The University of Nairobi in partnership with ESRI is working on setting up Geographical Information Systems, GIS Labs in all university compasses. This was revealed during a meeting between ESRI East Africa CEO and the University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama on January 15, 2020.
Speaking during the meeting, ESRI East Africa Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Judah arap Bett, observed that they have reserved 3,000 GIS user licenses as part of the 100 Africa University program. ESRI plans on mapping 100 universities in Africa. Mapping will be done on infrastructure facilities, campuses, lecture halls, halls of residence, laboratories among other university resources. The GIS licenses will also be used by management for administration, for research by students and staff, for teaching and learning. Post graduate students will also have a chance to use the GIS mapping licenses for their research work.
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama, supported the implementation of GIS Laboratories across all campuses. “Let us implement it in this quarter. Once implemented the system will be used to map staff houses, lecture theaters, seminar rooms and several university facilities,” he said. Several departments and schools will benefit from GIS Mapping. Library, ICT, Geography, Engineering, Estates, Security, Medical School are some of the few departments and schools that were mentioned.
Prof. David Mungai, Director, Wangari Maathai Institute, outlined the importance of GIS mapping. He opined that it is important for environmental governance, policy formulation in addressing forests, environmental pollution and environmental degradation. “GIS helps in decision making support. You are able to know where people are and what they are doing, “ he said.
Moving forward, a technical committee from the University of Nairobi and Esri Eastern Africa will work on actualizing this initiative. The GIS mapping will be used by several departments and schools including Engineering, Geography, Environmental Science and Wangari Maathai Campus among others.