Earth Observation Data Training for Sustainable Development

  • November 15, 2019     Accra

    The 3-day Hands-on Training on Earth Observation Data for Sustainable Development Goals has recently come to an end. The training exercise took place from the 12th to the 14th of November 2019 at UNU-INRA premises at University of Ghana.

    Earth observation uses remote sensing to track land, water bodies and human settlements. This can be extended to the monitoring of forests, farms, freshwater, coastal areas and cities. The use of earth observation data can contribute to managing agriculture and water sources, understanding environmental issues and climate change and responding to natural disasters.

    UNU-INRA has a mandate to build capacities for the sustainable development and management of natural resources in Africa. Earth Observation can contribute significantly to this by helping policymakers make informed decisions about the environment. For this reason we seek to improve knowledge and expertise on the available tools.

    Photo credit: NASA Landsat

    For three days, Dr Gerald Forkuor and Mr George Owusu showed participants how Earth Observation software, such as SNAP, Google Earth and CERGIS, can make the difference in Natural Resource Management and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Particular attention was paid to the second Sustainable Development Goal: ending world Hunger.

    To get a better understanding of Earth Observation, participants got an overview on the history of earth Observation. With an overview of Aerial Photography, a practice that got its start in 1909 when the military used it to gain information on its enemies. Participants also  learned about Landsat and it’s developments on satellite technology in the 1970s and how it paved the way for the data tracking technology today.

    The participants came from different backgrounds. Including, a participant that works with the World Health Organization on an initiative to reduce pollution in the cities, and a participant that monitors organic carbons in soil. In addition, there was also a PhD student focusing on finding the impact of climate change.

    The participants of the Earth Observation Training also got to do some practical work and saw first-hand how it can make the difference in Natural Resource Management.

    Our partner, CERSGIS, have been using remote sensing to locate illegal mining, or Galamsey, sites in Ghana and are working with the government to reduce the incidence of these because of the resultant land degradation and environmental damage. “What we did was more geared towards agriculture and the environment, “George Owusu, GIS Training Specialist, “It’s up to us to apply these tools to other areas that are very powerful,”.