30 Mar 2020

Last month we welcomed Edward Boamah to the Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa) Establishment team. Edward is our Technical Manager based in Ghana and brings a wealth of knowledge in GIS and remote sensing. He shares his experience in the field, the challenges he faces and the impact he sees DE Africa having on the continent.

The role of a Technical Manager

As Technical Manager, Edward will play a central role on the transition of the African Regional Data Cube (ARDC) to DE Africa, supporting capacity development, driving usage of the DE Africa services and engaging with our network of partners across Africa. Over the years, he has accumulated knowledge and experience in spatial database development, building data collection tools and analytical models, and working with web application dashboards and mobile GIS apps. His past work in deploying infrastructure for various sector ministries in Ghana and regional projects such as ARDC will be vital in operationalizing DE Africa. Coupled with his experience in training and capacity building, working with multinational institutions like SERVIR and client engagement, Edward is well equipped to support access and use of DE Africa for improved analysis and decision making across the continent.

Overcoming barriers and challenges

When asked what the main barrier for Africa using Earth observation (EO) data is, Edward, notes the need to increase awareness. There is little knowledge outside the geospatial industry of EO uses and the benefits to all sectors, hindering it being used to its full potential. He is looking forward to overcoming this challenge as part of the DE Africa program and making this information easy to use and understand for everyone. Developing continental and regional products to help monitor and evaluate 
Africa’s natural resources, and transferring this knowledge to all countries is what Edward is most excited about in his role.

The future of Earth observation in Africa

Edward’s vision is that all Africans, from highly technical professionals to government, policymakers and civil society, will embrace DE Africa. He is most passionate about sharing how EO can be used for managing water, understanding deforestation impacts and informing city planning and urbanization, but sees EO being used by everyone and anyone because of how easily accessible it will be.