What do butterflies, rising rivers, unstable mountainsides, and the Sherpas of the Everest region have in common? All were the focus of new knowledge tools and applications honoured in 2015 with ICIMOD’s ICT for Mountain Development Award, which recognizes the innovative use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support mountain development and conservation in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
From Earthwatch Institute India came the Butterflies and Bees App, which enables citizen scientists and students to use cell phones to identify butterflies and bees in the field, gaining a better understanding of important pollinators and their current status.
In Nepal, a collaborative effort called StoryCamp Everest created a virtual experience of the Everest region, blending Google Maps with panoramic images and the voices and stories of Sherpa people.
Two winning teams came from Bangladesh. One team focused on landslide risk reduction by combining local knowledge and historical information with geospatial techniques and tools to develop an online GIS-based early warning system for the Chittagong area. Another Bangladesh winning team devised a pair of new mobile services for flood early warning, one of which is top-down and passes information from national to local levels, while the other is bottom-up and conveys local water level data to the national level.
The annual competition is open to individuals and organizations, including universities, government- and donorfunded projects, the private sector and INGOs