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Cablegate: Science Fellow Aids Nigerian Geological Survey

VZCZCXRO8337
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0292 0460642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150642Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8614
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6144
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC

UNCLAS ABUJA 000292

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR
TREASURY FOR DAN PETERS
USDOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
USDOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TPHY SENV OTRA EAGR NI
SUBJECT: SCIENCE FELLOW AIDS NIGERIAN GEOLOGICAL SURVEY


1. Summary: Embassy Abuja hosted a Science Fellow from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture in fall 2006, who worked with Nigerian
Geological survey to provide advice and recommendations on
strengthening their remote sensing development. End Summary.

Background on Nigeria's Geological Survey
-----------------------------------------

2. Founded in 1919, in the 1980's the Nigerian Geological Survey
Agency (NGSA) experienced a serious a decline by the mi-1990's had
only a small staff. The new Ministry for Solid Minerals, created in
1999, sought to revive the agency. In 2003 a new director was
appointed and a larger budget approved, with the task of providing
geological data and services to potential investors. Nigeria has
large reserves of marketable solid minerals Geology maps identifying
many deposits are available for the whole country at 1:250,000
scale. For some areas more detailed maps of 1:50,000 are being
conducted, in some cases using GPS, and Remote Sensing and
Geographic Information System (RS/GIS) technology.

The New Remote Sensing Lab
---------------------------

3. In 2006 the NGSA began to develop a RS/GIS lab in Abuja. Some
staff members have gotten basic software training and two people
more extensive training at a Nigerian university. The two packages
in use are ESRI ArcGIS and Integrated land and water Information
surveys (ILWIS) a European package often used in Africa, but
unfamiliar to most U.S. users. The labs most immediate need is for
bigger computers that can handle satellite imagery, followed by more
extensive technical training. There are three sources for RS
training in Nigeria: The Regional Center for Training in Aerospace
Surveys at Ile-Ife, the National Center for Remote Sensing in Jos,
and the Ministry of Agriculture Remote Sensing Lab in Kaduna, which
does soil mapping.

A Sample Project
----------------

4. While in Nigeria, the USDA science fellow, worked on a remote
sending project in Minna to create an updated geological bulletin
for the area, which has a large sedimentary depositional region next
to an area of basement crystalline rock that NGSA geologists were
having trouble demarking from ground observation or aerial
photography. Using three-band imagery from the Nigerian satellite
and applying image enhancement and classification techniques, the
team was able to yield a good demarcation in part of the zone. They
also will use aerial photography from a different season and Landsat
imagery to further refine the delineation and do on-the-ground
checks for the final product.

Recommendations Provided
------------------------

5. The Science fellow gave the NGSA specific recommendations on what
kind of hardware, software, and field equipment the agency should
acquire to complete the tasks. He made specific training
recommendations, including seconding some staff from other remote
sensing bodies for extended periods to do in-house training. He
provided some recommendations on how to organize staff duties to
handle tasks most efficiently. He provided some guidance on
developing standard procedures, protocols and checklists. He
recommended that NGSA look at developing a close working
relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture remote sensing lab in
Kaduna, and that it digitize or convert to PDS its significant stock
of analog maps and geological bulletins, which could then be placed
in the internet.


Conclusions
------------

6. The Fellow noted that the staff of the newly empowered NGSA is
working hard and with real enthusiasm to create a modern agency that
will move into the digital age. They want to provide a wealth of
data on Nigeria's extensive mineral resources to support the
development of mining. If properly equipped and trained, the RS/GIS
lab would play an important role in this endeavor. Post was happy
to host the Science Fellow from USDA, which provided the U.S. an
opportunity to support Nigerian scientists and technicians working
to develop a sector with great potential for diversifying and
developing Nigeria's economy.
CAMPBELL

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