Today SpatialDev wrapped up its work with the AGCommons program. For those who aren’t familiar with the program it is an initiative to accelerate farmer productivity in sub-Saharan Africa by delivering more locationally relevant, accurate and timely information to small holder farmers. Essentially delivering location based agricultural information to some of the hardest to reach people on the planet.
Several members of our team has been working on this in conjunction with the CGIAR for over two years. From helping to forming the original concept with the Gates Foundation and ITC to delivering GIS and mapping technology to sub-Saharan Africa. The program direction ended as something completely different from what we started with but our team was still able to deliver a hybrid GeoServer & ArcGIS Server both sitting on PostGIS and hosted in the Amazon cloud. Along the way used Maps-On-A-Stick from the DevelopmentSeed, a GeoNetwork portal and DotGo & FrontlineSMS to build SMS interfaces to the spatial data. We we’re also able to directly meet hundreds of stakeholders including farmers, agricultural extension agents, NGOs and researchers across both East and West Africa. We hosted the first ever WhereCamp outside of the United States and had a great time.
The team decided mid way through the project that hosting and running everything from the United States and Europe made little sense and was ultimately not sustainable. Eventually we decided to set up a Kenyan based company to maintain the technology and build the program going forward. I’m happy to say that company is now in place and open for business in Africa as AGCommons.org.