MIST and SMART
The Management Information System (MIST) was developed by a GTZ project together with Ecological Software Solutions in Murchison Falls National Park in the late 1990s. Andrew Plumptre,the WCS Country Director for Uganda at that time, was introduced to the software and saw the potential for it. The software is used to store and analyze data that rangers collect while patrolling a Protected Area. It stores data on sightings of key species and illegal activities and then can produce maps of locations of these sightings and trends in their detection rate corrected for patrol effort. This correction is very important and is what makes MIST so much more useful than other ranger-based data collection tools that have been developed.
As the GTZ project was in the process of closing down, WCS decided to take forward the implementation of MIST in all the Protected Areas managed by UWA. We then took it to Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and then more widely around the world. As a result it was adopted by CITES for use in its Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants(MIKE) program and all MIKE sites are now using this software. MIST is now about 15 years old and new methods of data analysis have been developed. As a result WCS has supported the introduction of a new, improved software program: the Spatial Management And Reporting Tool (SMART). SMART will allow more complex and useful analyses to be made.