Using QGIS for wildlife training in Tanzania
Working in southern Tanzania, the Udzungwa Elephant Project (UEP) is using Quantum GIS for its training in wildlife research and conservation. In February 2012, it held a two-day workshop for the Ecology and Protection (anti-poaching) staff of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, along with members of the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre.
About the Training
Trainees used their own laptops and were provided with the installer for QGIS 1.7.3 along with key data layers covering the National Park: protected area boundaries, scanned topographic maps, a DEM, roads, ranger posts, and habitat types.
By the end of the two days, everyone was able to add GPS download data, create and edit new layers, save map projects, design print composers, and save graphics files for inclusion in reports and presentations - this last feature is specially useful in using GIS to help in normal workflows. Even during the course, National Park staff were using the GIS to view the GPS locations of new-reported elephant carcass locations - the result of poaching - and to start planning responses.
QGIS offered us several attractions: not only is it completely free, but its open source nature makes it responsive to particular development needs; it runs well on older computers and has a relatively small installer; and in general we have found it user-friendly for newcomers to GIS.
The Udzungwa Elephant Project is based next to Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains National Park, a range of evergreen forested mountains reaching over 2,500 metres. It studies the ecology of elephants in and around the mountains, with the aim of understanding how elephants move between different Tanzanian parks and reserves, and how such corridors might be maintained while reducing crop damage caused by elephants. More widely, elephants are a "flagship species" for the conservation of the incredible wildlife and landscapes of southern Tanzania.
|QGIS Udzungwa 2
Special thanks to the US Fish and Wildlife Service African Elephant Fund for supporting this training.
This article was contributed in March 2012 by Nick McWilliam. UK-based, he has been visiting Tanzania since 1996 to work with GIS in National parks and Game Reserves, with an emphasis on training, low-cost systems, and using GIS to help in applied research,
management and conservation. He also volunteers with the NGO MapAction, providing GIS support to humanitarian organisations in emergencies, and previously worked with the British Antarctic Survey, United Nations, Royal Geographical Society, and as a GIS Lecturer.
The Quantum GIS project is always looking for people to publish QGIS case studies (user stories) on the QGIS website. Therefore we kindly ask institutions, universtities, authorities, and companies to write down their experience in using QGIS to solve their probems in a certain project or their every day live. Please contact the QGIS community-team, if you want to send us your story.
The stories should follow a simple structure and we suggest to write about 800 words including one or two screenshot.
- Short Introduction with background of the company / institute / authority / university (length about 200 words)
- Story about your project/application and what QGIS is used for (length about 400 words plus screenshots)
- Conclusion showing positive experiences/benefits using QGIS (length about 200 words)
List of Case Studies
Working with QGIS in a spatial data infrastructure of Jalisco in Mexico
The Instituto de Información Territorial del Estado de Jalisco is a government organization which was founded in 1998 to share geographical information between the government agencies of Jalisco in México.
Within the years, the institution has gathered loads of information in several formats such as SHP, DWG, DXF, GeoTIFF and ECW, among others. So, what we wanted was to have all this information available, organized and in a common format with the purpose of being able to provide and display it over the Internet.
Figure 2: Connecting to the Spatial Data Infrastructure with WMS
That's how it was developed the Sistema de Información Territorial Estatal en Línea, with the main target to build a spatial data infrastructure which allows our government agencies to share this kind of information to be included in their own projects as health, security or mobility.
Decision for QGIS
I decided to use Mapserver and PostgreSQL with PostGIS extension to be able to deliver our satellite imagery, orthopothos, digital elevation models and vector information with Web Map Services, thinking that any application will consume our services. But the problem was that many of the commercial and free applications don’t work with OGC standards, specially with WFS. After exploring many geographic information systems, I realized that QGIS was the only one which
can connect to WMS, WCS and WFS successfully.
What we use QGIS for
Internally, we use QGIS to check the raster and vector data of the agencies before publishing it, and after its integration, we used it again to test the Web services that we’ve created. Also, we have done many spatial analysis with QGIS pulling the data directly from our PostgreSQL spatial database, then, we export the results as shape files.
