As part of the call for proposals for grants for small technical projects, IDS KS funded developers, Gebre Wallace, Matthew McNaughton and Jonathon Smith of the Caribbean Open Institute (COI), which is housed Mona School Of Business, University Of The West Indies, Jamaica, to develop a tablet application Agricultural Research Evidence Assistant (AREA).
The Agriculture Research-based Evidence Assistant (AREA) is an innovative Android tablet application that combines the academic research found in the IDS KS API, with related agricultural data indicators in the World Bank Open Data API, and current events and news trends, powered by Microsoft’s Bing News Search API. The goal of the app is provide multi-tiered access to information, in the form of research publications, macro statistics and current events, to provide a novel approach to evidence-based decision making.
AREA specifically targets professionals, policy makers, and academics with interests in the agriculture domain, providing mobile and on-demand visual access and representation of thematic indicators related to agriculture, such as production yields, arable land, rural population percentages, both on a national levels as well as country comparisons.
The team were responding to a direct need as they had been involved in the first Jamaican open data initiative, which centred around a collaboration with the Ministry Of Agriculture (MOA). The team saw first-hand how greater access to agricultural information could be utilized by a number of ministry stakeholders, ranging from farmers who utilized price information to managers who could use data aggregates to visualize the whole sector.
Extending the application in the future is possible. Areas that could be added are: adding additonal data sets (perhaps single niche datasets or perhaps an array of general sets to provide a “Research Assistant” functionality), including other World Bank indicators and visualisations.