A PLAN for Tackling the Locust Crisis in East Africa: Harnessing Spatiotemporal Deep Models for Locust Movement Forecasting

Maryam Tabar, Jared Gluck, Anchit Goyal, Fei Jiang, Derek Morr, Annalyse Kehs, Dongwon Lee, David P. Hughes, Amulya Yadav

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

East Africa is experiencing the worst locust infestation in over 25 years, which has severely threatened the food security of millions of people across the region. The primary strategy adopted by human experts at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN-FAO) to tackle locust outbreaks involves manually surveying at-risk geographical areas, followed by allocating and spraying pesticides in affected regions. In order to augment and assist human experts at the UN-FAO in this task, we utilize crowdsourced reports of locust observations collected by PlantVillage (the world's leading knowledge delivery system for East African farmers) and develop PLAN, a Machine Learning (ML) algorithm for forecasting future migration patterns of locusts at high spatial and temporal resolution across East Africa. PLAN's novel spatio-temporal deep learning architecture enables representing PlantVillage's crowdsourced locust observation data using novel image-based feature representations, and its design is informed by several unique insights about this problem domain. Experimental results show that PLAN achieves superior predictive performance against several baseline models - it achieves an AUC score of 0.9 when used with a data augmentation method. PLAN represents a first step in using deep learning to assist and augment human expertise at PlantVillage (and UN-FAO) in locust prediction, and its real-world usability is currently being evaluated by domain experts (including a potential idea to use the heatmaps created by PLAN in a Kenyan TV show). The source code is available at https://github.com/maryam-tabar/PLAN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKDD 2021 - Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages3595-3604
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383325
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 14 2021
Event27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2021 - Virtual, Online, Singapore
Duration: Aug 14 2021Aug 18 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining

Conference

Conference27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2021
Country/TerritorySingapore
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/14/218/18/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems

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