Highlighting the career of Prof Willem van Riet, directing innovative conservation initiatives in Africa, illustrating his experiences and approach through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

An all-inclusive approach to conservation was instigated by numerous adventures on wild rivers in the 60’s and developed through academic research at Universities in Philadelphia (USA) and Pretoria (South Africa). GIS software, data and processes were harnessed throughout his career in support of planning, scientific analyses and fundraising.  Projects and programmes will be illustrated through a number themes. This approach was implemented during his years on the SANParks Board and on transboundary initiatives in Southern Africa during his 10 years as the CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation. Recently he has functioned as a consulted through the Swedish entity (Transboundary Conservation Foundation).

"I hope that the review of these conservation projects, as a journey of discovery through the use of GIS and maps, will be of assistance to conservation development in many parts of the world. I would like to iterate that the content of this site reflects my own personal point of view and is based on my personal experiences."

Friday, 30 January 2015 06:17

A Map is Worth a Thousand Words


On their 100-year celebration of making maps NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC published an interesting article, “The science and art of making maps”. It opened up my own thoughts on maps as I have often found that many people look at a map as a flat, fixed time arrangement of colours with no scale or orientation.

I have used maps from my early days of exploring rivers, through to the understanding of new landscapes and when depicting of land use proposals and ecosystem services. Often one would read scientific reports that does not include maps and contains only a descriptive text. For a single map to fulfil all these functions is a science, but the presentation is also an art when the mapped information is depicted in a map composition. A map is worth a thousand words.

Published in Atlas of the Globe
Monday, 26 January 2015 06:38

The History of the Earth-25 Turning Points

Today I want to place the spotlight on a fascinating article that I came across on BBC. My reason for blogging this is to illustrate the many interesting geological events that lead to the environment of today. I have always had an interest in geology and landscape development over the ages and the fact that the events of millions of years ago still influence the environment of today.

Click here to go to the full artcile

Of real interest is the fact that the geology around Barberton contains layers illustrating the first development of algae in swamps and lava flows of 3.4 billion of years ago. This is the oldest evidence for life on earth. Especially interesting are the discussions around global warming and whether the activities of humans can destroy the world.

From the above article it is clear that the 6 extinctions of life the world has known had impacts resulting mainly from impact craters and volcanic eruptions. It also illustrates periods of global cooling rather than warming. The great number of ice ages of the past had enormous impacts on the life of that time.

Where are we going today and are we going to become the 26th biggest and last turning point?


Published in Atlas of the Globe