Virtual reality for tourism, a crop database, a landslide warning system, and documentaries on Himalayan environments… these four topics took home top prizes from ICIMOD’s third annual ICT for Mountain Development Award.
The ICT for Mountain Development Award is handed out each year on the occasion of International Mountain Day to recognize and honor achievements in ICT-enabled innovations and practices that promote environmental sustainability and mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).
This year, ICIMOD received 29 submissions in five categories: water, livelihoods, ecosystem services, geospatial solutions, and Other. The competitors include a wide array of institutions including universities, donor-funded projects, and government-based initiatives. Each of the winners selected this year (details below) received $250 for their efforts.
The 2016 winners – two from India, one from Nepal, one from Pakistan – were selected for working on projects that can inform and/or be replicated in mountain communities to improve safety and living standards.
Pragya India, in collaboration with Pragya UK, has developed a comprehensive, accessible crop advisory database designed for online and offline use by agricultural extension workers and smallholding farmers. The database enables farmers to access regularly updated agricultural production information for a variety of crops, including species for commercial and household use. Users can identify the most appropriate options for production based on climate, altitude, soil type, and water access. The profile for each selected species includes detailed information on timing, sowing, planting, protection, pest control, and harvest.
Organisation: Pragya India
Contact: Dr Mary Ipe and Greg Hilditch
The Institute for Geographical Information Systems (IGIS) has developed a wireless sensor network that integrates GIS information to identify landslide-prone areas in mountainous areas. The system works in real-time updating a web portal that residents can access to learn about potential hazards in their living areas or along their travel routes.
Organisation: Institute of Geographical Information Systems (IGIS), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan
Contact Person: Muhammad Ahsan Mahboob
Mr. Sushil Chandra Bahuguna, a journalist with NDTV, has produced a series of documentaries on the Himalayan environment, which have aired on the NDTV network. In very plain, easy-to-follow language, these videos promote awareness of environmental issues throughout the Himalaya, and simple means for engaging conservation in the region. The strength of the documentaries lies in its availability as digital content on the internet.
Contact: Sushil Chandra Bahuguna
Theme: Ecosystem Services
NepalVR has created a virtual reality program that allows users to experience mountain tourism using a VR headset. The application is targeted at potential tourists, but also has great relevance for school children to learn more about the Himalaya and their significance. The virtual tour presents 360-degree views of selected locations, enhanced by sounds and other sensations to replicate the actual environment. The app has also been developed for use on mobile phones.
Organisation: Semantic Creation
Contac: Sajesh Khadgi