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Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management
Damen, M. C. J.

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Symposium on Remote Sensing for Resources Development and Environmental Management / Enschede / August 1986
Visual interpretation of MSS-FCC manual cartographic
integration of data
EC A Regional Centre for Training in Aerial Surveys, Ile-Ife, Oyo State, Nigeria
ABSTRACT: The objective was to use the holistic and synoptic dualities o f Landsat 2 MSS-FCC taken in 1975
to re-organize from an existing stock of scattered data, a relevant description of aspects of renewable
resources development situation in which the fiscal decision makers and development planners have shown keen
interest. The Cartographic projection from the FCC interpretation was to illustrate the kind of information
obtainable with simple techniques, but which data has so much been in short supply in the African resources
development arena. The study purposefully selected "frontier development" problem because it is an
important development issue in Ghana. The themes chosen and visually interpreted from the FCC, and the manual
cartographic integration of the information illustrate some aspects of the ways for closincr the co-ooeration
gap between mapping authorities and the national fiscal authorities. The latter, because of partly tight
money situation and partly for lack of appreciation of the role of manning, usually accord low priority to
the former's needs. The study area was in northern Ghana.
RESUME : L'objectif était d'utiliser les qualités holistiques et synoptiques des MSS-FCC des Landsat 2, prises
en 1975 pour réaranger, à partir des données éparses, une description des aspects de la situation des
ressources de. développement renouvables qui intéressent grandement les organismes de décision fiscale dans
la planification du développement. La projection cartoqraphique à partir de l'interprétation F.C.C. devait
illustrer le genre d'information disponible à partir de techniques simples mais dont les données sont très
rares dans l'arène Africaine des ressources de développement. L'étude a choisi intentionnellement le
problème des "frontières du développement" parce que c'est, une question très importante du développement
au Ghana. Les thèmes choisis et interprétés visuellement à partir des RCC • et l'inte gration manuelle
cartographique de l'information devaient accentuer le fait que les imageries des satellites offrent actuel
lement la possibilité de boucher le trou qui existe entre les autorités de la cartographie et les autorités
fiscales nationales qui, à cause des finances très sérrées d'une part, et à cause d'un manque d'appréciation
du rôle de la Carotographie, d’autre part, accordent une faible priorité aux besoins de cette dernière.
La zone étudiée se trouve dans le nord du Ghana.
The mapping situation in Africa has been reviewed in
various ways vis aviz those of other developing
countries. In most of the reviews the low status
accorded to manning has been emphasized. In Atkin
son ' s- review (1982) the tight money situation and
mapping as an enterprise without immediate financial
return, have induced fiscal authorities to olace
low priority on mapping as far as scarce resource
allocation is concerned. Yet maps have their cataly
tic effect on development. As it was observed by
de Hensler (1982), the main sources of haphazard
planning encountered too often in developing count
ries could be traced directly to the lack of adequa
te mapnina. in his analysis of the situation de
Hensler saw of it as a number one problem, how to
communicate on cartoqraphic matters with the govem-
ment authorities who hold the keys to the financial
aspects of resource allocation for development.
While he thought that cartographers "need not hide
behind a theodolite, a plotting instrument or remain
hunched over a scribing plot", this paper holds the
view that, speaking out on the importance of their
work, cartographers have to make their workmanships
speak for themselves. Perhaps closincr the communi
cation gap between mapping administrators and the
fiscal authorities, mapping has to some extent
simplify its technicrues of presenting to decision
makers the issues of the marient according to how
the fiscal authorities also see them in relation to
their programmes for econanic recovery. These
development issues range over land based economic
and socio-ecological key variables that are very
relevant to the environment and its associated
If thematic manning of the resources and the environ
ment should be stepped up to reflect as a mirror in
viiich the decision makers in particular, and the land
users in general, could visualize spatial patterns of
their activities in the landscape, such a mirror
could possiblv attract the necessary public atten
tion unto mapping, its needs and role in the
society, This study, looking at the aero survei
llance technology situation and at the elasticity
of the resultant satellite products, has experimen
ted with verv rudimentary technioues o f visual inter
pretation and. manual cartographic integration °f
the data, to present just a few of the "stories"
that fiscal and planning authorities would like to
hear. In doing this, the study has believed that
unless cartographers will assume the role of Shake-
spear's M ark Anthony, not onlv in showing the dead
body of Caesar but also his "patchment" and beyond
even that, read the contents of the "patchment" in
public, not much can be done to charae the public,
visual impression and concrete evidence of the lands
cape could attract the necessary attention. The
problem, there f ore partly lies in how to select and
present through cartographic medium those very
relevant development issues which are the stories
fiscal decision makers are likely to give ears to.
The studv selected purposefully a rather politically
loaded environmental and resource development issue
to apply the visual interpretation and the associa
ted manual cartographic data integration to. The
issue was that of land development in the frontiers
of Ghana.
Frontiers by definition are areas characterized by
remoteness, harsh physical environment, relative
backwardness and underpooulation.