The Database Management theme (1995-1999) was established as part of the GARS Africa project to improve the management of geoscience data and assess their integration with GIS technology within a GIS/GeoDIAS environment. The theme provided digital, geocoded information to geological surveys in developing countries where this type of information was previously unavailable. The theme created a link between raster imagery (from airborne or satellite sensors) with other geospatial information in order to better utilize all available data sets for geoscientific studies in the participating countries.
A geoscience database provides the geoscientist with all of the geospatial information essential to perform a complete site investigation of a particular geographic location. Geoscience databases are essential for international programmes where an exchange of information and open access to data are required. Geoscience databases are classified into three main categories:
- Inventory – containing information such as geological observations or bore hole sections
- Cartographic – containing geocoded information such as points, areas or boundaries
- Numeric – containing information such as petrological, geochemical or geophysical data.
The Database Management theme built upon lessons learned during the earlier Knowledge Transfer theme of the GARS Africa project and included four key components.
- Training of specialists in database management and in GIS/GeoDIAS software
- Installation of image processing workstations for data analysis
- Acquisition of remote sensing data for incorporation in the geoscience databases, and
- Design and implementation of a geoscience database for each participating country.
The Database Management Phase was carried out in Botswana, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire with the collaboration of the Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale (MRAC) and with extrabudgetary funding from the Belgian Government and UNESCO.