HUYE — The Centre for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is to start a Post-graduate diploma programme in Applied Geo-Information Science.
According to Adrie Mukashema, an official at the centre, the programme to start in January next year mainly targets technicians in districts and government ministries.
“They will be trained on how to use geographic information systems and remote sensing tools in solving problems and identifying problem areas,” said Mukashema, adding that completion of the course will lead to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Applied Geo-Information Science.
The Centre for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at UNR was created to support the development of a GIS-based education and research programme at the university.
It is also seen as a consulting organ for GIS applications in government and the private sector.
At an evaluation workshop this week, it was revealed that the centre has undertaken various GIS related projects like the Rwanda Forest Project that produced satellite images of forest coverage in Rwanda-results of which indicated that deforestation has led to a huge loss of forest cover over the last 19 years.
“The research that covered the period 1988-2007 shows that the country has lost 9.6 percent of the total forest cover,” said Mukashema, adding that the rate of reforestation did not match that of deforestation.
The centre has also undertaken a GIS Coffee Project which aims at using Geo-IT as a marketing tool for the Rwanda coffee sector.
According to Dr Michelle Schilling, a preliminary analysis of coffee from the 2007 Golden Cup competition was made to make a descriptive analysis of the coffee flavor and its linkage to the environment.
“GIS tools link the taste to the Geography of the region. We are able to get variables like where the coffee comes from, the land elevation, climatic data, soil data and farmers’ practices,” said Schilling.
He added that such information is important for branding purposes as is the case in other industrial production like the wine industries.
GIS tools are also being used in land management where a pilot project has been completed in the districts of Karongi, Kicukiro, Kirehe, Gatsibo and Musanze.
Didier Rugema, an official from the Ministry of Natural Resources, said satellite images in support of land tenure regularisation have been produced using GIS and remote sensing tools.
Similar GIS and Remote Sensing tools have been employed in Kamonyi district for their Land and Housing Planning, and in the Kigali City’s Land use Master Plan
The CGIS together with the Ministry of Education initiated the introduction of GIS curriculum in Rwandan secondary schools to help students gain a more comprehensive understanding of their environment.
The project, still in its pilot phase, is being implemented in over ten schools in the country.