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Geographic Information Systems

Wildlife and tourism in Tajikistan

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Home Wildlife monitoring Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems

Wildlife monitoring involves thousands of field observations, all of which having a geographical meaning, such as XY location or altitude, and having a spatial logic. The project has thus recently decided to make a more generalized use of GIS tools in its activities, in order to facilitate the data collection, management and analysis.


The GIS activities in the project encompass most of the spectrum of GIS tools:

  • In the field data collection (GPS)
  • Geodatabase management
  • Statistical and Geo-statistical analysis
  • Mapping (as a visualization and communication media, but also as a basis for concrete action)
  • (to a lesser extent) Remote sensing

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In particular GIS tools also allow us to perform some automatic tasks that would, otherwise, take hours and hours of repetitive manual work: when observing Marco Polo sheep herds, for example, the surveyors can only record their own GPS position but not the actual location of the herd, as those wild animals will rarely let you come close to them! By measuring the azimuth between the observer and the observed animals and by estimating the distance between them, we have enough geographical information to calculate the spatial position of the herd, that can then be easily displayed on a map thanks to an automatic GIS procedure.


The locations of herds on the map, possible repeated observations are identified by the survey teams and excluded from the the overall count. From the number of animals per location kernel densities showing the distribution of ungulates in the surveyed areas can be calculated. Furthermore, knowing the location of the herds, along with their composition and some other environmental factors, many analysis can then be performed, such as density, habitat modeling (by crossing the outputs of the surveys with landcover information), descriptive statistics or temporal comparisons.

Observations of ungulates in the conservancy Alichur Dec. 2015 (c) Burgut

Density of ibex in the conservancy Alichur Dec. 2015 (c) Burgut