Ecosystem monitoring experts meet in Munich to test SWOS tools

The Horizon 2020 project SWOS organised a training workshop on 16-18 January 2018 in Munich, Germany. 50 participants from 23 different countries attended the workshop, among them 30 users from wetland organisations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The purpose of the training workshop was to teach participants technical skills and, in hands-on sessions, how to apply and work with satellite data for wetland monitoring, restoration and management. Participants were also given guidance on how to use the SWOS service components (maps and indicators, software tools and the portal) and how to integrate SWOS products into reporting for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.6.1.

The SWOS workshop offered various training sessions targeted according to the participants’ different levels of existing knowledge and, in particular, the different tasks that the participants have to fulfil within their organisation. The sessions covered topics from how to find satellite data to indicators and were demonstrated in detail.

In their feedback, participants said they greatly appreciated receiving such a broad overview as well as the quality of the insights into the potential of earth observation for wetland monitoring and management. This was also the case for participants using remote sensing data and tools for the first time. Participants also appreciated that both the potential and the limitations of remote sensing were shown.

Participants found the tools very useful and applicable, in particular the GEOclassifier integrated tools. The SNAP toolbox provides additional very valuable tools, which were presented in particular during the radar data introduction and water quality sessions. Nevertheless, SNAP seemed to be too advanced for some participants.

Users found that the tools could be applied easily and are relevant and applicable to protected areas management in general, including for areas without wetlands. Users suggested that the indicators should be developed further and should integrate recommendations for management.

For most of the participants they will not be able to implement and apply all tools, in particular because most of the participants are wetland practitioners focusing on management and lack time to . They will probably need technical support from the project team especially by providing repeated tutorials on how to use the Software. Additional local and specialised workshops focusing just on a few selected products would be appreciated as well as short videos and online courses on specific topics.

Participants stated that SWOS products and tools could be helpful for all wetland managers around the globe and should be promoted globally. They suggested that the Geoportal should provide the possibility to add more sites and examples, also for additional users and also after the end of the project.

Participants were given the opportunity to give their feedback on the workshop by completing a short survey containing questions and spaces for comments. Overall, the participants, who had varying levels of knowledge about the SWOS portal and remote sensing, were happy with the workshop, the breadth of topics covered and support from the team. Some found that it could have lasted longer considering the number and complexity of the topics covered.

Quotes:

“Overall it was an amazing training, greatly organized & structured.”

“The content of the training was diversified and very rich. I learned a lot.”

“Absolutely, I will start to use the tools I’ve seen during the workshop.”

 

User stories (video interviews):

Nashat Hamidan (RSCN)

Efterpi Patetsini (Nestos Delta)

Andreas Jezek (Kristianstads Vattenrike biosphere reserve)