All over Africa, experts use satellite Earth Observation (EO) data for applications such as monitoring crop health or assessing the risk of disease vectors. These applications are often done at a national scale meaning there is a challenge to ensure that end users such as small companies, rural communities or otherwise marginalized groups benefit from EO systems. This project explores an EO application with the enterprise Green Keeper Africa (GKA) based in Cotonou, Benin, that addresses the management of an invasive plant species that is threatening local economic activities such as fishing. GKA helps control the infestation of the water hyacinth on Lake Nokoue by repurposing the plant into a product that absorbs oil-based waste. The EO application is an online Environmental Observatory that utilizes satellite, aerial and ground data to map the location of the water hyacinth over time, providing valuable information for government, private and public users. The research outcomes presented in this project address processes that (i) outline the steps for a small company in Benin to setup and operate a new EO technological capability, and (ii) enable low cost data collection of parameters describing the coastal water ecosystem.
In the observatory, the technique Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is applied to free satellite data to identify likely locations of the hyacinth in the target region of Lake Nokoue.