This workshop is a two-day training taking place at RCMRD. The training is geared towards building the skills of the RCMRD staff and identified stakeholders on the application of the R programming language for species data analysis and modeling with focus with agriculture.
The workshop covered a brief introduction to the R programming language, which was followed by application of R for spatial data and modelling using climatic indicators for developing robust models for mapping species distribution. The participants learnt how to integrate various data types and analytical approach into a single workflow and apply the information in identification of current species distribution and future changes in their spread due to changing climatic factors.
The training was led by Dr. Robert Hijmans from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development through SERVIR ESA Agriculture and Food Security Service. Participants included RCMRD staff and ICRAF staff. The participants were taught some basic R programming and were introduced to some of the concepts and navigation of the R software. They were also taken through hands on exercise in which they used the knowledge they had acquired in the first session and retrieved data which they went on to use in the final session to develop raster data.
The workshop was opened by the SERVIR ESA Project Manager Dr. Robinson Mugo, who pointed out that he used R earlier in his career. “I am glad that we are having this spatial training at RCMRD because there’s a lot of interest in the R software that has in recent years has evolved from just a software into more of a plug in when processing data.”
He highlighted the importance of the workshop stating that RCMRD should be part of the conversation when it comes to dealing with the software. “We are hoping that the trainings will adopt a modular approach. This is the initial training whose focus is introducing participants to the potential of R programming language in spatial data handling. We are hoping that a follow up training will enable us to develop thematic applicable use case scenarios especially in species distribution.”
SERVIR ESA Agriculture and Food Security Service Lead Lillian Ndungu said, “the workshop was planned due to a large number of RCMRD staff indicating interest in the course. Discussions with Dr. Robert Hijmans led to the plans to hold the internal training with selected interested participants from outside the organization invited.”
Lillian also said, "This has been a good start as we are learning new things from it. You asked a lot of thought-provoking questions that had us thinking outside the box."
Dr. Hijmans who led the training said of the workshop, "Its has been very inspiring being around here and I appreciate being given the chance to take you through the features around R. One thing I like about this workshop is that you were very engaging, asking questions, answering when I ask … I liked that about this workshop."