Friday, September 15, 2006

Development Information Workgroup Event: Geographic Information Systems

Event Title: Development Information Workgroup Event: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Sponsor(s): The Washington DC Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID)
Location: Winrock International, Arlington, Virginia
Date: September 14, 2006
Time: Noon-2pm
Number in Attendance: 45
Intern Attending: Kristin Broyhill

Speakers: Silvia Petrova and Sean Grimland of Winrock International

Geographers at Winrock demonstrated how GIS systems can help international development planning in such areas as resource management, urban planning and rural development.

GIS is an integrated system of hardware, software, data and trained persons which together combine data into assessable information systems that describe physical locations and their characteristics. One difficulty in producing systems is getting all of the necessary data.

Geospatial data sources include: CIESIN, USGS, NOAA, GLCF, ACASIAN

Geographical software includes: ArcGIS, MapInfo, IDRISI, Erdas Image, GRASS

GIS abilities include: input spatial data, manage attribute data, display data, explore data and analyze data.

Winrock’s projects using GIS include:

- The Republic of Georgia Rural Energy Program where GIS was used to create a watershed map in order to delineate watersheds and manage natural resources.

- USAID Carbon and Co-benefit Initiative where GIS is used to identify and demonstrate predictors of deforestation such as distance to populations and elevations.

- Women in Governance in Mali, a program to increase and strengthen women’s public roles in their communities. Information about women’s education and public roles was collected via written and computer surveys. After collection, the data was added to a GIS, which analyzed male to female areas, levels of education, election statistics and other topics in different areas of Mali.

- Medicals Services in Rural Areas, a program which identifies, using GIS, villages that do not have access to medical centers. GIS systems locate medical centers and their proximity to roads and villages, and development workers then use that information when planning where to build new medical centers.

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