A Check-in on SMART Implementation in Volcanoes National Park

Blog | 9/10/23

The adoption of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool is taking shape in the Volcanoes National Park. Rangers and their supervisors reveal that SMART connect is making their jobs easier for instance data collection, ranger- based monitoring and reporting have become less cumbersome and instant now. This is beginning to inform and improve park monitoring and decision making. Commenting on the innovation, Jean Damascene Hakizimana, the Research and Monitoring Warden at Volcanoes National Park reveals that, “the SMART tool has helped us transition from the tedious and time-consuming paper-based data collection to an advanced timely data collection. The tool gives us the security that our data is accurate and well stored as well.”

Hakizimana adds that although the tool is being adopted well, a couple of gaps remain, for example the team’s unfamiliarity with using the technology.

Eustrate Uzabaho, IGCP Field Officer explains that a few steps are remaining to have SMART connect fully operational, for instance completely migrating the system to the new data management platform.  “Once it is complete Volcanoes National Park will be able to effectively use SMART as a tool for adaptive management,” Eustrate says.

The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) aims at improving data collection methods from the usual paper based Global Positioning System (GPS) to an electronic method that will facilitate timely transfer and accuracy of monitoring data. Since its launch in Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area in 2015, the SMART tool has helped in aspects of adoptive management such as deploying extra patrol teams in park interiors and speeding up of data cleaning. Also Park managers’ capacity has improved and they can now train fellow field staff.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We recognise that the earth's survival is dependent on humanity's ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.