EIGHT Solomon Islanders are developing their knowledge and skills in applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools, during a three-month-long attachment with the SOPAC division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva.
SOPAC is the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of SPC.
The Solomon Islanders are under the tutelage of Dr Wolf Forstreuter, SPC/SOPAC division senior officer GIS/RS adviser.
Dr Russell Howorth, SPC/SOPAC division director, said an integrated approach, across all stakeholders, was essential if GIS and RS tools were to be used to support sustainable development in the country. The Solomon Islands contingent exemplifies this integrated approach, with representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology; the National Disaster Management Office; the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education; the Ministry of Lands, and the Department of Forestry taking part.
GIS refers to computer-based data collection, storage, and analysis tools, that combines previously unrelated information into easily understood map, and can also perform complicated analytical functions and then present the results visually as maps, tables or graphs, allowing decision-makers to 'virtually' see the issues before them and then select the best course of action. Remote Sensing tools refer to the gathering of information from a distance, such as satellite images.
"Not only is each person gaining hands-on, on-the job exercise experience, but they are all becoming conversant with the types of information important to other participants and their ministry or department," said Dr Forstreuter.
By having the different departments working together, not only are they sharing data, but they are able to agree on common boundaries, such as those between agriculture and forestry.
The training has been co-ordinated with funding from several sources.