GIT training opens up new avenues for Bangladeshi women

10 Jan 2022

WoGIT testimonial 4

This piece is part of a series of reflective blogs written by women from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan who attended SERVIR-HKH’s trainings on GIT specifically for women. A larger piece on the trainings can be found here .

Recording GPS data at a study site
Recording GPS data at a study site in Gazipur, Bangladesh (Photo: Shah Alam, BARI)

I felt quite blessed to learn that I was one of 50 other women from Bangladesh who had been selected to attend ICIMOD’s “Empowering women in geospatial information technology – Bangladesh 2021 edition” training. As a Scientific Officer at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), my responsibilities include assessing and characterizing climatic variability, vulnerability, and extreme events for agri-production, where geographic information system (GIS) and remote-sensing (RS) knowledge and skills could be quite valuable. As a trained agronomist, my research interests are in crop management and production, suitability, and stress analysis under various climatic conditions. While I am aware and interested in using Earth observation (EO) and geospatial information technology (GIT) to analyse and monitor crops using open-source tools like QGIS, I was unfamiliar in its usage and had trouble merging these tools with traditional agronomic knowledge. For the past 3–4 years, I have struggled with mapping, image processing, or even downloading satellite images and faced fundamental difficulties such as collecting and creating my own data and analysing different Earth features based on their spectral reflectance.

This training was quite opportune. However, I did have some reservations on how extensive the training would be and if it would be able to cover vast topics GIS and RS concepts and applications within four days, and that too while being delivered online.

Having attended the four-day training, I find myself more focused, more confident, and clearer about GIS and RS concepts. I am now able to carry out the analysis and generate required maps using QGIS and Google Earth Engine, which was only possible because of this resourceful training.

Field visit as part of a climate change
Field visit as part of a climate change impact analysis study during the COVID-19 pandemic in Gazipur, Bangladesh (Photo: Md. Masum Ahmed)

An extremely competent team of ICIMOD resource persons delivered the training, which was very well designed and included real-world examples from Bangladesh. They provided clear and comprehensive knowledge on the fundamentals and applications of GIS and RS and guided participants in the use of QGIS for vector and raster data exploration, visualization, and analysis using demonstration and hands-on exercises. The training also showcased the SERVIR-HKH science applications, open-data portals (ICIMOD’s Regional Database System portal), and open-source applications that could be used to download and analyse satellite data.

I am very much grateful to all the ICIMOD resource persons for their excellent guidance to conduct and demonstrate the sessions – from very basic to advanced concepts. Electricity cut-offs, poor internet speed, and other issues did hinder the online learning environment. However, these problems were easily resolved as the daily lectures were made available at the very onset of the training. The session recordings made available daily helped us catch up on lessons. This training will prove useful as it helped me enhance my knowledge and confidence in the GIT field. Personally, this training has empowered me by enabling me to conduct better research and take judicious decisions in future. Additionally, this training opens up several opportunities to achieve my research goals and has made a significant improvement in my life.

Sharing session with BARI colleagues
Sharing session with BARI colleagues on plans to use EO and RS data to analyse crop production issues in Bangladesh (Photo: Md. Rashed Khan, BARI)


Taslima Zahan

Taslima Zahan

PhD, Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute