Friday, 15 June 2007

A Busy and Productive Week

Our friends at the FAO Somalia water and land Information Management project ( this week hosted a very successful 2-day workshop on remote sensing applications in the Horn of Africa region. From the SDI-EA perspective there were two major developments of the sort that really are only possible when you have a bunch of people standing around drinking coffee during the breaks.

The first was finally meeting up with the right people from the two CGIAR institutions here in Nairobi, namely the International Centre for Research in Agro-Forestry ( and the International Livestock Research Institute ( The CGIAR is an network of international agricultural research institions and are big advocates of both spatial data analysis and interoperability. It has been a major frustration - and a considerable embarrassment - for me over the past three months to have not succeeded in engaging them in SDI-EA. That, now seems to be rectified and next week John and I expect to make some concrete progress with them.

The second coup was meeting up with one of the committee members of the Kenyan national spatial data infrastructure initiative ( A few committee members have responded on the SDI-EA mailing list but his was the first face-to-face contact I'd managed. The reason this was particularly opportune was that there's the germ of an idea to have a regional consultation in late July between the UNSDI initiative and the national SDI efforts in the region, mostly to find out what expectations countries have about how a UNSDI ought improve their service from the UN. I would dearly love to have KNSDI convene that meeting in conjunction with UNEP, and early indications are that they're keen to do so.

Now all I have to do is get UNEP's agreement and get the thing organized in 5 weeks.

Oh, and by the way, it looks like the long-awaited hands-on training sessions for open web services that UNEP and FAO/SWALIM have been planning might actually happen in the next couple of weeks, now that SWALIM have gotten the workshop out of the way. Standy by for more details.

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