As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, there is an urgent need to raise awareness about what climate change is and its impact on different activities like farming etc. However, this complex information needs to be broken down in a way that the average citizen can understand and use.
Map&Rank leverages drone technology, environmental knowledge, big data and programming skills to carry out climate risk data collection, analysis and display. The Yaounde-based startup then passes this information on to local communities in a way they can understand and therefore use it in their day-to-day lives.
“We aim to boost climate change literacy and inspire climate action among local populations, especially in Cameroon,” said Sikem Brice Nyuykonghi, CEO of the startup.
The organisation has built a platform that serves as a data pool on local climate risks in Cameroon. Map&Rank collects data that can be used to forecast potential climate risks and disseminates it to communities and government agencies.
“I founded the firm after seeing a huge gap in climate change comprehension, as locals did not fully understand what global warming is while stakeholders had difficulties accessing data related to climate change. I felt that we could fill these gaps and make sure that frontline organisations and individuals have access to climate change data, which they can use to make informed decisions,” he added.
Mr. Nyuykonghi said some parts of Cameroon have been experiencing erratic rainfall, leading to drought conditions or severe flooding. Rising sea levels threaten coastal settlements and businesses.
Residat, Map&Rank’s platform, works as a data pool on climate risks for various localities. Local residents and government agencies are able to access information for Mayo-Danay division, Noun division in the western plains of Cameroon, and the Wouri division in the Littoral region. The firm has so far covered these 3 divisions out of the country’s 58. The 3 divisions have distinct climates and geography and are affected by climate change differently.
“Our customers are local government institutions, insurance companies working with farmers, and other sectors facing climate change impacts,” said Mr. Nyuykonghi.
Map&Rank’ shared data infrastructure allows local communities and frontline organisations to actively participate in data generation by profiling their local climate risk observations and needs. The firm provides a one-stop shop for local climate risk and environmental data.
“We plan to map out about a third of Cameroon’s geographic space made up of about 100 communities with a population of almost 9 million people. We also target over 1,000 frontline community organisations by profiling their data on our platform,” said Mr. Nyuykonghi.
The startup also raises awareness among local communities about how certain lifestyles and activities contribute to global warming. It does this by integrating technology in its activities and creating fun board games inspired by drone images for use in its community outreach campaigns.
Its long-term goals include establishing a countrywide platform that educates, profiles climate change risks for local communities and communicates climate data in a relatable way. This will ensure local communities are well informed and empowered to respond to climate change phenomena.
Map&Rank plans to capture and visualise data for the whole of Cameroon and also expand outside the country.