Humanitarian organizations need our help in identifying all of the short and long-term impacts of major disasters. Assessing the damage to agriculture in particular is very important because of the millions of people around the world relying on it for their livelihoods and well being. Identifying which communities have been most affected allows humanitarian organizations to more quickly provide aid.
This Digital Humanitarian expedition will evaluate the impact of disasters on Philippines' coconut trees, which play an important role in the country’s economy. Millions of coconut trees were destroyed as a result of Typhoon Haiyan and other recent disasters. These trees can eventually rot, which leads to Rhinoceros Beetle infestations. This can destroy healthy trees and could potentially wipe out the country’s entire coconut industry!
While identifying the hardest-hit areas after a disaster is very important for disaster responders, they are often overwhelmed by all the information that needs to be analyzed to carry out disaster damage assessments.
This is where we come in!
Our partners at SkyEye, a local Filipino group in Manila, use small remote-controlled airplanes to take photographs of disaster-affected regions from the air. They recently took thousands of pictures of agricultural areas and need our help to identify which coconut trees in these photographs have been damaged so they can share the results with our humanitarian partners.
Manually identifying every single coconut tree that is destroyed can take a lot of time, which humanitarian organizations do not have during major disasters. So our partners at Simon Fraser University in Canada will use the results of our expedition to create an algorithm to automatically identify destroyed coconut trees in the future. But they need the results from our expedition to do this.
So our expedition will solve two important problems: 1) enable humanitarian organizations to measure the continuing, long-term impact of disasters on agriculture in the Philippines; and 2) enable humanitarian organization to automatically assess the impact of disasters on agriculture in tropical countries around the world.
Being a Digital Humanitarian is very easy! In this expedition you will use a tool called MicroMappers to trace healthy and damaged coconut tree trunks. Your contribution will be used to create a machine algorithm to test this in the future. We have a tutorial video and some guides to help your mission:
Only coconut tree trunks should be traced:
Examples of healthy trees with visible trunks:
When tracing a trunk, we first click on the bottom part of the trunk (near the roots of the tree) and then draw a line to the top of the trunk (near the leaves or where the leaves should be). Red lines indicate damaged coconut trees (broken branches, laying down) and blue links indicate healthy coconut trees (standing upright). Note: If there green fronds (leaves) on trees that appear to be laying down, then these might be standing healthy trees. If you are unsure if the tree is healthy or damaged, leave it out.
Damaged trees traced right:
Example of a damaged tree:
And remember, both directly visible standing trunks and those that are lying down should be traced. Don’t worry if you can’t see the trunks of coconut trees if they’re obscured, trace only trees that are visibly identified as healthy or damaged. The top of the trunk might be obscured by branches, if you can decipher where it would stop then please mark, if not please omit.
Picture with no visible trunks (Remember, only tag the trunk if you see it in its entirety):
Click the “No trunks here” button in this case.
Only tag coconut tree trunks. There may be other trees felled by the storms - do not tag them. Here’s an example of what those might look like:
UAVs are not yet perfect. As a result, some of the images are badly distorted. Do not tag any distorted trunks!
Some final tips before your expedition!