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The Use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) And International Technology Transfer by Non-Governmental Developmental Organisations in Africa

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Introduction

DISSERTATION DOCUMENT COMPLETE CHAPTER 1-7 27/11/01 1 The Use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) And International Technology Transfer by Non-Governmental Developmental Organisations in Africa ABSTRACT This Research work is based on the Use of Geographic Information system (GIS) and international technology transfer to Developing Countries (Africa) by Non-Governmental Development organisation. NGDO are involved in initiating and Implementing development projects in Developing Countries. They discover that with the use of GIS in their projects, scarce resources could be appropriately distributed using GIS system for the intervention measures identified. The GIS Technology seen by NGDO playing a role in improving decision making and planning (Mather1997); used the new mapping technology to assist in agricultural development throughout the third world (CIRAD 1994); seen playing a leading role in environmental assessment in the third world (World bank); GIS seen as technology that remove the 'political' from the decision making process and allows for an equitable and fair distribution of resources. GIS has many problems both at the development stages and the implementation and use. Some of the problems included: Data Capture, Data access, National infrastructures, Organisational issues (such as Management acceptance, Top management involvement, GIS users participation); also funding sustainable development and appropriate technology transfer are issues of concern. Recommendation made to overcome such problems included: appropriate participation at all stages of development and use by all GIS users; development of prototypes, incremental (phase) implementation. GIS has many benefits: rational planning, Monitory of trends of disease prevalence, Integration of Data and geo-information from diverse sources (aerial photography, GPs, satellites, survey data, routine data, data from conventional maps); accurate and timely information ; Mapping of social and physical information. GIS technology transfer should be an incremental approach: Initial phase, orientation, sensitisation programmes, developing technical capacities, training and workshops, establishing of provisional teams to ensure sharing of resources, data and information across line agencies and other government departments, establishment of national system to supported and promoted by international organisations. ...read more.

Middle

The lower the level of software training necessary to be productive the better for the GIS for African and other laboratories. Ability to help protect the user from foreseeable problems. These include protection against loss of data from system malfunctions (like a disk failing to write) in the middle of a program by not overwriting the input data with the output data. Avoiding incompatible file formats that unnecessarily impede the appropriate combination of different types of data and ensuring that the output from one function produces data, which are not incompatible for input into a logical next-step function. Ability for the user interfaces to consider linguistic differences more common words to major languages, symbols to be used. IMPROVEMENT IN SOFTWARE DOCUMENTATION AND TRAINING MATERIALS Software documentation to be made in an appropriate language to facilitate quick use. GIS developers to improve on training in GIS techniques in the appropriate technical subject area. LONG-TERM COMMITMENTS FOR TRANING Adequately trained personnel are a fundamental requirement to the successful implementations of GIS in any area. Organisation should be committed to long term training needs to enable a stable foundation in the technology. CONTINUED TECHNICAL INPUT AFTER TRAINING Availability of appropriate collection of textbooks and subscription to journals and newsletters, to enable users current knowledge update on GIS. Thes are useful to keep readers current on developments and personalities in the field. Example of newsletters includes: ARCNews on ARC/INFO, ERDAS Monitor and GRASSCLIPPING on GRASS. IMPROVED COLLABORATION WITH OTHER GIS FACILITIES Local and International collaboration is vital to the continued success of many African GIS facilities. This could provide medium term technical visits and possibly data and technology exchange. 5.7 GIS DEVELOPMENT ADVANCES AND CRITIQUE 5.7.1 INTEROPERABILITY - CORE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED BY OPEN GIS CONSORTIUM (OGC) This is a core technology development in open GIS Consortium Inc (OGC's). The main aim for GIS research and development is the full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing and the widespread use of interoperable, commercial geoprocessing software throughout the global information infrastructure (OGC 1996). ...read more.

Conclusion

4:Evolutionary systems development using prototyping and pilot systems approach [after Eason (1988)] 8.1.3 DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION To implement a successful GIS in an institution, Mable (1990) identified the critical actors and summarised as follows: System Sponsors: A high ranking institutional 'parent' of the system that by position assumes the burden of risk and political responsibility, which include: pursue of the GIS related capabilities to the goals of the organisation, provision of funds, format direction and organisational legitimacy. Systems Analyst: Technically trained person who is an 'agent for action; to chart the course of system development and implementation: guides details of project to completion, champions users' needs, balances the technical opportunities with organisational requirements and is a skilled politician. System Users: The organisation and individuals who use GIS to support decisions. System Operators: the organisation that deals with daily operation and maintenance of the system and ensures continuous function. Suppliers: the organisation responsible for the development and implementation of system. Could be private company that supplies a commercially marketed system. Data Supplier: the organisation(s) that supplies (supply) data to the system. An additional actor identified by Peuquet and Bacastow is: System Mentor: to be a powerful individual (or group) outside prescribed development channels who provides guidelines concerning the organisational implication of GIS technology 8.1.4 PRACTICE OF GIS IMPLEMENTATION The research findings tended to reinforce the Taylor's (1991) claim of the visible benefits of GIS in developing countries being marginal. Sahay and Walsham provided three specific sets of implications for the practice of GIS implementation for the future GIS projects. Which are: finding a better balance between the technical and social aspects of the project; providing continuity in project management; and the development of more comprehensive data management strategies. 8.1.5 PARTICIPATION For the successful development, implementation and use of GIS, the typology of participation developed by Pretty (1994) could be adopted which is a "participation that ranges from passive participation at one end of the scale to the interactive participation and self-mobilisation at the other end" 8.1. ...read more.

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