In July 2017 the AgShare.Today team worked with scientists from the Cassava Diagnostics Project (CDP) in Kenya to visualise data collected in CDP’s field surveys. The visuals produced will guide analysis and interpretation of the project’s data, allowing the data to tell a ‘story’ about the spread and severity of cassava diseases. Over three days, the teams visualised data on cassava virus incidence, disease severity, and the population of whitefly (a common virus vector) on cassava, collected from across Kenya between 2009 and 2015.
CDP’s field surveys are mapping the spread of two viruses affecting cassava yields: Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV) and Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV). Cassava is the main source of calories for 500 million people across Africa and a reduction in cassava yield caused by CMV or CBSV could lead to widespread famine. CDP is therefore tracking the prevalence of these viruses in East Africa with the aim of preventing them from spreading further.
The visuals produced by AgShare will be included in the papers that CDP’s researchers will submit for publication in peer-reviewed journals. These visuals – which include maps and graphs – are an important addition because they help readers to better understand and engage with complex data. High-impact journals recognise this and, as such, they are more likely to publish the project’s work. The publication of CDP’s work in high-impact, open access journals will increase its reach and impact. This boost to research communication will in turn help to drive forward cassava disease research, which is essential for protecting a crop that is so important for African food security.