Seems like I am pulled to the coastlines. Seems like I am not alone. People tend to gravitate towards food resources, and where the ocean meets land, and even rivers, food has always been plenty. Trade too. And the boats of course.
I have a house, in the northern parts of Norway where the shoreline is but 200 meters away. From where I live in Trondheim I can see the fjord. The ocean has always been around.
I am one of those with fond memories of small waves, a grandfather safely steering the boat, and days blessed with sun and fishing. When the weather was less than fair we stayed in or near my grandparents house enjoying our small adventures around the old farm.
Seems also that the places I travel to these days are close to the ocean. Zanzibar is one of these fantastic places where oportunities and challenges arise practically on the shoreline. Mapping those oportunities and challenges is part of what I do. It invoves drones, big databases, partners in many institutions, researchers and more. Sometimes it comes together in a map describing the sensitivities of a coastal area. I like the thought of it, but fear that we more often than not do not have enough knowledge to present detailed enough maps.
Ghana is an other of those places. My stays are usually in Accra, and although the coastline is
never far away it is merely the frame of the ocean and not much more. Inaccessible because of restricted daytime for me, the workshop participant and meetings participant. Workshops outside Accra usually end up being in Sogakope, a 60 minute drive down to Keta. But my meetings usually revolve on issues related to the ocean and its shoreline.
What’s with the coastal areas then? Here are some of the processes I am involved in:
- Environmental atlases
- Coastal sensitivity analysis for emergency response
- Digitalization of drone data in coastal areas (coastline/mangrove/substrate)
- Methods development of sensitivity assessments (both coastal and terrestrial)
I have attached a video from a recent (September 2017) trip to the Keta Lagoon area in Ghana. On a small strip of land between the Keta Lagoon and the coastline thousands of people live their lifes. The inland areas which are not flooded (remember this is a lagoon) are occasionaly flooded rendering the areas uninhabitable for parts of they year.
In the video you can see the sand traps designed to “harvest”sand so that the thin strip does not erode. You can see this as big dumps of stone perpendicular to the shoreline.
Apart from letting us see some of the areas near the coast the video also shows some highlights form a QGIS training near Sogakope.