The main objective of the ESA – UNESCO Open Initiative on the use of space technologies to support heritage, is to strengthen the local capacity of site managers and conservation authorities. The goal is to bring the benefit of space technologies to these new audiences integrating results derived from space technologies into their daily heritage management tasks while respecting their methods and workflows.
The project focused on the development and implementation of a 4D Information Management System for the conservation authorities of the Biosphere Reserve and Archaeological Urban Centre of Calakmul. This online system allows the managers of the natural and cultural protected area to store, share, visualize and create relations between their data, in order to coordinate various conservation, management, planning, monitoring and research activities undertaken in the area.
Satellite imagery proved to be an ideal way to monitor the DRC’s large and often inaccessible sites, assess changes and derive the first and only set of accurate cartography of all 5 sites. Capacity building at the local level and Geographical Information System that now constitutes the basis for conservation planning resulted from the project.
Through this project, accurate cartographic products covering the entire habitat of mountain gorillas were produced for the first time, derived from satellite imagery and allowing national conservation authorities to track and monitor any changes or degradation of their habitat. A series of training workshops were also organized to enhance local conservation and management capacities.