The proposed project seeks to build the capacities of conservation groups in the use of GIS and remote sensing in conservation planning. Particular focus will be on those those agencies active in the CEPF programme in the Western Ghats.
Application of spatial data for conservation planning requires both its availability as well as capacities to utilise it. The investments being made by CEPF in the Western Ghats portal will partly address the first part of this problem. The proposed project will address the lack of capacities in conservation groups by conducting four five day workshops, one in at least four venues selected with CEPF partners from different regions. Fifteen to twenty persons, will be trained the use of GPS units and GIS and remote sensing software with emphasis on conservation applications in each of the workshops.
The entire training will be done on free and open source software and therefore will require no investments of the institutions on software. Software to be used includes the Quantum GIS package, Geographical Resource Analysis Support System (GRASS) and the R package for statistical computing. Open source technologies in GIS and remote sensing provide a real alternative to proprietary software. Regardless of their expertise in GIS/RS, conservation groups and research agencies stand to gain from exposure to this technology. FOSS-GIS provides an opportunity to smaller, less endowed agencies and individuals to make use the technology and techniques.
The project has trained over a hundred researchers active in the field of conservation and ecology in the Western Ghats in the use of spatially explicit tools. The workshops themselves were hosted by five different institutions thereby helping in networking them and creating a group of resource persons. The training has filled an important gap in the capacities of these researchers to use spatially explicit data from a variety of sources in conservation related research.
The project has helped bring together an initial set of syllabi for teaching spatial analysis to ecologists based on discussions with experts in the field. This may have long term impacts on the quality of research outputs from institutions involved in these fields.
The project has exceeded the targets set in terms of numbers of students and institutions covered as well as the range of topics that were taught and discussed.
- Over a 100 persons from conservation groups in 4 states trained in the use of open source software for GIS, GPS, remote sensing and introduced to spatialstatistics and landscape ecology applications.
- Online resources for the training in terms of tutorials, quizzes, reading materials and exercises provided via an internet based course management software.
- Free and open source software for spatial applications installed and configured for each of the participants on their computers.
- Roster of GIS-enabled resource persons to act locally with contact information on WGPortal being created under the “Groups” interface.