Microsoft Launches ‘Planetary Computer’ to Reach Biodiversity Goals
06 May 2020
The Foundation has been offering basic Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) training at the Southern Africa Wildlife College (SAWC) for the past 13 years. The value of GIS as a conservation tool is thereby shared with fellow conservationists and environmental organisations in the region.
During the past four years a more advanced GIS course has been offered to cater for those who have started making use of GIS in their work places and are moving up the ranks and therefore seeking more advanced ways of analysing spatial information.
Annually, four courses – two basic and two more advanced – are run at the Southern African Wildlife College. Each course touches on the technologies of GPS and remote sensing, as well as monitoring and evaluation tools. To date, more than 850 students from the region have been trained.
Staff in the various TFCAs have furthermore been trained to use GPS devices to collect field information related to their work and to feed this into a central monitoring and evaluation system. In 2012 a GIS training course was offered to representatives from Lesotho and South Africa, aimed at synergising data collection, storage and sharing in the Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA.
Additionally, staff members of the Bushman Council from the !Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park were trained to use GPS and to feed the information into a monitoring and evaluation system. Similarly GIS and monitoring and evaluation training work have been offered in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve and in Maputo Special Reserve, both in the Lubombo TFCA. Soon to follow will be the use of these tools to assist with work to counter wildlife crime in Limpopo National Park in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Socio-economic spatial training will be run during the month of April to assess conservation agriculture in and around the Simalaha Community Conservancy area in the Zambian component of KAZA TFCA. This is linked to a major development programme, funded by the Swedish Postcode Lottery, focused on a community-based approach to natural resource management, which will improve local ownership and access to basic human rights.