Figure 3: Connecting to the Spatial Data Infrastructure with WFS
We’re encouraging our users to download QGIS and link directly with our Sistema de Información Territorial Estatal en Línea, mainly because it fully supports OGC standards and has many interesting features like geoprocessing tools, which allow them to make analysis of their interest, and all this absolutely for free.
This project understood as the technological component of a Spatial Data Infrastructure, has been considered as a PostGIS case study, and I have to say that working with open source in all of our system’s cycle, has been satisfactory and trustworthy, the best choice that we have found to share our geographic information.
This article was contributed in July 2010 by IC Carlos Ruiz. He works as project's coordinator at the Instituto de Información Territorial del Estado de Jalisco, Mexico.
Using a free GIS at Jaime Moniz Secondary School: Quantum GIS
There will be democratic teaching in our schools or education communities when we generalize the use of Open Source software. This demands not only a change in people's way of thinking (sometimes molded by advertising), but also a sustainable management of expenses and, indirectly, fighting against software piracy. These advantages which are inherent to the philosophy of the Open Source software will be the model to follow if we want a quality education without boundaries or dependencies of any kind. From this perspective, class 35 of the 12th grade belonging to the technological course of territory and environment at Jaime Moniz Secondary School, uses QGIS to develop activities proposed in Geographical Information Systems, Applied Information Systems and during their training period. Within the range of options of free GIS, there were three underlying reasons for the choice of Open Source selection: the user friendly and intuitive approach, supported by online information provided by forums; the several software plug-ins and the quality of the product in its final stage. (One should bear in mind that these academic works were done by students who belong to a very young age group.)
The Project - Expectation
Expectation was the most dominating feeling in the firth lessons! The group of students had only a theoretical and somewhat vague knowledge about the issue of GIS. It was, therefore, necessary to link practical activities to that theoretical knowledge - at first, through the gathering of geographical information by using a support map, within the school's perimeter, and later, by using a GPS, concerning the area surrounding the school. In figures 1 and 2 it is possible to view some of the activities developed in class.
Figure 1: "Distribution of dustbins (green) and garden benches (yellow) at Jaime Moniz Secondary School"
At present, some students are still using the QGIS to make different work plans during their training period. In figure 3, a student's work stands out: it is related to the distribution regarding the number of the inhabitants of Santo António, including a placement proposal for recycle containers, in a parish of Funchal.
Figure 2: Functional map of an area in the old part of the town of Funchal, surrounding Jaime Moniz Secondary School
Decision for QGIS
Number of the inhabitants (example) Generally speaking, QGIS allured the students: “to accomplish basic functions of GIS through exercise associations of graphic and non-graphic elements”; “to upload alphanumeric data”; “use functions of spacial analysis”; “to make thematic maps”; “to make a Digital Elevation Model” and, last but not least, “to recognize the relevance of a free GIS for the analysis of geographical information, as well for the sustainable management of the territory”. These theoretical and practical purposes are achieved together along with other goals, extremely important in the education context, such as: “creating a diversified educational experience”; “being in contact with local reality” and “developing a constructive, positive and critical mind”.
From the class room to the education community
The idea of creating a website: http:// www.sig-na-jaime-moniz.webnode.pt implied two main purposes: “spreading the word about project works done by the students” and, simultaneously, “show the importance of Open Source QGIS for the accomplishment of these school works”. At present, the website is a motivation source for the follow up of the whole
Figure 3: Placement proposal for recycle containers in the parish of Santo António
In a flashback analysis of the whole process, I feel that the idea of using QGIS, as a tool, to accomplish some teaching purposes, was an excellent choice. At first, its use involved a lot of expectation. I had never used GIS before and, therefore, I was learning and teaching at the same time. The fact that the GIS turned out to be extremely user friendly together, with the information available online, was a blessing for me. Moreover, the school did not have to pay for another software license nor it was dependent on license renewals, which substantially improved the teaching quality, without any extra expenses. At present, students use QGIS almost on their own to accomplish their different work plans. I hope the final result shows the amount of effort involved in the whole learning process.
This article was elaborated in March 2011 by Fátima Vale with the support of Luís Antunes
(supervisor of the students in the DRIGOT). In that moment, she is teacher in the Jaime Moniz Secondary School and supervisor teacher during the training period of students in the different Institutions.