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introduction

DESIGNING MAPPING TOOLS FOR CONSERVATIONISM

 

Note: Atlas is currently a work in progress. All work is not finalized

My work on Atlas is the result of an ongoing conversation with an American based Anti-Poaching Organization (the organization wishes to remain unnamed) that trains park rangers in classrooms and field operations throughout national parks in Africa to disrupt local poaching activities. Inquiring on the role of technology in species conservation, conversation began in Spring 2015, and has been ongoing since, taking incremental steps to gather insights, conduct research, and build relationships. After an audit of The Organization's operational pipeline, we decided to explore the possibility of using commonly used and commercially available technology to help facilitate the park ranger's mission planning.

THE OPERATIONAL PIPELINE

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Formerly, many mission plans were collaboratively drafted by combining the local intelligence of the park rangers, and operational know-how of the anti-poaching cadre. Often these plans were drawn on physical maps in open air classrooms. However, using physical maps in this process had many issues. Maps were commonly damaged, lost, not easily duplicated, or edited beyond legibility. All members of the team had to be physically present to discuss plans, study the maps and cooperate in operational planning.  Designing a mapping tool to help facilitate operational planning was my goal. 

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DESIGN GOALS

  • Improve team collaboration

  • Enhance editing capabilities

  • Improve scalability (replication, version control, security implementation)

  • Have data point entry be entirely modular (dependent on the intent of the operation) 

 

POINT ENTRY system

TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION

 

Concept 1, Manual Point Entry:  Designing a modular point entry system to accommodate for all the potential input possibilities was a challenging task. In early drafts, I designed a system to enable users to manually input all point details so point entry could be as granular as possible. However, manual point detail entry would require teams to systematically decide how to classify points, what details to include on point entry, and standardize the content of data point entry. While this method would enable users to have entirely modular data point entries, this practice would reduce team efficiency in operational planning, and arguably be adding more confusion to the mapping process. 

Concept 2, Taxonomic Classification: Recognizing the need for a classification system to help users group similar points and standardize point details, I looked to biological taxonomy to see how incredibly complex systems of organism classification is organized. Utilizing a taxonomic hierarchy, points could be entered by class, sub-class, type and then further distinguished with additional details. With this hierarchical classification, points could be categorized, point entry could be simplified, and users could later utilize this classification to search and filter for points by class, sub-class, type and detail. 

Note: Current design includes four tiers of classification, however further iterations could include more to improve point entry specification. 

 
 

POINT TAXONOMIC CLASSIFICATION UI

 

WIREFRAMES

CONCEPT SKETCHES & ROUGH WIREFRAMING

 
 

Refined Wireframes

 

FINAL SCREENS

SPLASH & AUTHENTICATION SCREENS

 
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CREATE MAP

 

MAP MENU

 

DATA POINT DETAIL ENTRY

 

DATA POINT VIEWER

 

DATA POINT QUICK-VIEW

 

USER PROFILE & MAP MENU SIDE PANEL

 

TEAM MESSAGING

 

DATA POINT OVERVIEW OVER TIME

 
 

RESEARCH overview

THE POACHING ECOSYSTEM

 

Over the course of my conversations with the anti-poaching organization, I conducted research on the poaching ecosystem to better understand the actors, motivations and history of this black market industry.  The multitude of reasons for why people poach are as numerous and varying as the species poached themselves. While individuals and independent poaching networks all vary in their reasons and purposes for poaching, some overarching generalizations can be understood about poachers and most poaching networks.

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IVORY MARKET TIMELINE

GENERAL IVORY VALUE

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THE POACHING TEAMS

GENERAL STRUCTURE FOR POACHING TEAMS

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THE POACHERS

Poachers illegally kill animals for numerous reasons. Many motives are immoral or illegal, but also many poach for morally sound and self sustaining reasons. Here is a short list of some groups of people who are considered poachers and their motivations for doing so.

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CURRENT ANTI POACHING TACTICS

The war on poaching is a comprehensive effort. Intercepting poachers in the field is not the only approach being done to end poaching. Shipment seizures, social campaigns, offensive financial destabilization, and legislation are some of the ways poaching is being confronted. Here are a few other methods being implemented in the field to disrupt poaching.

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