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Information System and Mapping of the five World Heritage Sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (SYGIAP)

Onderzoeksproject UN/6 (Onderzoeksactie UN)

Contract UN/10/006 :

Duur van het contract :


Partners :

  • Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika 
  • Universiteit Gent 
  • Université Catholique de Louvain (Coördinator van het project)

Beschrijving :

Context and objectives

DRC possess an outstanding ecological richness, among other in the 5 World heritage sites (UNESCO), for which an active conservation policy is made by the “Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature” (ICCN). Despite a difficult political and local situation (war), the different sites are in the scope of an international mobilisation for their preservation. The needs of relevant and up to date observations and data to maintain the knowledge of the preservation stage of the parks are crucial. Most of the actors, including ICCN don’t have coherent, complete, nor the relevant data and information system to deal with that issue.

In this context, the Project aimes to (i) make (cost-effetive) use of satellite images to derive maps to support conservation activities for all five World Heritage sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Virunga, Kahuzi-Biega, Okapi, Salonga and Garamba, (ii) deliver an operational GIS system (with predefined layers of information) to ICCN headquarters and individual park areas and (iii) demonstrate the usefulness of remote sensing for monitoring application; , (iv) provide assistance and capacity building activities for the headquarters of ICCN as well as the main park authorities. Considerable efforts are made for effective (qualitative) data-sharing with local and international NGO and other partners ( ESA, EC-JRC,..).


• In collaboration with most of the actors in the field of nature conservation in DRC, the project made the data inventory and selection.
• Quality control of the data shared by the actors and correction of the errors
• Data were integrated into an integrated information system
• Inventory and collection of satellite images to be used for mapping purposes
• GIS – concept development ; data management trainings were provided to the official persons designated to make the system work at the Site level as well as the Central Office in Kinshasa.
• Map design and validation of printed drafts
• Map production
• Identification of important issues, related to support to parks’ conservation management, for which remote sensing can contribute significantly to document or even solve the problems.


Within the ICCN organisation structure, a new entity has been created. This entity called the “SYGAIP cell” (in regards with the Project acronym) is currently composed of a team of twelve persons, two in Kinshasa, the central office and two in each of the five parks. These persons are responsible for the field patrol data collection, control and integration in the information system set up by the project in partnership with the ICCN and its NGO partners. The system relies on the base GIS layers used for the production of the base map at the 1:200 000 scale.
ICCN staffs have been involved in the whole System development. They have also been trained accordingly.
In order to demonstrates the usefulness of the remote sensing to monitor the world heritage sites, SPOT images have been processed and analysed in the region of the Semliki River (North Virunga). In collaboration with WWF, a forest cover change analysis has been undertaken from both side of the Simliki River. Encroachments around the river have been mapped and quantified.
Also, historical aerial data (+ 50 years old) and recent satellite images drapped over a DEM resulted in interactive 3D Landscape reconstruction and comparison to highlight the land changes that occurred in more than 50 years.
Link up with ESA project ‘Gorilla habitat mapping’.

Documentatie :

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