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Forum urges Africa to go the geospatial way

Nairobi, Kenya: The 6th Africa Geospatial Forum, held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, concluded with a message that African nations should adopt geospatial technology for better socio economic development. The forum, which was held outside South Africa for the first time, brought together experts from the geospatial industry on a common platform to discuss the use of geospatial technology in solving some of the problems that plague the African continent.

Living up to its theme of Enabling Socio-economic Development through Geospatial, the three-day conference saw the participation of surveyors, researchers, land management experts and remote sensing experts from more than 20 countries.

In his closing remarks, Director General of RCMRD (Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development), Dr. Hussein O. Farah emphasised on the increasing need to use geospatial technology for overall growth and development in Africa.

“The forum has been an excellent platform for experts to come together and discuss their common concerns. I hope we have more of such opportunities in future to learn how geospatial technology can help realise our ambitions,” he said.

The highlight of the last day was the session on Geospatial Contributing to Vision 2030 that discussed how geospatial technology can be used to successfully achieve Kenya’s Vision 2030. Other sessions held during the day included geospatial for health and education and geospatial protecting and conserving environment.

Geospatial Contributing to Vision 2030
Kenya’s Vision 2030 aims to transform the country into a newly industrialized, middle-income country providing high quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030. The session, chaired by Mugo Kibati, Director General, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, highlighted the tremendous role of geospatial technology in trying to realise the various goals as outlined in the vision plan.

A presentation on Application of Geospatial Technologies in the Ministry of Lands by E.M. Murage, Director of Survey in the Ministry of Lands, showed how the ministry is using geospatial technology to provide current and accurate geographical information to ensure the socio economic development and territorial integrity of the nation.

Emma Akelo Odhiambo, Manager Cartography/GIS, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, in her presentation explained the role of statics bureau and some of the challenges and constraints facing the successful implementation of geospatial technology. The presentation aptly summarised the role of the technology in various verticals such as tourism, agriculture, education and health.

Geospatial for Health and Education
The session highlighted the need for capacity building and the various efforts presently on in Africa to ensure adequate availability of human resources.

The presentations showed how geospatial technology is being used to collect data about informal settlements and provide health and sanitation facilities to the residents.

Geospatial Protecting and Conserving Environment
Protection and conservation of environment is a raging topic that has caught the attention of experts from around the world. The session offered a glimpse on how geospatial technology is being used in helping to protect the environment in Africa.

A presentation by Gabriel Sanya, GIS Manager, National Environment Management Authority, showed how the organisation is using geospatial technology to combat various environmental problems such as oil spills, forest fires, landslides, floods, sewage bursts etc. The organisation uses GIS in various functions such as finance and administration, environment education, planning and research, compliance and enforcement and legal services.

Source: Our Correspondent