Using field data to more effectively serve local communities and protect the Maya forest


In order to more effectively manage and utilize data collected by its various programs, Ya’axché began the development of an Integrated Forest Management Database System in 2020. The first release of the system was deployed in February 2022, and included agroforestry data from the COL program as well as soil monitoring data from the Science program. The second release was deployed in October 2022. Beekeeping data as well as protected areas managed by the PAM program were added in this release.

In addition to a centralized relational database hosted in the internet “cloud”, the database system includes a mobile application used to collect data offline in the field, and a web mapping and data visualization application. The web application shown below displays a subset of the data visible in a similar application for Ya’axché internal use only. This is to protect the privacy of local farm families. Both web applications connect directly to the database, so that any database updates are visible in real time.

In the map, you can see where Ya’axché has helped implement sustainable agroforestry and forest conservation practices, including beekeeping. You can follow our progress as the database is updated with additional data on existing agroforestry plots and apiaries, and as additional farmers join with Ya’axché to improve their livelihoods and protect the forest ecosystem.

In the web map viewer application, toolbars for user controls are located along the left and right margins of the application window.  Hovering over an icon will display its function.  In addition to the zoom and pan controls, zooming can be achieved via the usual methods for an input device (e.g. trackpad gestures or mouse scroll wheel).  Zooming in to an area can also be achieved by holding down the Shift key, clicking on the map and dragging to form a rectangle for the desired map view extent.

In the Layers panel to the left, the arrows next to each map layer can be clicked to view the legend for the layer.  For example, the legend for the plots layer will display the land uses corresponding to colors of plot polygon boundaries.  Layers may be turned on or off by checking or unchecking the box to the left of the layer name.  The basemap layer may be changed by selecting from the dropdown list for Base Layers.

Clicking on a feature in the map view will display a popup window showing the attributes of the feature.  Clicking the icon for the Dataviz tool on the left will display the current pie (doughnut) chart for Plot Area by Land Use.  The Data tool can be used to display data for map layers in a tabular form, as well as data for tables related to a layer.  The related “child” data for a selected feature, e.g. production, plantings and plot observations for a selected plot, can be displayed in a table below the table with the selected feature.  Data in the tables can be filtered using the Search box, or sorted by clicking on a column header.

The Measure tool in the toolbar to the left can be used to measure distances and areas in the map view.  The address Search text box at the top can zoom the map to a selected address or OpenStreetMap feature, e.g. community.