Enroll in 3rd edition of Dive GIS course in Italy

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Enroll in 3rd edition of Dive GIS course in Italy

Postby cdawson » Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:16 am

Enrolment to the 3rd edition of the Dive GIS course is open. The course will be held from the 22nd to the 31st of July 2008 at the Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto in Italy. Special rates for early subscriptions. Next deadline is January 31st.
The course includes all of the following:
- Introduction to ArcGIS 9.x ESRI authorized course
- GIS and Remote Sensing of the Marine Environment
- Marine Fauna and Flora identification and data collection on the field
- PADI Open Water Diver and/or Specialty courses
- PADI AWARE Project 4 specialty package

Read what journals wrote about the course below. Updated information, more reviews, photo galleries and the online registration form available
at: www.mappamondogis.it/divegis.htm

Students from all over the world gathered last summer in Crotone at the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area to attend the second edition of the Dive GIS course that will be held again next year from the 22nd to the 31st of July 2008. The course, organized by Mappamondo GIS, represented a unique training initiative that offered the chance to learn Geographic Information Systems methodologies while becoming a certified SCUBA diver.
Participants learnt to use state of the art technologies and combined them with passion oriented sport and field activities in the context of marine environment management and science. The challenging objective of the organizer was to provide the bases for a multi-skill career.
Participants were introduced to the underwater world through PADI Open Water Diver and specialty courses, to the digital cartography and imaging world through classes based on training material from ESRI, the world-
leader in the GIS field, and to in depth applications of Geographic
Information Systems and Remote Sensing tools for marine scientists. The course involved computer lab and field sessions and it was well suited for people novice to both GIS and diving, as well as for people that had already some knowledge and skills in both fields but that wished to gain an additional experience.
During the course, the participants worked on a real case study concerning the mapping of marine habitats using on-screen visual interpretation of satellite images. This allowed identifying and quantifying vulnerable areas with high environmental value. Students also learnt to identify marine flora and fauna, to collect scientific data about their distribution and to use handheld GIS and GPS units. Biodiversity and species distribution data were entered in the GIS to study their correlation with the habitat and other biotic and abiotic environmental parameters.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer-based tools used to effectively visualize and analyse data based on their location on earth (so called geo-referenced data, spatial data or geographic data). About 80% of existing data can be considered spatial data as they can be referred to a location on earth. GIS are often associated to digital maps but this is only one of the products GIS can provide. GIS allows to link information to a location on earth and then to analyse the spatial relationships among different types of information stored in layers that share a common location and to study the occurrence of events in space and time. GIS allows answering questions like what is the nearest location, what can you find within a certain distance, or determining quantities of a certain variable, its distribution or temporal pattern.

Remote sensing is the science of acquiring information about the Earth's surface without actually being in contact with it. This is done by sensing and recording reflected or emitted energy and processing, analyzing, and applying that information. Images acquired by Earth Observing satellites, aerial photos acquired by aircrafts, acoustic sounding acquired by sensors on board of ships are all examples of remotely sensed data. Earth Observing satellites for example allow collecting data of large areas of the earth surface, including remote areas, and to monitor phenomena like climate processes, ocean dynamics, land cover changes (deforestation, urban development), or to map natural resources such as marine habitats.

GIS and Remote Sensing are rapidly growing technologies that have endless fields of applications including business development, public works, transportation, urban planning, homeland security, telecommunication and other utilities, environmental management and conservation.

In the latter context, it is rapidly increasing the use of GIS and RS as support tools for the management of marine natural resources and marine environment conservation.
The basic requirement for the effective management of a resource is to understand the extent and the location of the resource (e.g.
identification of the location and extent of sensitive marine habitats like Posidonia meadows) and its relationship with potential threats (e.g.
highly dense populated areas). High resolution satellite images are increasingly being used to map marine habitats in shallow water areas while multibeam acustic surveys from ships are used to acquire bathymetry and habitat data in deeper water areas.

Biodiversity and species distribution data are collected by field surveys and introduced into GIS systems to study their relationships with environmental parameters like habitat type, ocean dynamics, physical parameters, climate etc.
Fishing activities are studied by mapping spatial and temporal dynamics of fishing effort and success to obtain important information about fishing stocks availability, threatened species and vessel utilization.
Ecological data together with social and economic data are then combined using GIS to identify most suitable sites for marine reserve areas (for example popular projects like PANDA, Protected Areas Network Design Application and Marxan).

GIS and RS are thus key evolving industries with plenty of opportunities as a career path for marine environmental scientists. In this context the Dive GIS and Marine GIS courses introduce enthusiastic marine oriented students to GIS-based tools and methods related to marine environmental management.

