Design a GPS-based Field-mapping Android App to Help Empower Farmers in Myanmar

Benefits: IDEO.org
Education

About the Challenge

At IDEO.org, we believe that the most potent weapon against global poverty is design. The solutions, systems, and social innovation that arise from truly understanding and designing alongside people are the most likely to offer hope and improve lives. We’re currently working in Myanmar where we are building services that support better decision-making and achieve optimal product outcomes.

Our Challenge

Design a field-mapping app that allows farmers to better understand their land. The app should guide someone through walking the perimeter of a plot and walking around each crop and plot within. Each plot should have data associated with it, including precise acreage and inputs to calculate the right amount of fertilizer and seeds needed for optimal yields.

Examples of good solutions might incorporate:

  • Data sources on a variety of different crops that are farmed in Myanmar
  • Clear and simple user interface
  • An input (fertilizer, water, seeds, etc.) calculator for each type of crop and/or plot
  • Tools to help farmers plan scheduling and crop management

After prototyping in Myanmar, we saw a clear need and desire for this service. Currently, farmers find it hard to know the layout of their farms, and even if they do, they have trouble communicating that to suppliers and other stakeholders. Using technology, we can help farmers make better choices, save money, and improve yields. We want to test this as a tool to help farmers set up their farms as well as an input recommendation engine.

Things to Think About

Irregularity in Field Types
While thinking about an input recommendation engine based on proximity, you should also think through difference in field types. Some factors that you may want to think about are different shaped plots, varied soil types or quality, unleveled land, etc.

Poor Network Connectivity
Some areas where farmers work have sporadic connectivity.

Sharing Plot Information
Farmers would be able to share the visualization of their plot with suppliers and other stakeholders.

Multiple Crop Types
For some farmers, crops are mixed together in one plot and different strains of the same crop can require different levels of resources. You may also want to consider long-term issues such as crop rotation and strain on sustainability of the land.

Resources
Additional blog posts on topic
Google Earth API
Myanmar Agriculture Profile
Farming in Myanmar
Simulating poor network connectivity on Android (see -netdelay and -netspeed)
Getting Last Known Location on Android
Google Location API
Chart + Map library for mobile