Leveraging local knowledge to map and link agricultural plots to farmer practices
Linking spatial data on agricultural plots and their landscapes to survey data can shed light on sustainable agricultural practices among smallholders. These include things like fertilizer and pesticide use, the types of crops being grown and hours spent cultivating them, irrigation, and soil conservation. This information can inform sustainable development policies and help us tackle pressing issues like poverty, food security, land tenure, sustainable farming, and more. Accurate measurement is key to understanding how cultivation practices impact the welfare of individual farmers and their societies as a whole. But getting accurate measurements can be challenging.
Imagine you are a social scientist who is a guest in a farmer’s home. You have spent a good hour asking household members questions, and now you need to locate the farm plots they’ve told you about. But it would be too great an imposition to ask them to travel to the plots with you so that you can physically walk the fields to map them with a GPS device. Even requesting detailed directions would be asking a lot. So what do you do?