Arba Minch University in association with KU Leuven, Belgium, has held a three-day hands-on training on Geographic Information System (GIS) for land and water research under the framework VLIR-UOS’ STRIPES Project from 26th to 30th September, 2016. Click here to see the Pictures.

The training was aimed at finding a better understanding of soil-environment synergy through terrestrial and aquatic ecological conditions using GIS tools and to establish database, Research Directorate Director, Dr Simon Shibru, informed.

Trainer Jennifer Roelens introducing GIS concept, function and spatial analysis has looked into spatial decision support tools available for better land-use and conservation planning based on improved insights into ecology and local people’s natural resources management strategies.

The session began with basic concepts of GIS, data-collection as a collection of spatial entities and terrain characteristics; digital conversion of maps, remote sensing, GPS, in-field inventories, etc. were introduced as sources of geo-datasets.

On spatial analysis to be able to work simultaneously with different datasets for the same area, the geographical data was vertically and horizontally integrated. Different spatial functions for vectorial and raster sets were also introduced.

AMU’s 17 participants were informed, GIS is useful to store, organize, document, retrieve, integrate, summarize, update and map land and environmental data; it allows use of alternative source data i.e. high-resolution digital satellite imagery to automatically capture inventory data over large or inaccessible areas.

They were also introduced to spatial Boolean multi-criteria analysis to create decision rules for support systems and to non-Boolean spatial multi-criteria analysis methods.

In question-answer session participants looked into issues like converting excel and GPS files into shape files and calculating temporal changes in vegetation cover using Land-sat data and spatial point pattern analysis, etc.

On the concluding day, spatial data of the study areas were compiled and database was established with metadata for each data file that was divided into region and subject-based files.

As a way forward, a list is likely to be compiled with the most important geo-data sources and GIS blogs for researchers to find GIS ‘inspiration’ for specific spatial problems. A system is being worked out to distribute the database and keep it up-to-date with data available at the KU Leuven from previous research in the area.


(Corporate Communication Directorate)