Geographic Information System (GIS)
The use of satellite remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) during an integrated HCV-HCSA assessment is considered one of the cornerstones for successful completion of the project.
This technology allows the user to assess a recent snapshot of large areas accurately, within a respectable timeframe and in a cost-effective manner not achievable with traditional fieldwork.
Since spatial data, especially aerial / satellite imagery, is seen as vital to the project, the GIS specialist is involved in all phases of the project. Prior to the scoping phase, a draft land cover map needs to be completed as set out in the HCV-HCSA Assessment Manual (2017) and land cover classes need to be ground-truthed during the site visit.
During the full assessment phase it is the onus of the GIS specialist to perform patch analysis and classify the land cover into appropriate information classes using representative fieldwork gathered in the assessment phase.
These datasets will form part of the foundation for the HCV-HCS assessment and will largely dictate final conclusions and recommendations.