Lithuania completes SGF 1999 project "Implementation of GIS technology in Lithuanian Ramsar Sites"
The project was submitted and selected under the SGF 1999 cycle but it started just at the beginning of 2001. Despite the late commencement the project management was rather successful and all the envisaged activities were undertaken according to the proposed time-table. The project was fully implemented and completed sharply in seven months. Entire management and implementation of activities were assigned to HNIT-Baltic GeoInfoServisas Ltd., www.hnit-baltic.lt, a joint Lithuanian-Icelandic company with profound experience in GIS technologies. As a result, management staff of all the five Ramsar sites in Lithuania (Cepkeliai, Kamanos, Zuvintas, Viesvile Strict Nature Reserve, and Nemunas River Delta Regional Park) were provided with GIS software and powerful hardware as well as with basic training in using GIS for purpose of conservation of wetlands.
The project commenced with identification of particular needs of equipment and training of each Ramsar site administration. Based on that the second stage of the project dealt with purchase and procurement of PC hardware and GIS software for each site. Four brand new PCs were purchased and one of the still up-to-date PCs at Nemunas River Delta Regional Park Administration was additionally upgraded with some RAM in order to meet the hardware requirements for GIS software. One package of ArcView 3.2a GIS software was purchased for each of the Ramsar site administration and later on upgraded to ArcView 8.1 new generation GIS software, one of the most utilized software by environmental professionals released by ESRI Inc.
At the last stage of the project was organized a training course in GIS for staff members of all the five Ramsar sites. Two representatives of each site administration (10 in total) attended the course which was held in two sessions - 17-20 April 2001 and 23-26 April 2001 in the capital Vilnius. The training was led by experts of HNIT-Baltic GeoInforServisas Ltd. Participants were taught in basic ArcView GIS functionality and they learned how to create, edit and georeference spatial data, as well as manipulate tabular data, query a GIS database. perform spatial analysis, and present data clearly and efficiently using maps and graphs. Along with the introduction to the ArcView 8 architecture the participants acquired knowledge how to use the Windows-based applications ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcTolbox.
Achievements of this project have significant implications at national level. Increasing technological capacity of institutions responsible for management of the most important protected areas in the country will strengthen the Lithuanian monitoring system of biodiversity and natural resources in general. It is expected that the Ramsar Sites inventory data will be analyzed applying the new approaches, thus will be of better quality and new forms.
Results of the SGF project will facilitate the recently launched GEF supported pilot project "Conservation of Inland Wetland Biodiversity in Lithuania" focused on strategy development for biodiversity and natural resources prevention and monitoring in Lithuanian strict nature reserves, which includes 4 of the Ramsar sites.
-- reported by Sergey Dereliev, Ramsar