Empowered through GIT

How capacity is developed in Bangladesh for using innovative GIT tools and satellite applications for improved disaster risk reduction

10 June, 2016 Dhaka, Bangladesh – UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) has completed the advanced training of 16 disaster management professionals from 10 line ministries of the Bangladesh government. The training was focused on advanced operational applications of Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The course was delivered in collaboration with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 29 May to 02 June 2016, in the Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) premises.

                                      

The training was delivered as the second and concluding part of a capacity development programme that saw the first part conducted in Bangladesh during October 2015. The activities are funded by the Government of Norway.  This capacity development programme commenced with a two-week long training event, which focused on specific risk assessment for predominant hazards in Bangladesh. Subsequently, an assignment of participants to undertake a 6 months long practical project work in direct relevance to their job was reviewed in the recently concluded training, tailored to support the participants with the finalization of their project work. This training programme presented the participants with an innovative capacity development approach that enabled them to master and adopt the different tools and techniques of GIT in their daily workflows.

An Expert Geospatial Working Group (EGWG) established on UNOSAT’s community of practice online platform enabled the participants to have personal communication among themselves not only for developing and implementing the practical “mini-projects”, but also for tackling their day-to-day challenges in the application of GIT to their work. Remarkably, some of the mini-projects were developed through the pairing up of participants from different departments of the Bangladesh government, for example – participants from the Bangladesh Metrological Department & the Department of Agricultural Extension formed a team to complete a mini-project on: “Outbreak of Wheat Blast disease in relation to weather parameters in Bangladesh”. For the sustainability of the Expert Geospatial Working Group, the moderation of the online platform will be handed over to the participants and it will be managed on a rotational basis among themselves. The participants also envisage holding annual networking meetings to enhance collaboration and sharing of professional experiences. 

The skills applied in the projects were a direct reflection of the capacity developed through what was in total 3 weeks training. The skills developed included digital image classification, change detection and quantification techniques, semi-automated landform classification, weather parameter and incident location investigation, decision support analysis, urbanisation and waterlogging risk assessment, among others.  

According to the participants feedback, the training was 100% successful and it provided a motivation boost to make participants confident of the knowledge and skills acquired for applying GIT in their professional setting. One of the participants Mir Fahim Shaunak of the Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) emphasised that:

“This training gave an increase of knowledge & confidence in designing project methodologies. It has been beneficial for the professionals working in the area of GIS and Remote Sensing as well as in Disaster Risk Reduction”.

The training was the first of its kind where participants had the opportunity to work extensively with UNOSAT experts in developing the GIT for DRR projects relevant to their work. Participants had also the freedom to work and manipulate software and data as they wanted. Participants are now fully empowered to integrate and apply the different GIT for DRR tools and techniques in their workflows. UNOSAT will continue to backstop the trainees with advice and access to data, as well as software license. 


Photo 1: Participants during the GIS laboratory exercises

Photo 2: Participants with UNOSAT training expert Khaled Mashfiq, who delivered the training