EarthRanger creates easy access to this data for conservation workers by combining it in a continuously updated map. Developed by Vulcan, the free software system is used in more than 130 conservation areas across 34 countries. Finding Chilunda is just one of the many ways that EarthRanger is protecting people and wildlife. The tool also aids with endangerment issues like poaching, illegal logging, and human-wildlife conflict in iconic landscapes—from the Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Reserve to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.
When EarthRanger was first built, it provided users with a comprehensive view of everything happening within their conservation area. But it missed the ability to expand and explore data through charts, tables, and reports that organizations needed to glean important insights and take action.
“Protected area managers and rangers kept telling us that they were collecting the data and using it to plan patrols or respond to poaching incidents,” said EarthRanger Director, Jes Lefcourt. “But they also needed the ability to look deeper into the data and conduct more elaborate analysis in order to become a more data-driven organization.”
The EarthRanger team didn’t have to look far to fill this gap. Across town, they knew Tableau could supercharge the way conservationists, rangers, and reserve managers use, analyze, and understand their data. Through a partnership with Tableau Foundation
, Tableau is now directly embedded into EarthRanger, providing analysis and reporting functions to all users. Since the collaboration began, 200 people from 40 conservation organizations are now creating custom Tableau reports and dashboards to transform how they solve conservation problems.
“Tableau is designed to make vast amounts of data visible and actionable,” said Neal Myrick, Global Head of Tableau Foundation. “It’s exciting to see the platform being used to bring together this critical data and enable the park rangers to drive innovative solutions to conservation issues. It’s taking data out of the typical, back-office setting and putting it in the hands of people who are on the ground, doing the work.”
Empowering local communities and improving quality of life
Among one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, Gorongosa National Park
in the heart of central Mozambique is perhaps Africa’s greatest wildlife restoration story. Decimated by the country’s 16-year civil war, the park rebounded by balancing the needs of wildlife and people. While EarthRanger helps keep wildlife and people safe, Tableau makes it easier for them to explore and manage the data needed to empower local communities and improve their quality of life.
In February, Gorongosa began a pilot project to provide community members with clean and efficient cookstoves, designed to reduce pressure on forests for fuel while bringing health and economic benefits to families. The park created several, real-time dashboards that track the project rollout. Some dashboards provide a general summary (e.g., the number of registrations per day), while others deliver more insightful analysis (e.g., where households are, an estimate of how long it takes to acquire firewood, and how many people are helping gather it). With this information, they better understand what pressures are put on the forest and where to focus future cookstove efforts that will improve life—for nature and people.