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RCMRD map competition to enhance the role of geo-conservation in protected areas management and environmental conservation



The Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) launched a Map Competition including participants from 25 African countries as part of its initiatives to enhance the role of Geo-conservation in Protected Areas Management and Environmental Conservation in July 2022.

The competition was officially launched at the 21 July 2022 at the Africa Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda followed by an online launch webinar on 3 August 2022 with high-level remarks by participating institutions and project partners.

‘As an organization which renders services in the fields of surveying and mapping, our mission was simple: to promote the use of Earth Observation and create awareness of the data sharing geoportals and observatories to allow users to discover GIS datasets and creatively use them to develop innovative solutions’, says Ngugi Kimani, Geospatial IT Lead at RCMRD.

Participants from Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe get to compete along two broad categories, the terrestrial (planet earth land) and marine (oceans and blue economy) categories. These will focus on the forestry and protected areas, marine ecosystems and blue economy, land degradation and wetlands key areas. Accepted submission formats are web maps, story maps, data dashboards or web application.

‘The competition targets youths in general, not just geographers. It is intended to create an interest and bring out creativity to anyone who has a passion for creating maps. The products (maps and applications) developed in the map competition would be useful to show the use cases of what people can do with the different forest datasets which are available on our platforms’, says Kimani.

Five key aspects will be considered in the entry selections namely; exploration, analysis, and presentation of a geographic phenomenon with clear focus on a specific topic, question, story line, awareness or problem solution; logical organization and visual flow of maps, text and graphic. Legibility of text font, text size, figures, tables, popups, videos and graphics; color coordination, use of symbology, grammar, punctuation, spelling and good cartography; concisely and effectively presented creative original pieces and the effective use of geographic information with the portrayal of spatial data from at least 2 data sources.

There will be four winners in the broad categories for the map completion namely are the terrestrial (planet earth land) and marine (oceans and blue economy) categories, with key areas in forestry and protected areas, marine ecosystems and blue economy, land degradation and wetlands. All four winners will receive a 1-year Esri ArcGIS for Personal use license.

All submitted entries must use at least two datasets from the  OFESA geoportal, GMES & Africa geoportal, RCMRD open data and RCMRD Africa geoportal page, Protected planet and Ocean data viewer, Africa geoportal and Living atlas data sources and participants are required to submit the final output in any of the four submission formats - Web Map, Story Map, Data Dashboard or Map Application and can submit as many entries as desired. The submission platform is the Africa Geoportal where registered participants will access their accounts which allows them to create their own content in any of these submission formats.

Entries for the competition will close on October 20, 2022 and the winners will be awarded in November 2022 in Kampala, Uganda during RCMRD Conference of Ministers of 20 member states. The three regional programmes that are supporting this initiative are; The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA), Eastern Africa Forest Observatory (OFESA) and lastly The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa).

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Established in 1975, RCMRD is a premier center of excellence in the provision of geo-information and allied information communication applications. As part of its mandate, RCMRD, through its programme on early warning, offers capacity building, research, development and innovation services utilizing space technology for disaster risk reduction, disaster management and emergency response.

RCMRD is among the eight successful institutions selected by the African Union Commission (AUC) to serve as Regional Implementing Centers for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES and Africa) Support Programme. RCMRD hosts the Regional Resource Hub a knowledge hub for protected areas that is supported by The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA). RCMRD also hosts Forest Observatory for Eastern and Southern Africa (OFESA) that provides a platform for sharing, exchanging and accessing data and information related to East and Southern Africa’s forests.

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