Mon, 27 Nov 2023

Revolutionizing Pest Detection: How the CalTrap App Transformed CDFA’s Statewide Program

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The Challenge 

California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is responsible for tracking and preventing the spread of invasive species in the state. To complete this task, the organization was struggling with outdated paper-based systems that were slow and cumbersome to use. For example, they were using route books and paper log entries to track pests, report on trap status, and map trap locations. This manual process was difficult to standardize across participating counties. The result was delayed and inconsistent reporting and, in some cases, an absence of accurate data. Without access to central, standardized, correct real-time data, it was difficult for the CDFA to make informed and quick decisions. Additionally, the paper system made training the organization’s large numbers of seasonal workers time-consuming and arduous. The CDFA needed a modern solution that could not only help them systematically monitor the status of any invasive species mitigation program but do so in a way that allowed them to share data and insights within the organization and its employees, as well as other agencies and governments — their existing tools were not flexible enough to facilitate collaboration. 

The Solution  

VertiGIS worked with the CDFA to build CalTrap, a modern GIS web and mobile app to manage the organization’s statewide pest control program. CalTrap’s interactive map enables field workers to log and report trapping data online and offline, standardizing the process and allowing for the timely tracking of pests that are seen as a risk to agriculture. Now reporting and decision-making are much faster and simpler.  

CalTrap has essential features such as an interactive map to view and manage trapping sites, traps, and hosts, and search functionality to look at ranked areas for trap suitability based on well-known criteria. The app includes a trapping dashboard that helps users view traps requiring service and also shows traps being relocated to new sites. 

The Result  

CalTrap has resulted in many benefits for the CDFA and the state of California including more efficient, timely, and accurate reporting, and the standardization of processes, and decision-making — all while adhering to state policy and USDA requirements. Additionally, the data collected through CalTrap lets stakeholders aggregate, analyze, and visualize large amounts of information. As a result, the CDFA can better manage programs to reduce pests, improve treatment plans, and protect the state’s agriculture industry.  

50 of 60 Californian counties are now using CalTrap, each with its own specific requirements supported within the app. It has over 600 active users statewide — and is still growing. The CDFA has eliminated the use of pen-and-paper tracking, streamlined their data management infrastructure, and ultimately, been able to more extensively and accurately track the spread of invasive species in the state. The application helped the CDFA make better business decisions for California’s agriculture and import/export compliance. 

Want to learn more about how your organization could implement an offline field reporting tool like this? Contact us now.

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