Environment management using modern Geoinformatic technologies is the focus of a five day global conference that opened at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Monday August 15, 2011 and brought together 120 researchers drawn from 19 countries of Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.
Jointly sponsored by JKUAT and Germany based Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences, the Applied Geoinformatics for Society and Environment Conference, the fourth Conference that is being held in Africa for the first time is an interdisciplinary and international forum that brings together the various researchers to share emerging knowledge and applications in related geoiformatics disciplines such as geographical Information system, remote sensing, and photogrammetry. The conference too has been designed to offer professional training and workshops in the various geoiformatics disciplines.
In her address, JKUAT’s vice chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga praised the conference organizers for choosing Kenya and JKUAT to host the conference saying that the Juja based University had made great strides in training and research in the discipline of Geomatic and Geospatial Engineering initiated seven years ago. Besides offering training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, JKUAT she said had spearheaded a number of technology transfer projects aimed at empowering some of the country’s institutions.
Prof. Imbuga informed the conference the Kenya’s police service was the first institution to benefit from JKUAT organized Geoiformatics technology transfer training workshop few years ago where selected number of crime police busters received training on the use of the ultra modern Geospatial Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in the control of crime in the country. The University the vice chancellor added had also recently developed through Geoinfornatics technology a water billing and management system that she said had greatly improved the water management resource in its neighborhood Gatanga constituency.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Environment and Mineral Resources Permanent Secretary Ali Mohamed asked participants from developing countries to popularize the use of geospatial technologies in governance saying it had the potential to accelerate performance in the public sector. Mr. Mohamed informed the conference politicians and other decision makers in the public sector were constantly initiating and implementing policy choices that he said could easily be monitored and evaluated using geo-information technologies.
The permanent secretary in a speech read for by him by the Ministry’s Director of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing Mr. Jaspat Agatsiva, challenged the experts to incorporate the geoinformation technology into the mobile telephony as an attempt of bringing services such as geo-digital policing for security mapping and banking at community level.
The conference funded by a number of organizations including, Esri East Africa, Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), among others was also addressed by vice-chancellor, Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences, Germany Prof. Michael Hahn.