1 - GIS in Conservation

Bringing about an understanding of GIS as a tool in conservation planning and management

In 1972 I was fortunate enough  to be allocated a bursary for studies in the USA. My first introduction to GIS was during these studies at University of Pennsylvania, with the Professor Ian McHarg. At that time, GIS was elementary and restricted to a grid system of data management with the printing of maps, limited to shades of grey through over printing by typewriters.

On my return to South Africa, I was appointed Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pretoria, where I developed our own GIS system in Fortran. Soon the development of professional software and programs, such as ArcInfo, replaced my basic GIS program.

Over the years I have used Arc GIS (current name) as an essential tool in environmental management. I will illustrate the advantages and indispensable nature of GIS in on some of the projects I have been involved with.

Peace Parks Foundation of South Africa received the Prestigious Presidential Award at ESRI's 2004 User Conference California. The prestigious award was presented by ESRI President Jack Dangermond, to myself, in front of 13,000 attendees. This was one of my proudest moments as then chief executive officer of Peace Parks Foundation.

Key words:

• GIS and conservation
• 3d visualisation
• Modelling