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IGAD Introduction to GIS for Disaster Risk Reduction

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IGAD Introduction to GIS for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Nairobi, Kenya
8 Apr 2013 to 20 Apr 2013
Duration of event:
2 Weeks
Programme Area:
Satellite Imagery and Analysis
Specific Target Audience:
No Fee
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Event Focal Point Contact Number:
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East Africa is a region facing multiple challenges from natural disasters like drought, flood, earthquake and complex emergencies. Building capacity at regional level to reduce effects of such events is fundamental for sustainable development. Geographic information system (GIS) has proven to be efficient for implementing coherent disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities at regional, national and local scale. Quantifying risk and expected future losses is a key step in any disaster risk reduction program also the outputs and scenarios of a risk assessment contribute to structuring overall risk reduction policies and planning. Geospatial risk assessment can be performed with GIS tools and techniques which can not only quantify risk but also identify the locations in need of risk reduction measures, thus making the whole risk reduction framework efficient.

In November 2012, UNOSAT undertook two fact-finding missions to Djibouti and Nairobi to explore needs and interests in improving geo-spatial capacities in support to DRR activities in east Africa. Based on discussions with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat, IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), IGAD's Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) and other IGAD actors following needs are identified to be addressed within the framework of this project. – A number of different technical training courses, awareness-raising events and had-hoc technical support will be delivered throughout the project to strengthen IGAD’s capacities for mainstreaming geospatial information technologies into DRR activities and implementation plans. A first technical training "Introduction to GIS for DDR" will be held in Nairobi from 8 to 19 April 2013 for targeted beneficiaries from IGAD Secretariat, ICPAC, ICPALD, CEWARN, Kenya Polytechnic University and other IGAD actors. 

The aim of the course is to provide participants with concepts and methodologies related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with specific applications to DRR. First week of this training the participants will get familiar with ESRI ArcGIS software, learn how to handle GIS data and prepare thematic maps. Second week the focus will be on specific applications of GIS for disaster risk assessment at regional and city level including disaster risk reduction planning.

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • Define and describe basic concepts and terminology related to geospatial information technology
  • Explain the advantages and limitations of using geospatial information in disaster risk reduction
  • Apply basic methods and functionalities of GIS software (ESRI ArcGIS) to produce geographic information
  • Identify, access, search, collect, organize and analyze geospatial data relevant to disaster risk reduction
  • Produce basic maps using GIS Software
  • Apply GIS methods for disaster risk assessment and disaster risk reduction planning 
The course is composed of 10 modules covering the below listed topics that will be delivered over 2 weeks:
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and ESRI ArcGIS
  • Searching, exploring and gathering geospatial data on the internet
  • Map projections and coordinate systems
  • Georeferencing raster data
  • Spatial data management and geodatabases
  • Digitisation from satellite imagery and topo maps
  • Working with spatial and attribute data
  • Symbolising and labeling features, map layouts and cartographic representations
  • Week one final assignment: Preparation of a thematic map
  • Concepts and terminology of DRR
  • Application of GIS in Disaster Risk Reduction and Risk Assessment models
  • Regional Risk Assessment using GIS
  • Hazard Regional Risk Assessment using GIS
  • RADIUS methodology for seismic risk assessment
  • Vulnerability / Exposure - Data preparation for seismic risk assessment using RADIUS
  • Seismic Risk Assessment simulation using RADIUS
  • From Risk Assessment to Risk Reduction Planning using GIS
  • Final GIS Project 

This course is divided into 10 Modules. Each module is structured into 4 sessions of 1.5 hours each, which make a workload of 6 hours on average per day and, an overall workload of 60 hours for the entire duration of the course. It is considered that the length of the course well reflects its scope and is adequate to enable participants to achieve the learning objectives.

This is a full time, face-to-face course comprising lectures and GIS lab exercises using local datasets and real scenarios (80% labexercises, 20% lectures and discussions).

Participants are preferably technical professionals working in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat, IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), IGAD's Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) and IGAD’s Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), with possibly some work exposure to basic levels of GIS, database and other information management systems.


This course will be delivered by UNOSAT, the operational satellite applications programme of the United Nations Institute for training and Research (UNITAR).

UNOSAT is a technology intensive programme active in all aspects of applied research relating to satellite solutions, from earth observation to telecommunication, positioning and navigation. UNOSAT delivers satellite solutions, geographic information to organizations within and outside the UN system to make a difference in the lives of communities exposed to poverty, hazards, and conflict, or affected by humanitarian and other crises.




Participants will be given a UN training participation certificate from UNITAR.


ESRI ArcGIS version 10.1 with extensions (spatial analyst). Google Earth, Access to internet

Class Size:

The number of participants is limited to 15.

Course Coordination:

Mr. Luca Dell’Oro, Specialist, UNITAR/UNOSAT (



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