ZAK: an update from the software developer


An update from the software developer

On the 18th of March 2014, after some 13,000 lines of code, our development phase came to an end. ZAK is functioning, and nearly finished!

After extensive testing with Guy Van Vlaenderen was completed at the end of February, only a few corrections and minor adjustments remain to be made. Only the program’s configuration settings need to be finalised. That will permit certain basic data, like the threshold alert per species and the climate zones, to be modified as necessary. That part will probably not be ready before the testing phase at the start of April, but it is not essential to ZAK’s proper functioning.

Since our last meeting, Guy Van Vlaenderen and myself have decided that the information that will be gathered should not be restricted to ZAK. We have included the option of extracting the files and the consolidation tables from Excel. It would be a shame if the information couldn’t be distributed from ZAK to a wider public, since this would considerably reduce the tool’s impact.

I am therefore currently developing this part, which will definitely be available for the testing phase. At the same time, I’m preparing a small, simplified guide for the user. Testing will begin in Burkina Faso at the start of April 2014. Following the results we will iron out any problems, and probably make some additions and modifications.

ZAK has already been partially translated into English. The software will be fully translated for the final version, anticipated for the end of June.

Here are some images of ZAK’s current layout:

Before starting a new campaign, you need to insert some extra data (season, climate zone, date)


The operating data file for keeping track of the number of animals in each herd


The main menu: adding a new campaign


An overview of past surveys

You can read the original blog post on the website of the Humanitarian Innovation Fund. This project is supported by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, a programme managed by ELRHA. The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) is a unique non-profit grant making facility supporting organisations and individuals to identify, nurture and share innovative and scalable solutions to the challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. Visit their website for more information.