The Geospatial community led by Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) celebrated its annual Geographic Information System (GIS) Day on 18th November 2020. GIS Day was initiated by its founder ESRI- a commercial global leader of GIS software.
Speaking during the virtual event on the role of RCMRD on Geo technology, the Director General -Dr. Nkurunziza stated that Geospatial technology and RCMRD are more or less the same in what RCMRD does. Its set up covers the whole spectrum of geospatial as it was geared at the start of its inception to engage in collecting geospatial data through surveying, processing it to generate maps.
Across the whole spurn our departments like Geomatics, GIS, Geo IT, Remote sensing, and Photogrammetry, the whole spectrums of geospatial is well covered and services from these areas are delivered to beneficiaries through capacity building, project and advisory services which are readily available’’
The DG added that the Centre’s mandate has remained the same to support the 20 members in Eastern and Southern Africa in harnessing the power of Earth and geospatial information in managing natural resources and other areas where we need decision making. “If you have an area that has a connection to Geo information and allied technology the Centre will be able to support technically either consultancy form or advisory forms.”
According to Mr. Ongo, a GIS Analyst at RCMRD , "The future of GIS is very bright, cut a niche for yourself. There is a lot of data that needs to be combined to complete the process of decision making. You have a lot of tools e.g. python, ERDAS, C+, use them to place yourself for the future."
On the same day, ESRI and RCMRD Map competition was launched. Participants are expected to come up with any activity or problem on the impact of land use on local communities and present it in form of a map. There is a Geoportal with 180 datasets that can help to create the maps. For more info click on this link. https://rcmrd.org/map-competition
“Mapping help us identify areas of risk; the maps communicate more than a booklet. At RCMRD, using satellite images, we map by identifying areas that don’t look normal. Policy makers needs this to mitigate,” said, Mr. Denis Macharia, the Weather and Climate Lead SERVIR-RCMRD.
The day brings together GIS Software users with an aim of inspiring members of the community to learn and use GIS technology. For instance, this year, some students pursuing geospatial related courses from Regional Centre Training Institute presented on the uses of GIS and participated in Geocaching, satellite viewing and collaborative mapping activities. This enhances a stronger understanding of the world through the application of GIS and demonstration of accomplishments on GIS.
Above, Moses Njuguna-Diploma in Land Surveying student at Regional Centre Training Institute presenting on GIS and Block Chain Technology
The GIS software helps in analyzing, collecting and visualizing geographic data to help make better decisions that impact the community differently. It has over 1000 applications as it cuts across all sectors enabling users solve problems and make better informed decisions. For instance, in health sector- we have a COVID dashboard developed by RCMRD for its member States https://covid19.rcmrd.org/