Two Years of Cadasta: User Focused Development

It’s been almost two years since the initial launch of the Cadasta platform and our development team is still hard at work to continuously improve our platform performance and user-experience based on feedback from our partners in the field. In the past few months, we’ve made a number of changes to enhance the platform’s interface and improve and strengthen security. These improvements are accompanied by a handful of new platform features – partners seems most excited about the Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) plugin and automatic area calculator for polygons created on mobile applications or via the platform

To better understand how these new features work and what they mean for your projects, here’s an overview of the recent platform updates and what they mean for our users.

Improved Project Dashboards: To start, we are thrilled to release our improved project dashboard which was created to improve the user experience by making it easier to find all your project details in one place. The new dashboard offers a new user interface and includes project statistics (such as the area covered by your project). It also allows users to find shortcuts to their various tasks within the platform (such as direct access to import and export data).

QGIS Plugin: In addition to the project dashboard, we’ve also developed our first third party integration using the Cadasta platform’s public Application Programming Interface – or API as it’s more commonly known: the QGIS plugin!

QGIS is a powerful, popular, free, and open GIS tool used by many of our partners. QGIS acts as an additional frontend for the Cadasta platform, allowing users to manage projects and records and import existing data into the platform.

For our partners with more GIS experience, this is an excellent tool for more advanced tasks, including:

  • The generation of advanced map reports with features including filtering, color palettes, and the ability to create pdf documents with specific templates;
  • A smooth data synchronization between QGIS and Cadasta projects; and
  • The ability to import previously collected data that is stored in shapefiles or other GIS formats.

With a public API, any partner can now build a third application to perform the following tasks:

  • Manage user accounts and permissions;
  • Create, edit, and archive organizations and projects;
  • Manage location, party, relationship records and resources, including retrieving and updating information;
  • Export and import project data; and
  • Much more!

In addition to the API, we’ve also released our Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow for easier scripting (useful for migrating complex datasets).

Other recent platform updates include:

Customization of entity types: We are now able to manage a more flexible data schema which makes it possible for partners to define their own entity types (i.e. location types and the specific type of relationships between the land and the people).

Support for additional file resources: Users can now attach an even wider array of file types, including documents, videos, audios, and images to any entity within the platform.

Automated calculation of areas: This feature makes it possible to automatically calculate the polygon area for individual locations as well as the sum of all location areas in a particular project. This is particularly useful for partners that are trying to validate the parcel area as officially registered versus the actual area mapped.

We are excited to roll-out these platform updates. Our hope is that they will improve our users’ experiences and ability to efficiently document, analyze, store, and share critical land and resource rights information. By making it easier to find your projects, import and export data, and build a third party application, we aim to make it easier to secure land and resource rights to build stronger, more sustainable communities.