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GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions

Theme 3 - The African Data Stream
Establishing the Capacity and Infrastructure to Use Spatial Data in Forest Monitoring and Management in Central Africa
Daniel Slayback, Systems & Applications Inc, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA

ISPRS is an international NGO devoted to the promotion of the use of geospatial information and has been involved in a number of initiatives to develop capacity in Africa. This paper will report on the findings from the workshops on GEOSS Architecture and the user, and on a data portal for the benefit of National Mapping Agencies (NMAs) in Africa, and draw lessons from these experiences.
In order to make the use of geospatial information effective, users must be educated and their requirements heard. ISPRS, IEEE and OGC have run workshops to inform potential users of the value of GEOSS. The workshops have identified a number of issues which include provision of better infrastructure and technology, but more importantly the need to develop spatial literacy in schools and within government. Key issues are to develop good communication: between scientists, between disciplines and to policy makers. These objectives are consistent with the mission of GEOSS, and the results of the workshops are input to the GEO Architecture and Data Committee.
The AGIRN portal which has been set up to allow NMAs within and outside Africa to share information on the technical and political issues facing NMAs in a rapidly changing world. AGIRN has been developed by the South African Human Science Research Council (HSRC) and EIS Africa. The portal is now being populated and African and non-African national mapping agencies are being asked to provide any reports or papers which might be of use to other NMAs and to indicate whether expertise is available to offer to other NMAs and whether any equipment, surplus to requirements, is available to offer to other NMAs.