Making GIS work for Agriculture: Experiences from a RUFORUM NASA 2015 course beneficiary
Dr. John Wasige was recognized by NASA for application of free & open source GIS/Remote sensing software in full automated work flow of digital satellite image processing for land use change detection at Department of Earth & Environment, Boston University USA. He was inspired to study agricultural sciences from experiences of growing up in a farming family with lots of cattle and crops (maize, millet, sorghum, groundnuts, cotton, bananas) in Eastern Uganda. “Land preparation required using oxen which I love so much” said Dr. Wasige. Bananas were always grown on sites that were previously occupied by cattle for night corralling so as to utilize the accumulated fertility from cattle manure. Crops were grown by shift cultivation in search for new fertile land areas after exhausting the fertility in previous land sites.
Dr. Wasige always remembers how nice it was seeing green flourishing fields after planting and later a busy schedule of harvesting that was always rewarding with fresh food. Through this whole process, he saw agriculture as a profitable venture that required knowledge of crop and land management. When it came to apply for courses at University, Agriculture was a top priority. “I have never looked back after Makerere University. My BSc. Agriculture has opened many international professional opportunities in Europe, USA & United Kingdom” Said Dr. Wasige.
Although his MSc. & PhD has focused more on Ecosystems science and GIS/Remote sensing, it was because of the foundation on biological sciences that he got while studying agriculture. Through it all, Dr. Wasige realized humans’ actions can cause the death of the earth. Agriculture has become a key element within the earth system as it changes global biogeochemical and water cycles, while global environmental change affects land productivity and thus future land-use decisions. “I am now curiosity to know how the Global Earth System works and a belief that we must understand the consequences of human-caused changes to the earth system, the way the earth’s living systems function and how to control the negative consequences” said Dr. Wasige.
About Dr. John Wasige: He is a Geo-Scientist trained in Remote sensing and Geographic Information Science (GIS), agricultural sciences, soil science, hydrology and crop/Ecosystem modeling. Hardworking and a focused person. I am a holder of a BSc. Agriculture, MSc. Soil Science (MUK) and a PhD in Geo-Science and Earth Observation from ITC, The University of Twente (Netherlands). He is currently a Post Doctorate Researcher at Lund University, Sweden working on Detecting Trends and Hot Spots in complex vegetation landscape systems as affected by climate change and human disturbances in Sub Saharan Africa through analysis of Global dataset (i.e., Phenological parameters, Vegetation indices (NDVI, EVI) and climate indices (SPI/SPEI)). I am a beneficiary of the following scholarships: Rockefeller (MSc), Netherlands Fellowship Programme (PhD), Swidish Institute (PastDoc). Dr. Wasige’s career goal is to ensure that Sound Science is applied to Increase Food Production, household Incomes, and support policymakers in developing rational strategies to achieve sustainability of land and water resources, safeguard food security and Reduce Poverty. He has recently completed a NASA sponsored course on application of free & open source software (QGIS, R, Python) in full automated work flow of digital satellite image processing for timeseries satellite generation and land use change detection at Department of Earth & Environment – Boston University USA. I have profound experience in systems analysis to explore future scenarios for land use with a focus on food production and sustainable environmental management. Dr. Wasige has excellent skills in processing multi-sensor remote sensing data from wide array of sensors such as Landsat, MODIS, AVHRR, SPOT and other systems and climate datasets. His research interests span over a diverse set of environmental issues, including: land and water degradation, land and water productivity, agricultural sensitivity/ food security, species distribution modeling, Hydrology, World soils & their management, Climate change/ Global change impacts, science-for-policy, education, and outreach. Currently, he is focusing on assessing and predicting climate variability and change impacts/ adaptation in African crop/vegetation health. To study these topics he mostly uses spatial tools and techniques, specifically remote sensing and GIS, crop and hydrological modeling.
Dr. Wasige has experience in teaching and guest lecturing several undergraduate and graduate level courses, including; soil science, environmental hydrology, land degradation assessment, land use planning, species distributed modeling, climate change modeling, spatial statistics and GIS/Remote Sensing. He extensively collaborate with academics and NGOs alike. I have 10 years of experience in the application of geo-spatial tools (ENVI, ERDAS, ArcGIS, IDRISI, R, DSSAT, EPIC-CUP, NUTMON, CENTURY, arcSWAT, QGIS, MaXent TIMESAT, R, Python) in environmental quality assessment. He can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org