Supporting the Monitoring of Cheetahs in Kenya by Mobile Map Apps

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is Africa’s most endangered large felid. In Kenya, cheetahs are extirpated from 25% of their historic range with 75% of the population residing outside protected areas. Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK) endeavours to understand cheetah ecology and threats in human-dominated landscapes. The NGO is a suitable candidate for benefitting from the development and deployment of mobile map apps on smartphones to support the monitoring of species, also by so-called citizen scientists. The apps enable a digital workflow of data collection, transfer and analysis. This paper describes the process of developing custom mobile map apps from the conceptualizing of a system from data collection to data storage. We discuss the implementation as well as on the ground testing which included a usability study. The software environment from Esri’s platform tools were used but aiming at a low-cost solution which supports both secure monitoring in the field and the management of sensitive data. Due to hardware constraints the implemented system cannot be considered a state-of-the art version, but for ACK it is a big step towards digital data collection by means of an app family and data management in a database. A Web frontend allows for input on cheetah sightings also from outside the organization and serves the purpose of visualizing observation efforts for potential donors. While software development took place mainly in Germany, the usability study following the installation of the mobile app monitoring system targeted twelve ACK staff members on the ground in Kenya. Before the testing the users expected faster and less work in particular in the field and an easier reporting to office staff and streamlined data collection. After testing the mobile apps or the data management routines, answers shifted to pointing out benefits of faster data transfer and in-time data access. The evaluation provided valuable insights in the needs for reaching a routine level and high quality data recording and management.


Species monitoring App development Data management Usability study Nature conservation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty for Information Management and Media (IMM)Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK)NairobiKenya

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