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GIS initiated in 20 Indian villages

Pune, India: The Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), Pune, has undertaken the participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) in its climate change adaptation programme in 20 villages in the state. The P3DM is a participatory GIS that can convey indigenous experience and spatial knowledge in a digital form that is communicable to researchers and policymakers.

Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the project has been taken up in 20 villages in Akole and Sangamner talukas in Maharashtra and 10 in Madhya Pradesh. This has led the locals to take up, among others activities, biodiversity conservation, risk reduction strategies, crop planning and use of water management in these villages.

Sushil Bajpai, director, WOTR, said that participatory three-dimensional modeling, conceived in the late 1980s in Thailand , has been adapted and applied by WOTR in its climate change adaptation project during the last one and a half years. Looking into its success, the modeling will be now taken up in Andhra Pradesh soon.

“This modeling empowers indigenous communities with a voice in legislative planning and management of natural resources. Through the construction and demarcation of a geo-referenced, scaled relief model, the communities can extract and display indigenous knowledge in a way that is meaningful, not only for policymakers and academics, but also to the communities themselves,”” he said.

Explaining the process, Bajpai said when the local community develops this three-dimensional model of their village and watershed, they get an idea of the space they live in and the eco-system they use.

“While doing the model, they look into places of hazards, hotspots of biodiversity, rivers and presence of forest, among others. A sense of ownership is inculcated in them. So it is also a tool for conflict resolution, development planning, land-use planning and participatory knowledge about issues. We also discuss with them all these issues and threats such as climate change.”

“We anticipate that P3DM will become an important element of our goals to further empower and capacitate our project villages for increased involvement in resource management and climate change adaptation at village level. In the next step, this model will be merged with GIS. At present, the outcome of the planning process for these villages is shared with the Ahmednagar collector,”” Bajpai added. This modeling has been developed and used as a spatial communication and planning tool for resource dependent communities across Southeast Asia and other parts of the world, where local access to computers is virtually impossible.

Source: TOI