Use of satellite images and GIS for project- and impactstudies of the NGO OXFAM

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Context and objectives

The Belgian NGO OXFAM-projects manages a considerable number of development projects and actions in the field of emergency interventions and food security. Most of the projects aim at the improvement of the living conditions of the population, in view of a general strategy of sustainable development. This implies that the impact of an OXFAM-project on the environment must be evaluated.

OXFAM is fully aware of the support potential of computer techniques such as remote sensing and GIS for monitoring the environment.

A case study in Burkina Faso (erosion control in the province of Yatenga) illustrates the various possibilities of the use of satellite imagery and GIS functionalities in the context of OXFAM projects, and evaluates their relevance for project management, taking budget constraints into account. Attention has been paid to the relevance for the local OXFAM experts in the field as well as for the central unit in Brussels.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

- Land cover/use maps of 1987 and 1993 for the province of Yatenga (1:100.000) and specific zones (1:30.000), and derived statistics;
- Scenario for the integration of remote sensing techniques and GIS systems in the NGO world;
- Poster for the Yatenga region and article in an NGO periodical.

The use of geographic information for the identification, planning, monitoring and archiving of project activities is considered very useful and cost effective, provided that the size (in space and time) of the development project is sufficiently large.
The use of satellite imagery for monitoring the land cover/use in the Yatenga region is not without problems (multiple image acquisitions for different seasons are required, cloud cover, the project constructions are not visible on the images due to their small size). Satellite images are best complemented by aerial photographs. Field campaigns remain necessary.
The cost of computer infrastructure is not a limiting factor : a minimal computer configuration costs about 200.000 BF (1996), including hardware, software, transport and import taxes, cables, extra ink, manuals, etc.
The biggest bottle-neck is the lack of experienced personnel and the time needed to familiarise with the computer software and tools.
Location: Region:
  • Yatenga province