Design and implementation of an interactive web-based near real-time forest monitoring system

Pratihast, Arun Kumar; Vries, Ben de; Avitabile, Valerio; Bruin, Sytze De; Herold, Martin; Bergsma, Aldo


This paper describes an interactive web-based near real-time (NRT) forest monitoring system using four levels of geographic information services: 1) the acquisition of continuous data streams from satellite and community-based monitoring using mobile devices, 2) NRT forest disturbance detection based on satellite time-series, 3) presentation of forest disturbance data through a web-based application and social media and 4) interaction of the satellite based disturbance alerts with the end-user communities to enhance the collection of ground data. The system is developed using open source technologies and has been implemented together with local experts in the UNESCO Kafa Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. The results show that the system is able to provide easy access to information on forest change and considerably improves the collection and storage of ground observation by local experts. Social media leads to higher levels of user interaction and noticeably improves communication among stakeholders. Finally, an evaluation of the system confirms the usability of the system in Ethiopia. The implemented system can provide a foundation for an operational forest monitoring system at the national level for REDD+ MRV applications.