Learning to Map and Monitor Glaciers

Training participants with David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD

A week-long training course on ‘Application of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems for Mapping and Monitoring of Glacier’ was conducted January 18th to 22nd at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Twenty-three students and professionals from various backgrounds, organisations and schools attended the training. The majority of participants were students from Kathmandu University, but others came from Tribhuvan University, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology), and the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat.

The training was organised as part of a capacity building for national partners in remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to monitor and assess glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region in the context of climate change.  

Samjwal Bajracharya, a Remote Sensing Specialist and Training Coordinator at ICIMOD stressed the value of the course.

‘Such training opportunities bring together different partners and helps foster better understanding of the status of glaciers, and provides partner institutions with the skills to monitor and map the glaciers on their own’, Bajracharya said. 

During the weeklong training, participants learned basic GIS and remote sensing concept with hands-on-exercises using Arc GIS mapping and Definien image analysis softwares respectively. Attendees also learnt glacier data capturing by using remote sensing (RS) techniques and glacier data analysis and representation by using GIS.   Theoretical background on clean ice (CI) and debris covered (DC) glaciers were also part of the lessons. 

Participants found the training relevant and timely. Most of the student participants from the two Nepali universities said the skills and new methods they learned during the training would help them in completing their thesis and looked forward to applying their knowledge in their work-place as well.