AN OPEN-SOURCE MOBILE GEOSPATIAL PLATFORM FOR AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE MAPPING: A CASE STUDY OF WALL-TO-WALL FARM SYSTEMS MAPPING IN TONGA
- 1UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA, 6009, Australia
- 2School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
- 3Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forests (MAFF), Tonga
- 4School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEON), The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
Keywords: Open-Source, Geospatial, QField, QFieldCloud, ICT4D, Pacific Island Countries, Tonga, Agriculture
Abstract. Pacific Island Countries (PICs) such as Tonga rely on services provided by agricultural landscapes to support livelihoods, economic activity, and food security. At the same time these landscapes face numerous pressures and risks from factors such as environmental, climate, and market changes. Accurate, spatially explicit, and timely datasets on agricultural systems is required for an array of land and agricultural management tasks. Here, the development of an open-source ICT system providing geospatial tools for landscape monitoring, developed in collaboration between geospatial researchers and Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forests (MAFF), is presented. The agile and iterative ICT for Development (ICT4D) framework used to elicit MAFF’s requirements for the ICT system is presented alongside the system architecture and case studies demonstrating its impact. A key goal of the ICT4D development process was to develop an ICT system to support MAFF from transitioning from infrequent, paper-based farm surveys to coordinated, large-team, spatially explicit digital surveying augmented by tools for analysis and reporting. The mature system architecture which includes QField and QFieldCloud, and new open-source geospatial components for spatial visualisation, analysis, and reporting is presented. Case studies where the mature tool was used by MAFF’s are presented and include: (1) how a large survey team captured spatial data for >11,000 farms for country-wide farm monitoring; and (2) how the tool informed MAFF’s landscape decision making including recovery efforts after the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai volcano explosion. The success of the tool demonstrates the importance of stakeholder engagement and the great potential for open-source geospatial tools for landscape management and disaster response in PICs.