The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – in collaboration with the Department of Geography and Land Management at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) – launched a three-day basic training course on use of remote sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS).

The September 20-22 seminar was held in Phnom Penh and attended by officials from the provincial disaster management commissions of Preah Sihanouk, Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kep and Mondulkiri.

NCDM said the three-day course aims to provide trainees with the basics of cartography for reading and interpreting information on maps as well as the use of hot news systems and situation monitoring (PRISM) as well as producing their own simple reference maps.

In addition to that, the marquee presentation introduces participants to the basics of GIS and RS knowledge, including the basic concepts, types and sources of geospatial data as applied to disaster management.

The seminar will also familiarise trainees with the QGIS software programme and provide hands-on experience with the programme to use with their own geographic data sets for map production.

NCDM spokesman Soth Kimkolmony told The Post on September 20 that the training focused on GIS technology, which in the past the NCDM has used to produce maps to identify areas at risk and vulnerable to problems such as droughts, floods and other issues in order to make it easier to manage disasters.

RS, on the other hand, is a remote sensory information system used to survey the impacts of disasters that occur without having to be present if the situation is unsafe. For this work, NCDM has trained officials from relevant ministries and institutions at the national level twice already, but this time the training focuses on the basic knowledge of how to use the GIS and RS for officials of the provincial for disaster management commissions.

“In the future, there may be officials from other provinces to receive this training, because what we are doing now is to limit the participants to the areas that most need it in order to keep the training manageable. Thus, this first training course has just eight provinces participating,” he said.

According to Kimkolmony, training with this technology is very important because it is a key part of the government’s strategy to solve challenges by strengthening institutions with their creative use of technologies to support effective coordination in disaster preparedness and response for the country.