Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are currently some of the robust tools that are used for sound environmental management and credible natural resources assessment. RS can, for example, be used to generate proxies of data to supplement the data received from the existing observation network thereby creating a more complete and better spatially distributed dataset for better information generation. RS data can also be used in the monitoring of the environmental conditions and assessment of the quality and quantity of the natural resources at any given location.
There are several types of RS data that are available and can be used for better monitoring of the GHA sub-region. For example, at the moment Kenya is installing Doppler radars in her quest to improve rainfall monitoring, while the NDVI products from NOAA satellites are being used throughout the IGAD sub-region. Harmonization of these data types for the sub-region will improve the monitoring of climate generally.
On the other hand, GIS is a new tool, which allows for integrated multiple analysis of data from various sources based on the same geographical location. Since most natural problems we encounter are results of several factors, such a tool would be invaluable for proper integrated decision making.
The main goal of this department is to provide RS and GIS support as required by the specific sectors being monitored by ICPAC. This will include the provision of data for areas with no in situ data and/or areas with poor in situ spatial observation network. Key support to the various sectors will include capacity building to enhance the capacity of the sectorial experts in the use of RS data and GIS; monitoring, prediction and early warning of hazards and disasters; and mapping and assessment of the natural resources such as vegetation, water and crop yields.
To fully achieve this goal, there will be a need for setting up a remote sensing and GIS database, communication facilities (intranet connecting member states for ease of download of data), and appropriate computers for data and information processing and management.
The division undertakes the following activities:
- Identifying appropriate proxy satellite data and products for all the sectors.
- Validation and calibration of the identified satellite data and products.
- Creation of a database for the identified data and products.
- Initiate monitoring and assessment of natural resources from remote platforms.
- Creating a GIS database for all the in situ data for all sectors that currently exists in different formats at ICPAC.
- Hold a workshop on RS and GIS for at least two sectors.
- Initiate networking and collaboration between the member states, regional and international institution