For further information about the course and online registration visit the following website:
or write an email to training@mappamondogis.com

Interview to Montserrat, GIS Manager, Cancun - Mexico

Why did you enroll in this course?
I work with GIS focused towards the conservation of marine protected areas. It is important for my work to learn more about the applications of GIS to marine environments. Many people in my department had looked for courses on this subject for a long time and had never found anything.
Then we learned about Dive GIS we realized it was exactly the kind of course we were looking for. We considered it had the exact combination of information that we needed: marine applications of GIS, field work, and improvement of scuba skills.

Do you think it was useful to attend it?
Very much so. By moving to the next level of my PADI certification, I feel more confident when scuba diving (for work or for fun). The combination of the PADI certification with field work gave me the opportunity to test the new skills I was learning. At the same time, getting to know ArcGIS 9.2 was very useful. Each new version of ArcGIS has many new things, and having a hand on course on it was the best way of making sure that I use version 9.2 to its fullest possibilities.
Learning different concepts of remote sensing focused on marine environments was very interesting and will be very useful for my work.

What did you learn?
I learned a lot of new scuba skills as well as gaining more confidence when diving. I learned how to use very many of the applications available in ArcGIS 9.2, along with many tips and tricks that significantly reduce the time needed to carry out several procedures. I learned the basic principles of remote sensing, the different kind of sensors available, habitat suitability models, and much much more. I also learned several words in Italian!

What did you like the most and why?
There are several things that I liked most about the course. The instructors were very good and were clearly very proficient with these subjects. The location and the dive shop were amazing. But most of all I think that being able to do all the exercises with real-world data that we all collected, as opposed to theoretical exercises was great. Also, being able to get to know and interact with people from everywhere in the world that work with similar things was great. All in all, it was a very useful and wonderful experience.

Interview to Patrick, GIS Engeneer, United Kingdom

Why did you enrol in this course?
I could find no other course which offers such a practical and in depth application for GIS. With the ‘Dive GIS’ course I gained valuable GIS training in the field and how the technology can be applied within Marine Conservation objectives in mind. This combined with expert Scuba diving tuition were exactly what I was looking for from an applied GIS course.

Do you think it was useful to attend it?
Not only did I learn a great deal about how GIS can be applied in a marine conservation field but I also learnt why it is important to use GIS for such projects and the effectiveness of GIS in managing such projects. I took away so much from this course that can now be used in my daily work.

What did you learn?
I learnt so much about Remote Sensing techniques for marine surveys and how aerial photography can be manipulated to map the sea bed. Not only that but I also learnt a great deal about marine habitats and fish identification techniques.

What did you like the most and why?
The diversity of what the course had to offer is what I really enjoyed about the course. From Scuba diving to fish and habitat identification to the class lessons where we brought it all together and really learnt how GIS is used to manage the marina. There was a really good mix of theory and practical application everything that was done had a purpose in fulfilling the project objectives.

Interview to the organizers and instructors

How did the course go?
Dive GIS 2007 was a great success. All expectations were satisfied and the program was carried over completely.The interest and enthusiasm of all participants was very rewarding for them and for the organizers. The coordination of such a variety of activities was challenging but thanks to the support of the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area and Tiris Diving Centre we carried over successfully the entire set of scheduled events.

Who were the participants?
Course participants arrived from all over the world (Italy, New Zealand, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom, India, USA etc) and they have in common the interest for Marine GIS applications. They are professionals, university students, researchers of different age and background that wish to become experts in marine applications of Geographic Information Systems or to learn to use GIS and remote sensing tools to support their daily work.

What was the objective of the course and did you achieve it?
The course objective is to teach to the participants a method to develop a real project on marine habitat mapping, dealing with all theoretical and practical aspects of the subject. The various steps included satellite image analysis, ground thruthing on the field, collection of scientific data about marine flora and fauna and the study of the associations among biotic and abiotic components using GIS. The final results obtained by the students together with the enthusiasm expressed demonstrate that the objective was fully achieved.

Why did you choose the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area?
The choice of the course location was driven by several factors. From an educational point of view, the sea habitats of the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area perfectly suit the course objectives. The beauty and variety of the sea habitats and the richness of the marine flora and fauna of the area provide great diving sites where both expert divers as well as novices can carry out interesting surveys and enjoy themselves.
The tourist infrastructures of the area allow us to provide high quality services like accommodations, diving facilities and a wonderful asset for the recreational time.
The Capo Rizzuto MPA is also highly supporting this type of events and the development of new research activities linked to the course.

Are you going to offer this course also next year?
Yes, enrolment to next year edition is already open. Updated information and online registration is available at:

Mappamondo GIS
Email: info@mappamondogis.com
URL: www.mappamondogis.com

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