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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

DOWN TO EARTH

Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa

Committee on the Geographic Foundation for Agenda 21

Committee on Geography

Mapping Science Committee

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was jointly sponsored by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Geological Survey. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08478-4

Library of Congress Control Number: 2002110505

Front cover: Left—a GeoCover-Ortho image of Mount Kilimanjaro originally obtained at 30 × 30 m spatial resolution. It has a positional accuracy of better than 50 m (root mean square error). Landsat TM bands 7,4,2 (mid-infrared, near-infrared, and green) are displayed (courtesy of Earth Satellite Corporation). Each color or shade is unique and depends on the vegetation type, health, and growth stage. The bright greens are dense vegetation. The purples and pinks are sparse to no vegetation. The bottom third center of the image along Mount Kilimanjaro’s lower slopes contains areas of clear cuts (in pinks) surrounded by uncut verdant forest (bright greens). The top of the mountain is snow-covered (blue) and the white areas are clouds. Upper Right—artist’s rendition of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission 60-m (200-ft) mast being deployed from the space shuttle Endeavor (courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Radar images are collected from the end of the mast and from the shuttle payload bay. Lower Right—paper maps used in decision support in Namibia (courtesy of Jo Tagg, Namibia Nature Foundation).

Cover designed by Van Nguyen

Copies of this report are available from:
The National Academies Press
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20055 Lockbox 285 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE GEOGRAPHIC FOUNDATION FOR AGENDA 21

JOHN R. JENSEN, Chair,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

KWESI BOTCHWEY,

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

ELLEN BRENNAN-GALVIN,

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.

CHRISTIAN J. JOHANNSEN,

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

CALESTOUS JUMA,

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

AKINLAWON L. MABOGUNJE,

Development Policy Center, Ibadan, Nigeria

ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER,

Columbia University, Palisades, New York

KEVIN P. PRICE,

University of Kansas, Lawrence

PRISCILLA A. C. REINING (Retired),

International Office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C.

DAVID L. SKOLE,

Michigan State University, East Lansing

ANDREW STANCIOFF,

Stone Environmental, Inc., Washington, D.C.

D. R. FRASER TAYLOR,

Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

NRC Staff

ANTHONY R. de SOUZA, Director,

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

PAUL M. CUTLER, Study Director

LISA M. VANDEMARK, Study Director

KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer

EILEEN M. McTAGUE, Research Assistant

TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

COMMITTEE ON GEOGRAPHY

BILLIE L. TURNER II, Chair,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

BERNARD O. BAUER,

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

RUTH S. DEFRIES,

University of Maryland, College Park

ROGER M. DOWNS,

Pennsylvania State University, University Park

MICHAEL F. GOODCHILD,

University of California, Santa Barbara

SUSAN HANSON,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

SARA L. MCLAFFERTY,

University of Illinois, Urbana

ELLEN S. MOSLEY-THOMPSON,

The Ohio State University, Columbus

ERIC S. SHEPPARD,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

NRC Staff

KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer

MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant

VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

MAPPING SCIENCE COMMITTEE

DAVID J. COWEN, Chair,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

ANNETTE J. KRYGIEL, Vice-Chair, Independent Consultant,

Integro, Great Falls, Virginia

ERIC A. ANDERSON,

City of Des Moines, Iowa

WILLIAM J. CRAIG,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

MARK MONMONIER,

Syracuse University, New York

JOEL MORRISON,

Ohio State University, Columbus

SHERYL G. OLIVER,

Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield

HARLAN J. ONSRUD,

University of Maine, Orono

C. STEPHEN SMYTH,

MobileGIS, Ltd., Bellevue, Washington

JAMES V. TARANIK,

University of Nevada, Reno

REX W. TRACY,

BAE Systems, San Diego, California

A. KEITH TURNER,

Colorado School of Mines, Golden

NRC Staff

PAUL M. CUTLER, Program Officer

RADHIKA S. CHARI, Senior Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES

RAYMOND JEANLOZ, Chair,

University of California, Berkeley

JILL BANFIELD,

University of California, Berkeley

STEVEN R. BOHLEN,

Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C.

VICKI J. COWART,

Colorado Geological Survey, Denver

DAVID L. DILCHER,

University of Florida, Gainesville

ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI,

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

WILLIAM L. GRAF,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

RHEA GRAHAM,

New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

DIANNE R. NIELSON,

Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City

MARK SCHAEFER,

NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia

BILLIE L. TURNER II,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

THOMAS J. WILBANKS,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

NRC Staff

ANTHONY R. de SOUZA, Director

TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer

DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer

ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer

PAUL M. CUTLER, Program Officer

KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer

KERI H. MOORE, Program Officer

LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer

YVONNE P. FORSBERGH, Research Assistant

MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant

EILEEN M. McTAGUE, Research Assistant

JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate

VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate

RADHIKA S. CHARI, Senior Project Assistant

KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant

SHANNON L. RUDDY, Senior Project Assistant

TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant

WINFIELD SWANSON, Editorial Consultant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Dr. André Bassolé

Environmental Information Systems in sub-Saharan Africa (EIS-AFRICA)

