Earth Observation for Public Good. The fourth webinar day featured presentations from International partners, one of which was QED. 

Dr Wu’s paper was titled ‘Data systems and AI for agriculture and health’, and he explained how SDGs 3 (Good health and well-being), 2 (Zero hunger), 15 (Life on land), 6 (Clean water and sanitation) and 17 (Partnership for the goals) can be achieved with accurate data.

QED is described as building data systems and AI for health and agriculture. The Geospatial intelligence maps project involves QED using artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to enable governments, international development organizations, and the private sector to make sense of land-use at regional and national levels. The data gathered by the organisation is used to map croplands, understand farming footprints to help government and private enterprises understand Nigeria’s agriculture economy. 

Using this data, Dr Wu said, will help the Nigerian government to understand farming patterns across the country, to locate cattle herder settlements and to drive a friendly system for farmers and herders to thrive without having to clash over their produce. QED’s plot segmentation helps to distinguish between neighbouring plots of different classes.

Dr Wu appreciated the support from Nigeria’s ministry of agriculture, while also stressing the need for other institutions to consider geospatial data in their operations. He acknowledged that they accessed data from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan –which the institution has collected between 2000 and 2020– to enhance their data gathering.

Although the company has gathered massive data for cropland mapping, Dr Wu stressed that they are still undergoing data collection and surveys to improve the maps for easier use. The final maps will be open access to foster agricultural development in the country.

After his session, Google representatives made presentations on how Google Earth has been effective in helping communities during the coronavirus restrictions around the world. Titi Akinsami, Policy and Government Relations Lead for West and Francophone Africa at Google, added that Google is working on an African themed mapping system that will provide a solution for addresses around the continent. This is imperative as many homes around the continent do not have addresses specific to them located on Maps, thereby forcing people to use landmarks instead. The scaled addressing has been effected in Kolkata, India; Tselankai Dezza, Utah; Sao Paulo and will soon become commonplace. Google has also made public, data gathered on how communities moved due to the pandemic, and the data can be used for development projects. 

Day four of the event ended afterwards. The webinar continues today with closing rounds from the World Bank.