Over the course of the graphical user interface week, the InFlux team designed a wayfinding application for aid-workers. In researching the brief of designing for the problem of water (too much or too little), the Chad Basin became a focal point for the team.

InFlux aims to assist aid workers to find their way in areas with shifting terrain and unmapped routes, such as Lake Chad, by crowdsourcing information on routes taken by other aid workers. As the terrain evolves, as does the information – helping field agents get where they need to go and inform each other of potential problems and points of interest.

Chad Lake was at one point one of the most fertile regions in Africa. The region has been struck by severe ongoing drought and Lake Chad has shrunk 95% in under 30 years – a recession which accelerates with each passing year. This has been devastating for the 30 million people that depend on the lake and the relief efforts in the basin are heavily strained. The ever-changing landscape and unmapped terrain is a huge impedance for movement (and thus effectiveness) of aid workers. Most aid workers rely on a mix of knowledge (inherited from previous aid workers or locals) and trial & error to navigate between field locations. One of the key challenges and learning experiences was designing for wayfinding in an evolving landscape that had no well-defined roads.