PROJECT MIDST (KENYA SPACE AGENCY)
Project MIDST (Monitoring for Information and Decisions using Space Technology) is an initiative by Kenya Space Agency that seeks to support the National and County Government institutions to address the gaps and challenges highlighted in the assessment report on hardware, software, human resource and spatial data. The aim of the project is to use new and advancing geospatial technologies to co-develop various Earth Observation products and applications, with stakeholders, that could be used by the stakeholders to achieve certain goals within their mandate.
The Kenya Space Agency is mandated to coordinate, nurture and develop Kenya’s Space sector to maximize the utilization of Space technologies. In this regard, through project MIDST, the Agency is exploring the possibilities of developing systems and applications to enhance the uptake and utilization of space derived data and information for decision making in both levels of government. The project focuses on developing products on the following areas of application; Natural Resource Management (Forests), Spatial Planning (Urbanization), Disaster Management (Floods/Landslides).
PROJECT MIDST FOCUS AREAS
- Natural Resource Management
Our natural resources play an important role in developing the country’s socio-economic values. Management of natural resources involves monitoring and conserving naturally occurring resources within the country such as forest, marine ecosystems, mineral regions and biodiversity. Take for example forest cover across the country, which are essential in the production of goods, protection of soil, water and other environmental services, conservation of biodiversity, provision of socio-cultural services, livelihood support and a stabilizing force for the climate, require sustainable management which will enhance a positive impact in the development of the country’s socio-economic status
2. Urbanization & Spatial planning
The country’s urban areas are on a rapid growth. High rate of urbanization if not planned well leads to uncontrolled sprouting of informal settlements with poor social, economic and environmental conditions. Project MIDST shall incorporate space data and geospatial technologies to build an application that will inform the relevant stakeholders on how to conduct proper spatial planning of our urban areas.
3. Disaster and Risk Management
Disaster management cuts across various fields involving monitoring and controlling damages that may occur due to floods, landslides and earthquakes, oil spillage and forest fires.
IMPLEMENTATION OF PROJECT MIDST
Through the use of geospatial technologies, project MIDST explores the concept of monitoring the Earth’s surface (land cover and land use) and the changes that occur over time.
Project MIDST was initiated in July 2020 by the Kenya Space Agency with the vision to primarily leverage on free and open-source data, platforms and systems to enable decision makers to make informed decisions grounded on data. The project make good use of Google Earth Engine and other remote sensing and GIS platforms such as ArcGIS and Digital Earth Africa as some of the geospatial technologies adopted by the project to conduct its operations.
Again, the initiation of this project has assisted and will continue supporting the counties and the country to monitor and report progress being made in the realization of SDG goals and targets, more particularly the ones listed below;
- Zero hunger (SDG 2)
- Clean water and sanitation(SDG 6)
- Clean energy (SDG 7)
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9)
- Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
- Climate Action (SDG13)
- Life Under Water ( SDG 14)
- Life on Land (SDG 15)
KSA partnership with GEE
Google Earth Engine (GEE) is a platform used for scientific analysis and visualization of geospatial datasets. The platform provides easy, web-based access to an extensive catalog of satellite imagery and other geospatial data in an analysis-ready format. The data catalog is paired with scalable compute power backed by Google data centers and flexible APIs that let you seamlessly implement your existing geospatial workflows. This enables cutting-edge, global scale analysis and visualization. GEE has been used fundamentally in processing most of the operations undertaken. Below are the major projects that utilized the platform.
- Monitoring of forest cover (Natural Resource Management)
Using this platform, KSA has embarked on pilot projects that supported the development of applications to monitor forest cover in Aberdares forest, Ngong forest, Oloolua forest and Kibiku forest. The generated forest products for this exercises were; land cover maps, forest non-forest maps, forest cover change analysis and statistical information to support the generated products. For more information kindly see links below.
- Aberdare forest products:
- Ngong’ Hills forest products:
- Oloolua forest products:
- Kibiku forest products:
You can also view the generated products from the KSA GEE Apps repository accessible using the link below.
A sample of the generated forest products are as highlighted below;
- Monitoring of Vegetation cover for the whole Country
Map of vegetation cover in Kenya between January to March 2019
- Monitoring of Urban areas
Currently, KSA is working on delivering the second phase of project MIDST using GEE. The exercise is designed to monitor urbanization and incorporate the aspect of spatial planning in our urban areas. The exercise focuses on Nakuru Municipality as the area of study and development of the agreed products under this scope are ongoing.
The agreed products are; land cover/land use map for the area of study, urban growth trend analysis, urban growth forecasting and urban heat islands.
Engagement with potential partners and stakeholders
The project is considered to be a capacity building process majorly based on creating synergies in the use of space data. The use of Google Earth Engine, as the main platform for processing and conducting analysis for the available geospatial datasets for this project, alluded the need to invite potential partners and stakeholders who played vital role in guiding and supporting the whole process of the respective project phases. The following institutions have participated in the project in one way or another;
Kenya Forest Service (KFS)
Directorate of Resources Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS)
Ministry of Defense (MoD)
Water Resources Authority (WRA)
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO)
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
University of Nairobi
Nakuru county government
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
Kenya Roads Board
Council of Governors
State Department of Urban Planning and Development
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)