Crowdsourcing Real-Time Viral Disease and Pest Information: A Case of Nation-Wide Cassava Disease Surveillance in a Developing Country
Keywords:crowdsourcing, citizen science, human computation, mobile sensing, disease surveillance, cassava
In most developing countries, a huge proportion of the national food basket is supported by small subsistence agricultural systems. A major challenge to these systems is disease and pest attacks which have a devastating effect on the small-holder farmers that depend on these systems for their livelihoods. A key component of any proposed solution is a good disease surveillance network. However, current surveillance efforts are unable to provide sufficient data for monitoring such phenomena over a vast geographic area efficiently and effectively due to limited resources, both human and financial. Crowdsourcing with farmer crowds that have access to mobile phones offers a viable option to provide all year round real-time surveillance data on viral disease and pest incidence and severity. This work presents a mobile ad hoc surveillance system for monitoring viral diseases and pests in cassava. We present results from a pilot in Uganda where this system was deployed for 76 weeks. We discuss the participation behaviours of the crowds with mobile smartphones as well as the effects of several incentives applied.