Adoption of Geospatial Systems towards evolving Sustainable Himalayan Mountain Development
Natural resources dependence of mountain communities, rapid social and developmental changes, disaster proneness and climate change are conceived as the critical factors regulating sustainable Himalayan mountain development. The Himalayan region posed by typical geographic settings, diverse physical and cultural diversity present a formidable challenge to collect and manage data, information and understands varied socio-ecological settings. Recent advances in earth observation, near real-time data, in-situ measurements and in combination of information and communication technology have transformed the way we collect, process, and generate information and how we use such information for societal benefits.
Glacier dynamics, land cover changes, disaster risk reduction systems, food security and ecosystem conservation are a few thematic areas where geospatial information and knowledge have significantly contributed to informed decision making systems over the region. The emergence and adoption of near-real time systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), board-scale citizen science (crowd-sourcing), mobile services and mapping, and cloud computing have paved the way towards developing automated environmental monitoring systems, enhanced scientific understanding of geophysical and biophysical processes, coupled management of socio-ecological systems and community based adaptation models tailored to mountain specific environment.
There are differentiated capacities among the ICIMOD regional member countries with regard to utilization of earth observation and geospatial technologies. The region can greatly benefit from a coordinated and collaborative approach to capture the opportunities offered by earth observation and geospatial technologies. The regional level data sharing, knowledge exchange, and Himalayan GEO supporting geospatial platforms, spatial data infrastructure, unique region specific satellite systems to address trans-boundary challenges would go a long way in evolving sustainable Himalayan livelihoods.