Locust Watch
Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia
Tajikistan, 2016. ©FAO/A. Monard

Locust GIS

It is essential to store in a database the bio-ecological data that are regularly gathered during locust surveys; these data have to be appropriately chrono-, geo- and taxo- referenced for further comparison with available historical information as well as with current data on weather and vegetation. This allows improving data analysing and doing forecast and can be improved with the development of an appropriate locust Geographical Information System (GIS). Following decision of CCA countries, in November 2012, to develop such a system for locust management, both an "Automated System for Data Collection" and the GIS “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management system” have been developed. 


ASDC was developed and presented to CCA countries in November 2013. It was tested by pilot countries (Georgia and Uzbekistan in 2014/15 and the Russian Federation in 2015), endorsed in October 2015 by CCA countries and updated on the basis of lessons learnt and recommendations. Since then, it has been introduced in an increasing number of countries, until reaching all of ten CCA countries in 2021. While some countries are still in the testing phase and although ASDC is being increasingly used, strong advocacy and support is needed so that it is used during all or most of survey and control operations in CCA.
The mean features of this system, which aims at facilitating the collection and transmission of standardized chrono-, geo- and taxo- referenced locust field data and thus to feed the locust GIS, are as follows:

• ASDC is based on the Locust Survey Form and a Spray Monitoring Form. It is filled in by national field observers during survey and control operations.

• It is available to a free software (on “google play”), which can be installed on tablets, mobile phones or computers. A User Manual is also available.

• In addition to English and Russian, ASDC is available in nine national languages (Armenian, Azeri, Georgian, Dari, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek). 


In parallel, the locust GIS in CCA entitled CCALM was developed to facilitate data analysis and forecast – first at the national level and then possibly also at the regional level. It includes: basic functions (data import, query, display and output) and advanced functions (summary, analysis, forecast), respectively developed in 2016 and 2017. The advanced functions include a set of output products for analyzing Italian (CIT), Moroccan (DMA) and Asian Migratory (LMI) locusts data and elaborating forecasts, including maps of: (a) locust densities, (b) treated areas, (c) areas infested (or treated) with densities above the Economic Threshold (ET). The full GIS was deployed in March 2017. It is under test since then and over the years, its functionalities have been improved and expanded based on recommendations of CCA and FAO Experts. However, it is necessary that ASDC, which mainly feeds the GIS (with other sources), be largely used in order to take full advantage of CCALM.


An important challenge of the “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” (under Result 3), subject to funds availability, is that ASDC and CCALM be operationally used by all or most CCA countries by 2025.


Current steps thus concern support to ASDC and CCALM operational use in all or most CCA countries, through the delivery of equipment, technical assistance for adequate completion of the ASDC forms and for use of the system itself (including Training-of-Trainers and coaching formula) as well as CCALM use and management at the national level. Once both systems are operationally used, they are expected to play a key role to improve locust data collection and analysis as well as forecast in CCA, with a larger view to contribute to early warning and reaction and thus prevention.

More information on progress made are available in the reports of the annual GIS Workshops and of the annual Technical Workshops on Locusts in CCA.