The Department of Geography showcased interesting presentations by a number of speakers from various organisations and institutions when it held its first GIS Day recently.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is a technology used to capture, store, process, develop and display geographical data in digital form. GIS dates back to the late 1960s when the digital handling of geographical data was pioneered at Harvard University. In Namibia, the technology has been used since the 2000s, but only became a mainstream technology in the new millennium. It is now being used by all major institutions and organisations that handle spatial data and planning.

The various speakers provided insight into how they make use of GIS in their respective organisations. The Gabonese Agency for Protected Areas (ANPN), for example, uses GIS to prepare and implement in field intervention for rangers in different national parks. The ANGTi was well represented at this first GIS Day by presenting on Use of GIS and Database Application in the National Infrastructure management. GIS has also become an indispensable technology to several ministries and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Invited guests (ANPN & ANGTi) who attended the first gabonese GIS Day

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The presentations given by professionals in the industry provided the attendees with an overview of the challenges being faced in this sector and also highlighted the strides made in this field.

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In his review of the GIS status in Gabon, Dr Mouketou-Tarazewicz, a Department of Geography Lecturer, said: “Many organisations such as important governmental institutions, private and State-Owned Organisations, lack secure data and reliable access to centrally managed information for their organisations, and their stakeholders at national level. Spatial data is a key resource for the development of a nation. Much economic potential is locked away in spatial data collections, and this potential is realised by making the data widely available.”

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The organisers of this first gabonese GIS Day propose to add more activities to the programme and to establish the event for each next years.

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