Kenyatta University became the first institution globally to host a National GIS Day in Kenya. The event was held in collaboration with ESRI Eastern Africa at the Kenyatta UniuversityBusiness Service and Students Center KU-BSSC on 16th Nov. 2016. The GIS Day is usually held at institutional or individual level to showcase the use of GIS Technology to communities and neighborhoods. This achievement is one of the many firsts for KU, given that the institution was the first one to receive a campus wide license in Eastern and Central Africa in May 2013 under Esri’s 100 Universities Program. Within the Program, Kenyatta University was also the first institution to receive the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award in 2015. The institution was the only university to receive the award out of the 73 international awardees in 2015 that were recognized in San Diego, California during the User Conference. The University also hosted the first Esri Eastern Africa Education User Conference in September 2013.
This year’s GIS Day attracted participants from 48 other institutions including government departments, universities and the private sector. Among the 48 institutions present and who made presentations included the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS), Conscious Global, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), UNOSAT - United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Centre for Research in Insect physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Earth Observation Unit, Taita Taveta University, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
Victor Okoth, a graduate student from the School of Environmental Studies explains the Eduroam Signal coverage around the University. Victor used GIS tools to determine the spatial outlook of the Wi-Fi network in the university.
In his speech during the opening ceremony, the acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul K. Wainaina, said that the University has witnessed greater involvement and competition amongst the students both within and with other Universities on matters GIS over the last one year. The acting VC indicated that the enthusiasm among the students was driving development of better infrastructure in the University to meet the demand and to help the students conduct research better and address the many global problems facing the country and indeed the world. The passion showcased by the students also helps them to leverage the GIS knowledge to address the Sustainable Development Goals, affirmed the acting VC. The Managing Director of Esri Eastern Africa, Mr. Judah Bett, congratulated the university for the tremendous steps it has made towards utilizing Esri suite of products for research and dissemination of spatial knowledge. He further encouraged the university administration to ensure that all members of the university community are given greater access to the GIS platform that is already available at their disposal.