Exposure to the GIS empowers unemployed youth

As part of Esri South Africa’s ongoing initiative to encourage skills development and capacity building, the company earlier this year offered free geographic information system (GIS) training to unemployed youths in the 18-to-35-year age category. Twelve individuals signed up for the week-long training course which covered the basics in ArcGIS and was held at Esri South Africa’s headquarters in Johannesburg.

ArcGIS is a desktop mapping and spatial data analysis application produced by Esri which allows users to create maps using geographic data in electronic form. The application provides a set of tools for compiling, visualising, analysing, editing, managing and sharing geographic data. It enables deeper understanding by allowing users to quickly and easily see where things are happening and how information is connected.

During the week-long training course, participants were exposed to ArcGIS Basic and taught basic theoretical and practical GIS concepts including spatial data structure, data sources and transfer methods, projections and coordinate systems, metadata, the integration of remote sensing and GIS, as well as fundamental spatial analysis techniques.

Feedback from the trainees revealed that the most important things they learnt on the course were designing maps, understanding coordinate systems, creating feature classes, importing and exporting shapefiles, creating geodatabases and analysing data. Many of them expressed a need for further training in more specialised courses to help them find employment and there were also several requests for South African data to be used in the training exercises.

Esri South Africa will be offering additional free GIS training for unemployed youth in Durban and Cape Town during 2018. Details will be available on the Esri South Africa website and via its social media platforms once the dates have been finalised.