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Copernicus Prototypes and Training in Africa

Point of contact
Benjamin Beaumont
Institut Scientifique de Service Public
Chera 200
4000 LIEGE
Phone: +32-4-2298316

Through various projects in Africa, there has been a very strong demand from both public authorities and universities for training in the practical and applied use of Copernicus data. However, in addition to basic training in the acquisition, pre-processing and initial applications of these data, it is mainly at the level of data access and processing capacities that efforts must be undertaken. In most projects or prototypes developed by research centres or companies in European countries, data access via the Internet and bandwidth problems are often negligible. In addition, most students or course participants have personal computers, or the host structure is able to provide them with all the necessary equipment. Unfortunately, in most African countries, access to a sufficiently powerful and stable network to display, download or process online data is very limited or expensive. Moreover, the computer equipment available to students or in training structures is often not very powerful or defective.

For several years, ISSeP has developed collaboration agreements and has participated in training programs in various sectors such as irrigation, water reservoirs, erosion risk maps, land cover mapping or the implementation of air quality measurement networks, notably in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Rwanda.

The objective of this action is to create a Copernicus-based training package for African countries. For 2019, we propose to take benefits from the relationship between ISSeP and 3 African countries (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Rwanda) to build and train these users to specific Copernicus-based services, taking a particular attention to the technical challenges they are facing. Then, if successful, the second objective is to reach other African countries using the training package created in the following years.

The training sessions will be based on a common theoretical part and hands-on sessions specifically developed for each country’s needs. The development of prototypes proposed for 2018 are: floods modelling and water height monitoring in the swamp districts of Ouagadougou, Land Cover mapping in order to install an efficient air quality measurement network in Abidjan or plantation monitoring (Eucalyptus, Tea...) and specific plant families (local pharmacopoeia) in Rwanda.

The training will be essentially based on open source tools developed by ESA (SNAP Software) or derived from OpenGIS and Open Street Map. The use of remote platforms such as the Collaborative Ground Segments or DIAS will also be preferred depending on costs and the possibility of access with technical means and local Internet connections. The development of a “training package” including about ten pocket PCs (Guleek, NUC...) with preinstalled and preconfigured software’s and preloaded training data is planned in order to reduce the implementation time and increase the possibilities of training locations in less well-equipped regions. Finally, further technical and material support will be provided after the training in order to perpetuate the prototypes developed.

Outputs and Results

  • Successful prototypes developed
  • Increased awareness on the Copernicus programme and on satellite based application
  • Skills for accessing and handling Sentinel data and products
  • Training sessions
  • Computer training package