Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) is a European Space Agency (ESA) initiative towards making satellite data useful for sustainable development projects. A key objective for EO4SD is to empower users with the ability to leverage Earth Observation data and services in an independent and sustainable manner. As part of this program, Satelligence organised a training workshop in Nay Pyi taw, Myanmar this month.
From flood frequency mapping to understanding urban expansion
In Myanmar, we currently provide EO-based services as part of the EO4SD program for three Myanmar development projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. EO4SD delivers readily available products on a free basis. At the same time users can access raw satellite data online and develop their own products.These products include:
- Crop area and pattern mapping
- Drought monitoring and identifying crop water requirements
- Flood frequency mapping
- Land use assessment
- Understanding urban expansion.
Using these products we can help answer questions like:
- How can Remote Sensing (RS) be used to help understand changes and improve climate change mitigation measure planning?
- How to determine suitable areas for irrigation planning?
- How to use RS for the generation of (historical) statistics?
Earth Observation workshop in Nay Pyi Taw
From 11 to 15 June, a technical training workshop was organised as part of ESA's EO4SD program. The workshop was organised together with DHI GRAS and ITC (University of Twente) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The theme of the workshop was 'Myanmar from Space, a different perspective', the objectives where:
- To increase the competency of decision makers in understanding the wider context of different satellite systems to support their operational responsibilities;
- Provide hands on experience for participants to retrieve, analyze and integrate EO based information as support for project identification, monitoring and evaluation.
Working across projects
The workshop was aimed at technical staff and junior researchers of the AIRBMP (Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project, World bank), ADSP (Agricultural Development Support Project, World bank) and IAIDP (Irrigated Agriculture Inclusive Development Project, Asian Development Bank). Participants indicated they would like to gain more experience in remote sensing to use for weather forecasting, flood area mapping, inundation mapping, irrigation scheme mapping, agricultural monitoring, land survey mapping, generation of statistics, changes in catchment area (that might affect the storage capacity), classification of crop type and high resolution elevation models . During five days the participants learned about EO derived services and products developed and demonstrated for ongoing projects in Myanmar while deepening their knowledge on EO and GIS concepts and tools using state of the art open source software. Moreover, they got exposed to recent technological developments and available data sources related to these fields.
The workshop was officially opened by Dr. Zaw Lwin Tun on 11 June at Park Royal, Nay Pyi taw. After a general explanation on the EO4SD initiative within a development context, Indira Ekanayake (World Bank) laid out the challenges that Myanmar faces within both the water- and agricultural sector. The need for geospatial and Earth Observation data was highlighted in the talk. Later in the session all three projects and their goals were introduced. Earth Observation can play a very important role in river basin management of the Ayeyarwady river (AIRBMP) or irrigation design and projects monitoring for the Central Dry Zone (IAIDP, ADSP).
Filling the gaps
Later on in the week we went more into detail with the actual users of the data: what are the common problems on a day-to-day basis and how can they make best use of Earth Observation data? Some of the main challenges users face in their day-to-day work are data gaps, data access and sharing restrictions, frequency of data gathering and insufficient hardware. Earth Observation services can fill these data gaps, not only by providing near real time data, but also because of the extensive historical archive of freely available satellite images.
Keep learning through our online portal
After an exciting week of learning and discussions between parties, a lot of participants are eager to start using Earth Observation data in their day to day activities. To get a deeper understanding of Earth Observation, participants will get access to an online e-learning portal where they can keep learning and share experiences and data between departments. We hope this will lead to a higher use of Earth Observation that will in turn lead to improved decision making for planning and assessing sustainable development projects in Myanmar.
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