Information System (GIS) is a powerful tool for research and management
endeavours involving resources that have locational reference.
This was the unanimous
feedback from participants at the Geographic Information System (GIS) and
Remote Sensing training for professionals in resource research and management
held at the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa
The training, a
flagship UNU-INRA capacity-building programme, aims to equip professionals with
theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills in GIS and Remote Sensing to advance
research and inform decision making in natural resources management and other
relevant development-driven endeavours in Africa.
Okae-Anti, a participant from the Soil Science Department of the University of
Cape Coast, Ghana said: “In today’s research and development work, we must
always be conscious about our environment; geographic location is thus
essential element for all land-based research.”
“The interesting thing
is that GIS is not reserved for science-biased people, it cuts across all
fields, making it a powerful tool to adopt for research work,” he added.
Mr Emmanuel Ayimpusah,
a PhD Candidate at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, said
“It’s a very good training programme… spatial studies will not be possible
without a good understanding of GIS.”
Touching on how he
will deploy the training, he explained, “… this course will help me in my
thesis, which is considering the economic analysis of flood risks and
adaptation options in Ghana.”
Director of UNU-INRA,
Dr Fatima Denton, speaking in an interview following a brief ceremony to mark
the end of the training, noted that GIS is a key part of UNU-INRA’s work.
benefits of the technology she said: “We are looking at how we can better
conserve, better harness Africa’s natural resources…[also] the detection aspect
of remote sensing works like an alert system that allows us to have better
preparedness against natural disasters,” she said.
Further, Dr Denton
called on African governments to adopt and improve their use of GIS technology,
and on organisations to be more open to train their officials that will find
GIS relevant to their work.
GIS is a computer-based
tool for mapping and analysing feature events on earth. It manages
location-based information and provides tools for display and analysis of
various statistics, including population characteristics, economic development
opportunities, and vegetation types.
It helps in explaining
events, predicting outcomes, and planning strategies. Remote sensing, on the
other hand, is a technique used to survey and collect data regarding an object
or a phenomenon without any physical contact with the object or the phenomenon
UNU-INRA has been
organising capacity building programmes in GIS since 2013.
Participants at the
just-ended session were taken through theoretical background to GIS and
hands-on applications in collecting spatial data with GPS and analysing
satellite imagery for location-specific solutions in addressing resource
management challenges facing Africa.