The Advances in Geomatics Research Conference (AGRC) is a biannual event that brings together professionals, students, innovators and enthusiasts from different fields, but with a common interest: Geomatics. It is hosted by the Department of Geomatics and Land Management of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. 

The 5th AGRC took place in August 1st-2nd, 2019, under the theme “Geomatics for Development”. Pre-conference workshops were held between 22nd and 31st of July. 


The event hosted a range of specialists from industry, academia, government & non-profit organizations. Participants brought different geomatic perspectives on addressing regional development challenges.  


Africa is witnessing a remarkable growth in geospatial data availability, powered by technology trends including open source satellite data and drones. Attending these events ensures that humanitarian aid workers remain up to date on relevant local and regional initiatives related to their efforts. Also, it connects them to operational research in the region that could potentially support their work. 


Joel KitutuGIS Officer Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) Jurg Willbrink, 510 Data Delegate, organised with URCS’ data team a 2-day pre-conference workshop on ‘Humanitarian Mapping’ on 25-26th July. We partnered up with HOT UgandaUganda Flying LabsMap Uganda & Makerere University. The main topic was the use of open data for effective humanitarian response in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).  

During the conference, Lucas Woutersresearcher at VU Amsterdam & Jurg Wilbrink presented 3 research papers: 

1. ‘Improving flood damage assessments in data-scarce areas by retrieving building characteristics through automated UAV image processing    Lucas Wouters, Hans de Moel, Marleen C. de Ruiter, Anaïs Couasnonvan den Homberg, M.J.C., Aklilu Teklesadik  

SummaryReliable information on building stock and its vulnerability is important for understanding societal exposure to flooding and other natural hazards. Unfortunately, this often lacks in developing countries, resulting in flood damage assessments that use aggregated information collected on a national or district level.  

This study aims to improve current assessments of flood damage by extracting structural characteristics on an individual building level and estimating flood damage based on its related susceptibility. The results show that the different approaches on exposed elements make a significant difference in damage estimation and recommendations for future assessments in similar areas and scales are made which could provide essential information for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in assessing risk in flood-vulnerable areas.  

2.  Combining UAV imagery and geospatial data to improve characterization of rural water points in Malawi’   van den Homberg, M.J.C., Wilbrink, J., Crince, A., Elenbaas, H., Kersbergen, D., Gumbi GumbiTembo, S., and Kunje, W. 

SummaryAs the world is digitizing at a fast pace, water point datasets become available, either as proprietary or as open data. This work describes a methodology for combining different sources of data and information to work towards more complete and operational water point data sets. Although several technical challenges exist, as well as the need of cooperation between organizations, this research will result in improvedup to date and consistent water point data sets. This data could provide decision makers and aid workers with information about essential waterpoints in certain areas. 

3. ‘Spatial and temporal trend analysis in sand dune migration and its potential impact on communities livelihood, case study of northern Sudan’   Aklilu Teklesadik, Crees Ashleigh, Jurg Wilbrink  

SummaryThe population of rural areas in Sudan largely relies on livelihoods that are directly depending on natural resources. The already fragile conditions posed by the geographic location of the country are further challenged by the changing climatic conditions and degradation on natural resources. Sand dune migration could pose a threat to communities by affecting their livelihood and infrastructure. This study investigates the potential impact of sand dune movement on communities in Sudan which are target areas for the climate adaption and natural resource management project implemented by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.  

Written by Lucas Wouters &  Catalina Barzescu   

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