Creating awareness about application of Geo-Informatics for local Problem Solving
The objective and goal of the project is to create Map literacy and awareness about the application of Geo-Informatics (Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems) for solving local livelihood problems among school children in rural areas. The Resource Information kits supplied to the school children teach them the concepts of Map to Ground, Ground to Map, their application to Natural Resources Management and Socio-economic aspects. These kits enabled the child not only to read and understand maps but also allow them to carry out field experiments like measuring agriculture land (land use pattern), How to find rescue points during flood? (flood management) or plotting of the water bodies in their area. After getting a basic idea of time, location, service area, distance and pattern they were briefly introduced to GIS and GPS. Their geography teacher and another resource person taught them simple methods of using a handheld GPS instrument and allow them to mark points with its help. Then they will be made to fill of the village map with the help of satellite image and also upgrade the map using GPS. This whole exercise not only created GeoInformatics awareness among the school children but also initiated them to use their knowledge when required. All the resource material were prepared in their local language (Bengali, Punjabi and Telugu in this case), which helped them to understand the concepts better.
Implementation of the project was monitored closely and documented in form of video and text. An evaluation was also done at the end of the programme to measure the success of the project and the success story of the programme was published in form of book titled “Creating awareness about application of Geo-informatics for local problem solving”. The overall impact asses sment study of the project showed that the programme left a clear impact on the children not only in creating awareness but also altering attitudes and application of the concepts in the real life situations.
The awareness process starts at a very early age of the future citizens. The young students who were initiated to the knowledge of geomatics and its application in their daily life will be a great hand when they become part of building village information system. When they grow up, he/she could play a key role in collection of natural resources data therefore the villages will adopt techno savvy agriculture and spatial planning in the near future which fastens the process of development of the Nation.
Evolving a comprehensive Development modal based on Argumentative Maps for village level planning.
Decision making at the village level is not scientific or information based. It is heavily influenced by the interplay of various factors like political parties, groups in the political parties, castes, community and power struggles. Discussions rarely happen, as such there is no information. No information or asymmetric information is leading to arguments. Arguments are asynchronous as the villagers are dealing with the past, present battles looking at future implications. Arguments are related to entitlements, geographical locations, utility, scales, and social aspects like caste, community, group, history, gender, and equity and future probability of getting the entitlements. Debates tend to go in rounds and heat is being generated more than light. Sadly, Panchayats are politically infested to take a proactive role for unification of the divergent views. In one sentence, there is no informed discussion of the issue and a clear decision. Argumentative mapping, as a tool will help to have structured discussions and lay out all the arguments so that every one can see how complex issues are and others are making some valid points also. Once people are clear, things tend to move fast. The GIS will help them to see the things visually on the map and they can use the GIS for the exploration, discussion, and arguments.The more the communities feel they took that decision after deliberations and much thinking and feeling they own and the feel they are in control of their lives, which in other words is empowerment. Once they own that decision their participation in implementation, usage, and operation and maintenance will be entirely different. GIS as a tool for the hard aspects like data and argumentative mapping as tool for the soft aspects like deliberations, discussions, objections, reasons, points, counterpoints can be merged and used as a community decision support system.
The project is an attempt to to demonstrates how the collective decision of the village can be taken with help of scientific tools and data.