A Day in the nCount training of Forest Guards in Palampur Forest division, Himachal Pradesh

On 13th April 2024, the adoption of nCount by Palampur Forest Division, Himachal Pradesh marks the beginning of the step towards bridging measurement gaps in forest inventory and monitoring biodiversity. The training session was conducted by our tech lead Abhijeet Parmar and facilitated by other IoFE team members on the application of nCount. Key forest officials, Dr Nitin Patil Kundalik [Director (North) Dharmshala], Mr. Sanjeev Kumar [DCF Palampur], Mr. Om Prakash Chandel [ACF Palampur], Ms. Dhivya N, [IFS Probationer], and around 48 forest guards were part of this training session.  

“Our nCount technology provides easy access and effortless implementation on ground. It can be locally adaptable in the daily work life of any forester and no internet connection is required to use this application”.  

                                            -Abhijeet Parmar, Lead, Technology and Research Partnerships 

Forest guards actively registering on the nCount platform and downloading the ODK Collect application, preparing for a day of data collection and monitoring.
Forest guards heading into the forest, ready to collect data points using the nCount and ODK Collect applications, ensuring accurate and comprehensive monitoring of the area.

Our team members accompanied foresters on the field to guide them on the identification of tree species and how to capture the data points for smooth functioning and accuracy of points.  

Our team members, Amit Upmanyu (State Coordinator), and Vijay Guleria, briefing the forest guards on the ground, demonstrating the use of the application on a cellphone.
Our team member, Neha Chakravarty, Project Specialist briefing the forest guards on the ground on how to accurately correct data points.

All participants supported by the ISB team carried out preliminary learning on nCount for trees, grasses, and shrubs, separately. This field demonstration was critical for practical learning and unearthed key observations which were discussed in detail with Abhijeet. 

Abhijeet demonstrates to the forest guards the correct method for capturing polygon data, ensuring accurate forest species mapping.

At the end, Abhijeet conducted a QnA session and talked about the observations from the field such as how to capture an image of a tree, no zooming while clicking photos of the trees, leaves, and bark (the only exception is to zoom till 2x in case leaves of tall trees cannot be captured) and for capturing a valid polygon at least 6 points are to be taken. Before making the polygon for shrubs, less than 5m accuracy should be ensured before dropping the first point. This training session focussed on how crucial these guidelines are since nCount is still under making and capturing correct data points will help build this application further. 

Moving forward, our team is dedicated to focussing on the following key aspects: 

  • Neha Chakravarty, Project Specialist, and Vijay Guleria, Research Assistant, will follow up with Palampur foresters on the collection of data points. 
  • Training in the Ani, Nachan, Paonta, Nurpur, and Dehra divisions is scheduled. 
  • Vijay Guleria will extend handholding support to all forest divisions in phase I. 

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