Calling all map nerds!

A month into my fellowship at CERSGIS in Accra, Ghana, we are hitting the ground running. We are beginning to lead professional trainings in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at the National Development Planning Commission, which will be the main focus of the rest of our time here in Accra. GIS is a digital system that allows the user to perform advanced spatial analysis and ultimately create maps that make what otherwise might be overwhelmingly complicated data more accessible to policymakers, planners, researchers, or consumers.

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Accra: Where Innovation and Tradition Meet

I am thoroughly enjoying my first few weeks here in Accra, Ghana! Besides everything being coated in a thin layer of red- orange dust, the first thing that I noticed about Accra was the smell. The smoke from cooking fires, burning insecticide, and exhaust is striking- not at all unpleasant, but unlike anywhere I have ever been. I’m greeted by this new smell every morning as I walk across the campus at the University of Ghana, Legon. Women sing as they slice fresh watermelon, pineapple, and mango at the market stands that litter campus, taxi’s honk politely to make their presence known, and in the distance you can hear the sound of the main highway that will take you into the center of the city of Accra. I take the dusty orange paths past tall palm trees that tower over the white-washed buildings with terra-cotta roofs.

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AidData Summer Fellows- Center for Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Systems Ghana

Hi Everyone!

My name is Sarah Martin, and this summer I will be working at University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana with the Center for Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Systems (CERSGIS) to collect geospatial data regarding development projects in Ghana, and use this data to progress their academic and policy research needs. The three main aspects of my work will be 1) locating and coding the coordinates of development projects from local government records, as well as identifying other sources of development data, 2) conducting analyses of the existing project database for academic and policy- based research, and 3) providing training, technical backstopping and mapping services to the National Development Planning Commision (NPDC). Although the exact research questions that I will be examining are yet to be defined by CERSGIS, I hope to gain a further understanding of how to not only construct geospatial databases, but also how to use them to reach scientific conclusions that have specific academic and policy implications. I also hope to hone my GIS and Remote Sensing skills for further use throughout my academic career. Through this project, I will have support from CERSGIS in gaining access to up- to date GIS technology, government records, existing databases, and other sources of development data in Ghana.