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Dr. Ruth S. Defries

University of Maryland

College Park

Dr. Paul V. Desanker

University of Virginia

Charlottesville

Dr. Michael F. Goodchild

University of California

Santa Barbara

Dr. James Guseh

North Carolina Central University

Durham

Dr. Barry N. Haack

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Dr. David Kaplan

Department of Trade and Industry

Cape Town, South Africa

Dr. Pamela A. Matson

Stanford University

California

Dr. John Mugabe

African Centre for Technology Studies

Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Marilyn Silberfein

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. Thomas J. Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Dr. Brian J. L. Berry, University of Texas. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
×

Preface

On July 9, 2001, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky sent a letter to Dr. Bruce Alberts, president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, requesting a study as a contribution to the U.S. Department of State’s “Geographic Information for Sustainable Development” Alliance for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August 2002. Being held a decade after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the main goals of the summit are to “reinvigorate the global commitments to and achieve a higher level of international solidarity and partnership in the promotion of sustainable development” (UN, 2001).

The Geographic Information for Sustainable Development Alliance is an international collaboration and alliance whose objective is to apply a new generation of earth observation data and GIS-linked technologies to ongoing sustainable development problems in Africa. The alliance focuses on four case-study regions in sub-Saharan Africa. These are the Upper Niger basin, the Kenya-Tanzania coast, the African Great Lakes Region, and the Limpopo and Zambezi river basins. As a component of the Geographic Information for Sustainable Development Alliance, this study concentrates on sub-Saharan Africa and draws on experiences from activities in these case-study regions. Descriptions of ongoing activities in these areas are provided as examples of the application of geographic information to sustainable development in Africa. Given the embryonic state of some activities in the case-study regions and the available time and resources, the committee chose not to critically analyze these efforts. Instead the committee (Appendix A) drew on literature and testimony from public, private, and non-profit organizations working with geographic information and applications in Africa (Appendix B) and its own experience and judgment to determine broad lessons learned. Committee and staff members also participated in international conferences and meetings of geographic information practitioners in Bamako, Mali; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; Niamey, Niger; and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

In a symposium at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1999 Professor John E. Estes first noted the need for a study of this type. He suggested compiling a resource high-lighting the value of geographic data and tools for addressing issues of sustainable development. Professor Estes stated, “We cannot have sustainable economic development and improved environmental quality without understanding how our global resource base is changing through time.”

In addition to the U.S. Department of State the study received support from the Environmental Systems Research Institute, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

John R. Jensen, Chair

REFERENCE

UN (United Nations). 2001. SADC Progress Report on the Implementation of Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development: A Report to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Available at <http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/web_pages/sadc_prepcom_progress_report.pdf>. Accessed August 1, 2002.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Down to Earth: Geographic Information for Sustainable Development in Africa. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10455.
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Historical Legacy Data as a Baseline for Documenting Change,

 

52

   

Framework Foundation Geographic Data from Modern Sources,

 

54

   

Framework Thematic Geographic Data,

 

66

   

Summary,

 

69

   

References,

 

69

   

Annex 5,

 

71

6

 

GEOGRAPHIC DATA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT II: OTHER THEMATIC DATA

 

79

   

Introduction,

 

79

   

Land Cover and Land Use,

 

79

   

The Condition of Vegetation and Hydrologic Resources,

 

90

   

Data for Managing Human Health,

 

94

   

Coordination Among Data Producers and Users,

 

95

   

Summary,

 

96

   

References,

 

97

   

Annex 6,

 

99

7

 

GIS-BASED DECISION-SUPPORT SYSTEMS IN AFRICA

 

104

   

Introduction,

 

104

   

Decision-Making and Geographic Information,

 

105

   

Examples of Decision-Support Systems in Africa,

 

108

   

Impediments to Implementing Spatial Decision-Support Systems in Africa,

 

110

   

Opportunities for Enhancing Decision Support in Africa,

 

111

   

Summary,

 

113

   

References,

 

113

8

 

BUILDING CAPACITY TO APPLY GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

 

114

   

Introduction,

 

114

   

Human Capacity,

 

115

   

Organizational Capacity,

 

116

   

Societal Capacity,

 

121

   

Summary,

 

126

   

References,

 

126

9

 

LESSONS LEARNED AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 

128

   

Introduction,

 

128

   

Lessons Learned,

 

128

   

Conclusions and Recommendations,

 

130

   

Summary,

 

134

   

References,

 

135

 

 

APPENDIXES

 

 

   

A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members

 

139

   

B Oral and Written Contributors

 

142

   

C FGDC Statement

 

146

   

D Acronyms

 

148

   

E Glossary

 

153

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In 1992, world leaders adopted Agenda 21, the work program of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. This landmark event provided a political foundation and action items to facilitate the global transition toward sustainable development. The international community marked the tenth anniversary of this conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002. Down to Earth, a component of the U.S. State Department's "Geographic Information for Sustainable Development" project for the World Summit, focuses on sub-Saharan Africa with examples drawn from case-study regions where the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies have broad experience. Although African countries are the geographic focus of the study, the report has broader applicability. Down to Earth summarizes the importance and applicability of geographic data for sustainable development and draws on experiences in African countries to examine how future sources and applications of geographic data could provide reliable support to decision-makers as they work towards sustainable development. The committee emphasizes the potential of new technologies, such as satellite remote-sensing systems and geographic information systems, that have revolutionized data collection and analysis over the last decade.

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