Monday, November 24, 2008

International GIS Day 2008, November 19: Program in Nepal

GIS Society of Nepal organized a one day work shop on the occasion of International GIS Day on November 19, 2008. About 150 persons attended the workshop. Nepal GIS Society had also completed a one week GIS training for the beginners, and the trainees were given their certificates on this day. On this GIS Day, five papers were presented (please see the program at the end).

These were interesting topics. After the brief introductory remarks and official nomination of program chair, by the NEGISS President Dr. Krishna Prasad Paudel, the paper presentation session began. Prof. Dr. Upendra Man Malla former Department Head of Geography, Tribhuwan University, and also a former member of National Planning Commission, chaired the program. Dr Krishna Paudel, the NEGISS President is a Professor at the Tribhuwan University.

Dr. Narendra Khanal's paper outlined the role of Remote Sensing and GIS in disaster management, especially in flood hazards. He is a well known TU Geography Professor.

Dr Krishna Pahari presented the results of Poverty Mapping project conducted by WFP/Nepal. Interesting presentation indeed though the work was completed some two years ago in 2006. This WFP work is a reference work for Poverty Mapping in Nepal. Dr Pahari worked for Care/Nepal earlier.

Then Bhola Dhakal presented his work on Rara National Park. He focused mainly on land use dynamics of the Rara National Park area. Bhola is an active member of Nepal GIS Society. The maps he showed in the presentation were of very high quality.

Indra Sharan KC presented a proposal or a set of suggestions for the Nepali decadal Census planned to take place in 2011 based on his geo-referenced population census survey of Pawai Gamde VDC in Syangja district, conducted by the local development user groups. His recommendation for the census was "Plan and take geo-referenced Census for entire Nepal in 2011". His argument was that once the households or dwelling units are fixed on ground with GPS coordinates, the country would benefit from a host of useful products and analyses despite the changes in admin units. This would make the census data meaningful for Nepal's state structuring and federal republic agenda. Otherwise if the census is taken from the reference of existing VDC and district boundary, it will be difficult to generate summary information and make adjustment for the new admin or political units created by the Constituent Assembly and the new constitution. Central Bureau of Statistics, the main census organization, had taken census at the settlement level for the 1991 census on the recommendation of NPC Decentralization Support Project and Nepali Planners. Indra Sharan had served as GIS Advisor for the UNDP's NPC Decentralization and Participatory District Development Program (PDDP) developing the NPC GIS Facility and District GIS based on the concepts of settlements.

Shanker Raj Pathak from MoLD presented his work on settlement mapping at the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD). The concept of settlement mapping was initially developed at the National Planning Commission’s GIS Facility which implemented GIS based on this premises in 20 districts under "NPC Decentralization Support Project" a flagship UNDP program executed by NPC, which after some time became "Participatory District Development Program". Later the program was cloned for Ministry of Local Development and named "Local Governance Program", under the same UNDP's support where Shanker joined newly to take up the responsibility of transferring and applying the mapping principles and concepts from NPC to MoLD, a very interesting and challenging job.

Mr. Thakur Uprety presented GIS in use by Nepal Police. His presentation covered GIS applications from rescue operations to crime and mob analysis, which the audience appreciated a lot. Due to security reasons, Thakur Uprety did not divulge some of the information, logic and data sets. One can only say those products and services were of great benefits for the Police Organization.

At the end Professor Upendra Man Malla shed light on his experience beginning 1950s till this day - from very small area mapping and surveying with limited budget and tools to present day enrichment of geographic science and technology. He then presented certificates to the GIS for beginners trainees and cheered all.

The role Paul Lundberg, late Dr Harka Gurung and Prof. Upendra Malla played for the initiation of settlement based census was lauded in the program. Dr Hark Gurung was a noted geographer and planner of Nepal who died on a helicopter crash of Sept 23, 2007. Prof. Malla retired as a professor but is active in development work. Mr. Lundberg was Chief Technical Advisor for the UNDP's Decentralization Project.

The Program is given below:
10:30 – 11:00 Registration and Tea

11:00 – 11:10 Welcome and Introduction about the programme
Dr. Krishna Poudel, President

11:10 – 11:40 Paper presentation by Dr. Narendra Raj Khanal

GIS/RS for Flood Hazard Mapping and Disaster Preparedness

11:40 – 12:10 — Paper presentation by Dr. Krishna Pahari, Monika Shrestha, Siemon Hollema

GIS for Food Security and Poverty Monitoring

12:10 – 12:40 Paper presentation by Bhola N. Dhakal

Role of GIS on Monitoring and Analysis of Natural Resources for Protected Area Management; A case of Rara National Park and Buffer Zone, Mountain Region, Mid Western Nepal

12:40 – 13:30 Tea and Snacks

13:30 – 14:00 Paper presentation by Indra Sharan KC
Some Recommendations for National Census 2011 from a Geo-Referenced Population Survey of a VDC in Syangja District

14:00 – 14:30 Paper presentation by Shakar Raj Pathak
Grass-Root Level Mapping

14:30 - 15:00 Paper Presentation by Thakur Uprety
GIS at Nepal Police

14:30 – 14:45 Tea

14:45 – 15:00 Remarks about the Training and GIS Activities

15:00 – 15:30 Certificate Distribution and Closing