reuters.com - by Joseph D'Urso
. . . For a two week trial, researchers employed locals to scoot around the province on small motorbikes known as okadas, collecting household, health and population data from villages on simple smartphones.
They travelled in pairs, one riding the motorbike and one using a GPS-enabled smartphone running an Android operating system, preloaded with a specially designed, simple programme for storing the necessary information.
When they arrived in a village they interviewed a village leader or representative to gather as much information as possible, and log GPS coordinates, essential in a region where village names are often duplicated or spelt differently.
Nic Lochlainn said it takes a long time to learn to use the sophisticated satellite devices usually used for mapping but users could master this software in hours and the data let experts assign Ebola cases to specific villages more accurately.
The scheme covered 950 villages in two weeks, and the cost was "very modest" compared with sending foreign aid workers into the field or commissioning detailed satellite imagery, she said.
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