South Sudan: South Sudanese scientists want to make use of geographic data to map their country as well as its natural resources. Experts from the Berlin-based Beuth University of Applied Sciences are training University of Juba’s scientists on using GIS technology for this purpose. They are being shown how to collect, analyse and process geographic data.
As an exercise, the participants are sent out with small GPS-devices to map the coordinates of houses and street corners in Juba. When they come back a couple of hours later, their data is fed into the GIS software.
“Within the next two years, we want to compile a map of Juba,” Bernd Meissner said. “Instead of aerial photos, we are collecting data on the exact location of hotels, ministries and schools.”
Meissner, who teaches at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, oversees the cooperation between Germany and four African universities, which he initiated.
By 2014, the lecturers at the University of Juba are supposed to be in a position to pass on the basics of GIS to their students.
The University of Juba, the latest university to join the project is still right at the beginning, John Ariki said. The geologist, who was trained in Germany, heads the Institute for Natural Resources. He is trying to promote basic research at the University of Juba.
“Aside from a couple of projects from the 1970s, we have no new geological findings,” he said. “South Sudan doesn”t have any geological data.”
Accordingly, vital information on the country”s crude oil, gold and mineral reserves is lacking. In order to find and exploit these resources, geological data has to be mapped and analysed.
One day, GIS is set to deliver this kind of information to researchers. Once the system has been fed with data, computers can combine and depict data from various sources.