‘One Health Rabies Project’ under the supervision of Dr. Abi Vanak at ATREE aims to understand the spread and prevalence of rabies in free ranging canids in both the urban and the wild landscape. As a part of this project, various aspects of the canid ecosystem including parasitology, immunology, population dynamics, etc. will be studied in depth. The research is taking place in 2 primary regions; the savannah grasslands of Maharastra (Baramati) which will be our analog to rural and wild landscapes and Bangalore which will be our analog site for Urban landscapes.
Need for a unified data collection method:
Dog Population Enumeration is a part of the project that requires data to be collected on free ranging dogs from various sites. As the number of sites are geographically distant and also due to the high number of sample sites, we are using a big volunteer network. This creates a need for an unified data collection platform which allows multiple users to pool their observations in order to create a huge database. The ‘Open Data Kit’ has provided an excellent way to achieve these results.
We have been using the traditional ‘Mark and Resight’ method to estimate dog populations in 60 1 sqKm grids around bangalore, where the ‘Open Data Kit’ was first deployed. We collect data on individual dogs like; colour, sex, age, etc. along with several pictures, 4 times over 2 days. The data of each dog is then compared to check for any resights and total god populations are estimated. The platform offers versatile options for collecting data in the form of GPS coordinates, Pictures, and many more, while offering complete customizability and ease of use.
Scope for Further Development:
The fact that the platform can be deployed using any smart device is in fact a great advancement, keeping up with evolving technology. However, during usage, we have noticed certain discrepancies in the derivative android apps from ODK. Loss of data mid survey or during uploads to the ODK server seems to be a tiny but problematic issue. Improvement to the stability of the android app and addition of a few more features such as Asynchronous GPS tracking, in the original app, alleviating the need to the looks for 3rd party apps will reinforce the ‘Open Data Kit’ as the future platform for data collection.