An Indonesian crowdsourcing app has developed a game similar to Pokemon-Go which would help map land across the archipelago and protect forests and indigenous people. The application uses satellite images to create games where users visit an area and then answer simple questions on the type of land that they see and the function of the land, e.g., plantations, primary forests, etc.

The app developers are hoping to tap on the competitive spirit of its users. After you choose the kind of location you are interested in, your collect scores as you provide answers. People can compete with one another to upgrade their statuses and share their victory on social media. The data gathered will help improve land restoration efforts by governments and researchers and enable authorities to better protect forests and indigenous lands.

Read the full article on The Straits Times: Gotta catch ’em all: Pokemon-style app aims to save Indonesia’s forests

Analysis:

Currently, the only images available of the Indonesian forestry land are satellite images and it is very costly to acquire on the ground data about land use and vegetation. If this crowdsourcing effort is successful, both government and companies would be able to make better informed decisions on how to protect the land or to develop the land in a sustainable way.

Furthermore, this is a great way for users to learn about the environment and the forest landscapes. Beyond mere textbook learning, this app allows users to learn by observing their surroundings and to participate in the collection of data. The data collected will also be publicly available on its website. Efforts will be made to share the data with indigenous groups so that land conflicts can be minimised.

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. Do you think this app that seeks to crowdsource information about the forestry land use via a Pokemon-Go gaming platform would be successful? Why or why not? 
  2. What would incentivise you to collect information about your neighbourhoods?

Useful vocabulary: 

  1. ‘blight’: a thing that spoils or damages something
  2. ‘crowdsource’: obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet

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