The use of spatial data and geographic information (GI) in evidence-based policy and decision making has seen a rapid expansion in recent years. Ecological and conservation organisations such as rivers/fisheries trusts, wildlife trusts and many others are increasingly being required to collate, manage and interpret spatial data and evidence in their work.
As a result of this increased demand for high quality spatial data and evidence, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become a powerful and flexible tool used by environmental practitioners engaged in a wide array of work areas.
A GIS provides them with a powerful and flexible tool for the creation and management of spatial data, the presentation of accurate and effective maps, and for the production of spatial evidence to inform conservation strategy development and target intervention measures.
The best way to encourage and facilitate the use of the spatial data in GIS applications is to train practitioners to develop their GIS and spatial data skills and, in so doing, build capability in their organisations.
To meet the growing demand for subject-specific and relevant GIS training courses Westcountry Rivers Trust have developed a series of intensive GIS short-courses specifically tailored to develop and disseminate best practice and technical GIS skills in the use of GIS, in practitioners engaged in catchment management planning, landscape ecology, fisheries science, river restoration, ecology and conservation biology.
Introductory and Advanced GIS training courses for ecologists, conservation practitioners and rivers trusts are run bi‐annually in collaboration with the University of Reading and, in 2013‐14, we have begun working with The Rivers Trust, the Scottish Fisheries Co-Ordination Centre (SFCC) and a number of other environmental organisations (e.g. Eden Rivers Trust and Essex Wildlife Trust) to develop a series of bespoke training courses and GIS ‘master‐classes’ for delivery across England, Scotland and potentially Northern Ireland.
Find out more about our GIS training courses – HERE
To support or enhance the delivery of face-to-face training the Westcountry Rivers Trust have developed an online GIS training resource, which presents a wide array of training and guidance information to people involved in catchment management planning, landscape ecology, fisheries science, river restoration, ecology and conservation biology. The e-learning resources developed will include:
• Video presentations of key theory and approaches
• Video tutorials and demonstrations of key techniques
• Webinar presentations, online surgeries and discussion sessions
• A broad suite of easily accessible case studies show-casing the application of GIS in the catchment/ fisheries/wildlife management sector
• Online help and technical support post training – help forum, email/phone support.
These resources are being designed and developed according to the latest pedagogical theories and accessibility information relating to the use of multimedia in education and professional training. They will be presented in a manner that enhances trainee engagement with the material, while preventing cognitive overload and providing enough instructional and navigational support to ensure all learners can access the resources effectively (no matter what their prior knowledge/experience).
Find out more about our online training resources – HERE