To celebrate International #GISDay2016 on November 16th and 17th, the Ramani Huria team took part in an event at Nkrumah Hall, UDSM. The event was titled “Geospatial and ICT technologies for business solutions” and it was attended by different GIS-focussed stakeholders, including iBridge Group of Companies, Kilimanjaro GeoConsultant, Turku University – Finland, Arbonaut – Finland, Human Settlements Action Company (HUSEA), Agroinfo (ICT for Agriculture), VIONCE, Commission for Lands Zanzibar, State University of Zanzibar, to name a few. An exhibition showcasing GIS products and projects (including the Ramani Huria) was set up outside Nkrumah Hall.
With the arrival of the guest of honor, Mr. Kai Mykkanen, Minister of Development, Ministry for foreign affairs of Finland, the event was officially opened by Dr. Philip Mwanukuzi, a Head of Geography Department of UDSM. Dr Mwanukuzi opened by declaring that “we should put more effort to integrate geospatial knowledge that we acquire not only for the sake of GIS itself but to forge business and marketing”.
Professor Cuthbert Kimambo, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Knowledge at UDSM, was then invited to the stage. Professor Kimambo pointed out how the Tanzanian and Finnish governments have been working together in several sectors. He also highlighted how the University of Dar es Salaam has been collaborating with Turku University in Finland for over 15 years in areas of research and training, geospatial partnership integration, and Higher Education Institution GIS (HEI GIS), which has made University of Dar es Salaam a Hub for disseminating GIS knowledge in Tanzania.
The Minister of Education, Professor Sylvia Temmu, then made a request to the Finnish government for its continued support of education endeavors and technical assistance, after which she invited remarks from the Guest of Honour, Mr. Kai Mykkanen. Mr. Mykkanen pointed out that over 80% of data all over the world has reference to location and that there is a lot of potential in investing in GIS. He also noted that there is a need for GIS technology in the agricultural sector, particularly due to the rapid urbanization across Africa.
Upon leaving, he visited the Ramani Huria mapping booth and was very impressed by the atlas and how its flood maps can help with community preparedness for floods. He also mentioned his interest drones as it is the a newly adopted technology in many developing countries.
After the guest of honor left, the panel discussion commenced. The panel focussed on the possibilities for innovative geospatial solutions in Tanzania and panelists included Mr. Jumanne Mtambalike (Buni Innovation Hub), Dr. Juma Lungo (COICT/UDSM, Data Lab), Dr Elifuraha Mtaro (University of Bagamoyo), Mr Edwin Mugerezi (iBridge Group of Companies), Elizabeth Mrema (Ministry of Lands, housing and Human Settlements Development), Erikiana Ngogo (Arbounat LTD – Finland), and Dr Hagai (Ardhi University).
The discussion focused on five key aspects: (1) actors that Tanzania need to develop geospatial solutions, (2) policies and strategies that support geospatial business in Tanzania, (3) Infrastructure and support that is needed, (4) access to geospatial data in Tanzania and, the most prominent, (5) geospatial business that investors need to focus on.
Most of the panelists urged for support from the government on the innovative geospatial solutions in Tanzania. The session ended with a Q&A from the audience.
The two final activities for the day comprised of business to business meetings through which people had the opportunity to network, and an exhibition where companies/organizations had the opportunity to showcase their work. The Ramani Huria mapping booth was visited by secondary and university students with an interest in GIS as well as stakeholders from different organizations/companies.
Day two saw the expansion of some activities, like business to business meetings that ran parallel with the exhibition, and the addition of lightning talks from individuals, organizations, companies, and institutions participating in the event.
The Lead Mapping Supervisor of Ramani Huria, Mr. Innocent Maholi, presented the work that Ramani Huria has been doing so far. He briefed participants on why we map Dar es Salaam, tools that we’ve used for mapping, and lessons learned from our project’s output.