GPS trackers, drones, and old fashioned field work
There are two main challenges to documenting tree planting projects: cost and credibility. In order for any documentation to be credible, it needs to be detailed and traceable, but getting detailed and traceable documentation is often costly! Luckily for us, technological advancements have made it possible to have both. Using the a custom made database, GPS- and drone technology, we are have developed a credible yet scalable method of documentation that enables us to provide all the documentation our customers need, right at their fingertips.
The cornerstone of our documentation model, is linking each planting project to an exact location using various positioning systems. First and foremost, this allows anyone to look up the location on Google Earth and see if the documentation photos match the satellite images. Secondly, most photos have GPS coordinates in their metadata which enables us to show that the documentation is in fact from this planting project. Lastly, by using increasingly sophisticated positioning technology, we are able to visualise our results. By continuously developing our use of this cornerstone technology, we aim to keep making our documentation as iron clad as possible, so you as a customer can feel secure in knowing that your support is making a change.
The most essential tool in our documentation toolbox is field visits. Going to a planting site, physically inspecting the trees, and talking to the communities that are caring for them, is simply the best way of gauging the state of the project. These field visits are conducted both by our local partners in the collaborating country or by the Copenhagen team themselves. For each visit we will walk the sites and inspect them, interview the local stakeholders, and document everything with photographs. Upon request, we will also write a report from a field visit to detail our findings and provide a written account to be used for accounting purposes for example.
Drone technology has evolved fast during recent years, changing the limits of what was possible in a lot of areas, but specifically for one important to our documentation model; aerial photography. At TROFACO, we aim to make the results of your support immediately accesible. Photos from the ground are good as you can see the trees close up, but seeing them from 100 meters in the air shows your impact a lot better. Below you have an example from ANCOTRANS’ plantings in Kachiira Hills, Uganda. All of the tiny dots are newly planted trees, and as the drone descends, you gain a new perspective of the scale of the planting area when you realize that some of those tiny dots are actually people!
Third party verification
With the help of Ida Theilade from the Section for Global Development at the University of Copenhagen, we have found a model for third party verification. Ida and her team are specialists in global development, and as such they are well equipped to inspect and verify our tree planting projects. For each verification visit, a team will go to the area and spend roughly a week visiting the sites and talking to the communities. Their verification approach is a holistic one, with both the economic and ecological aspects taken into account. All third party verification is reported directly our clients in order to keep them as impartial as possible. The team lead by Ida Theilade is merely an option we suggest our clients, but we always welcome other forms of third party verification, such as a visit from a team of accountants or external consultants.
In our documentation section, you can read about everything we do in more detail. In this section you will find white papers, technical documents, financial reports, and much more.
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