AGSE 2011 Conference and Summer School

Geoinformation for a Better World – AGSE 2011 Conference and Summer School <<

The Applied Geoinformatics for Society and Environment Conference and Summer School Series for the year 2011 was held for the first time in Africa. The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja, Kenya, was privileged to be this year’s hosts in conjunction with the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (SUAS), between August 15th to August 19th 2011.

This year’s conference was a great success as it attracted not only the alumni of the Master’s programme from SUAS, but had a large attendance from DAAD Alumni, researchers from both international and local research institutions, local universities, as well as sponsors/exhibitors from the geoinformatics industry. In total, the conference attracted over 130 participants from 22 countries exceeding the conferences in the years before. There were participants from Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, USA, Vietnam, and Zambia.

The conference’s theme ”Geoinformation for a Better World” was addressed via keynote speeches and parallel presentation sessions through subthemes like Earth observation systems, information extraction, and photogrammetry; Advances in GIScience; Internet-based and open source solutions; Spatial data infrastructures and land management; Environmental issues and sustainable development; Natural resource management; Disaster and risk management; Geoinformatics in health; Urban and regional planning; GIS in Education; and Alumni experiences and business development.

From SUAS, talks and workshops were given by Prof. Franz-Josef Behr, Prof. Michael Hahn and Prof. Rainer Kettemann, as well as by the students Veronica Wendlik and Amer Qayum who received scholarships by Knödler Decker Foundation. Essential organisational support was provided by Mrs Zimmermann and Mrs Baur. The summer school itself was funded by DAAD with financial support by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In a large range of workshops and Special Interest Groups also alumni shared their knowledge and experience with the participants. Exhibitions from the industry showcased advances in the technology as well as practical case studies on GIS, Remote Sensing and geomatic engineering.

The five days conference was officially opened by the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, and closed by the Acting Principal, College of Engineering and Technology, JKUAT, , Prof. Walter Oyawa. The opening ceremony was also graced by the presence of the JKUAT Vice Chancellor and her deputies in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof Esther Kahangi and the DVC Academic Affairs, Prof Romanus Odhiambo, and the chairman of the AGSE Conference Series, Prof Dr. Franz-Josef Behr.

A visit to the United Nation Headquarters (UNEP) offered an exemplary chance for the participants as well as staff of the UN to share on what each was doing in the use of GIS, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry in environmental issues, especially in forest conservation. In culmination, the conference included an educative field trip, where the participants had the opportunity to savour the scenic sights of the Great Rift Valley and the rich fauna and flora of Lake Nakuru National Park, and finally a guided visit of the National Museum.

The conference presented a very unique opportunity where researchers from across the globe shared knowledge on applied geoinformatics from different countries, and also an excellent opportunity to network and discuss issues that affect humanity and its environment. In addition the conference fostered the close relationship between Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences which is going to be intensified by mutual academic exchange.

Dr. Moses M. Ngigi, Prof. Dr. Franz-Josef Behr