GIS goblet tool training participants (photo credit: C. Pfeifer)

GIS goblet tool training participants (photo credit: C. Pfeifer)

The Nile 3 project  ‘Targeting and scaling out of rainwater management systems‘ recently organized two training courses on geographic information systems (GIS) for its partners – in Addis Ababa and in Gondar. The objective was to teach and test the beta version of the new Nile Goblet tool. This open source GIS solution helps users carry out suitability mapping without prior GIS knowledge.

Based on the concept of rainwater management developed in the Nile Basin Development Challenge, the tool allows users to define their own suitability ranges for a whole range of bio-physical criteria to map suitability of various rainwater management practices. In addition, it makes use of so called “willingness of adoption” maps to introduce the socio-economic constraints into classic suitability analysis. Finally, to improve water availability and productivity, rainwater management practices should be combined at landscape scale. Therefore the tool includes a module that helps study suitability of a combination of rainwater management practices at landscape scale.

The tool is flexible and can be programmed for any practice/technology and any location in the world, as long as geographical layers for the different suitability criteria are available. Part of the training consisted in preparing new layers both in ArcGIS and in GRASS GIS (an open source GIS software) and introduce them to the Nile Goblet tool.

Developing GIS maps at the goblet tool training course (photo credit: C. Pfeifer)

Developing GIS maps at the goblet tool training course (photo credit: C. Pfeifer)

Both training courses were a success. Participants could learn about suitability mapping as well as the challenges one might face when preparing new geographical layers for the tool. The training courses served as a way to test the tool. Minor technical itches could be identified and a great number of suggestions for improvement were collected.

The team is now working on an improved version, hoping to launch the tool at an upcoming learning event from the innovation and technology thematic working group of the national platform and give an additional training for CGIAR scientists based on the ILRI Ethiopia campus.

Read more information about the Nile Goblet tool.

(Post by Catherine Pfeifer)