Community Development, General

First Ever ESRI Africa User Conference

Students at the Southern African Wildlife College undergoing GIS training

The first ever Esri Africa User Conference, hosted by Esri South Africa, will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa from 11 – 13 November 2015.

Mapping an area in KAZA TFCA

Esri is the world leader in Geographic Information System (GIS) software development. GIS offers systems support in just about every sector type. Esri South Africa has been the primary geospatial industry software provider in southern Africa for the past 22 years. Esri endeavours to simplify decisions through spatial solutions, thereby enabling clients to make responsible, sustainable decisions.

Peace Parks Foundation has been a beneficiary of Esri’s products, through their conservation programme, since 2000 and has used these in planning the region’s transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs), to develop integrated development plans and projects, and to train the region’s conservation managers in GIS and in monitoring skills.

For the three days in Cape Town, the Esri conference will provide an opportunity to participate actively in hands-on software training, hear user presentations from peers in the region who share their experiences and successes, and get responses to specific technical questions from Esri staff.

Many professionals from the region’s top industries will attend the conference, including commercial sectors, government institutions and non-profit organisations. This abundance of user-to-user communication opportunities will allow for learning about real-life GIS experiences and best practices.

On 12 November 2015, Peace Parks Foundation and Esri South Africa will convene a one-day session on Africa’s environmental and conservation data needs. This will present a valuable opportunity for conservation and environmental practitioners to collaborate and share experiences of their use of GIS on the African continent. Furthermore, participants will be able to see in practise the very effective use of GIS as a spatial planning tool, working across various disciplines and visualising scenarios to support the region’s decision makers. The focus of the workshop will be on open data availability, access, gaps and currency and their fitness for use. Under discussion will be the key challenges to addressing these issues, including politics, finances and capacity, technology trends and their availability/ usability in Africa. The purpose is how best to bring together the African data providers and user communities, with an emphasis on improving communication, data-sharing and collaboration. The goal being that in so doing, environmental sustainability and conservation planning, as well as hands-on implementation across various sectors, will be achieved.

The Esri Africa User Conference programme and details are available here


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