Report – Seminar, workshop and meeting of the University of Dar es Salaam and Tromsø statistical cooperation in Arusha

Due to the changing of the semester schedule, the event planned for mid December 2007 had to be postponed to medio January 2008. As planned originally, it took place in Arusha with 28 participants from the South partner and two from the north.

The main intention of the seminar was to upgrade the skills of the partners in statistical mapping. It was originally intended that an information scientist with expertise in the area could be brought to the seminar, but this proved out of our economic range – costs would have exceeded 15000 US dollars. Since the undersigned had taught similar courses with the abovementioned expert previously and has access to his teaching material, it was decided to run the seminar with only two teachers.

While GIS and computerized mapping some years ago demanded access to expensive software running on mainframes with special output and input units, it can today be done on ordinary laptops with off-the-shelf software. Moreover, GIS coordinates are available as freeware or at low cost for most parts of the world. In the present seminar, statistical maps were produced for the countries of Africa and for the regions of Tanzania, while examples of other thematic maps were shown for other parts of the world. It was decided to base the present course on the Mapinfo program, which has been widely used at the University of Tromsø and for which the South partner already had copies.

After explaining the basics of statistical mapping, theoretical and practical introductions were given to GIS and Mapinfo with African examples. Fortunately, many of the participants had brought their laptops, so that the seminar could develop into a hands-on workshop where it was especially good to be more than one teacher. The participants drew statistical maps of the African nations and learned how to change the regional borders of Tanzania, a procedure which is necessary to follow up on the administrative boundary changes for instance from census to census. The participants were provided with map coordinates on CDs for many parts of the world, for instance Africa, Tanzania and South Africa.

While the information scientist might have given a broader overview of GIS in general, it is the impression of the undersigned that it was probably as valuable to concentrate on the aspects of statistical mapping that both South and North partners are most interested in. The introduction given by professor Elena Glavatskaya about symbolic mapping, especially of ethnic groups, also provoked much interest.

Other business.

In addition the 1988 census for Tanzania was handed over to the South partner as a CD version together with documentation in IPUMS format. This means that the census is compatible with and can easily be compared on the individual level with corresponding individual and household level data for Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique, which is available via the Internet, cf The Tanzania census data, also from the latest census in 2002, will be available as an integrated database for East Africa and other countries via the Internet in a year or two.

Doctoral candidate Ngowi explained that his teaching load has now been substantially reduced and was optimistic about finishing his thesis within this academic year.

Tromsø, 22 January 2008

Gunnar Thorvaldsen

Professor, North coordinator