Getting ready

Anna and I are up in Middlebury now, getting ready to leave in 6 days! We have been working on two main things: getting our training materials ready, and figuring out the nuts and bolts of the data collection process. We'll be using a Magellan eXplorist GC Handheld GPS to collect all of our data, which has a very simple interface. It's designed mostly for geocaching (basically treasure hunting with a GPS) but you can easily mark specific locations such as health centers or homes by creating "waypoints." Once we collect these points using the GPS we can load them onto the computer, and then into the open source GIS, Quantum.

So far we've only been collecting data here in Middlebury and making some simple example maps, but it's been really exciting to look up the different data available for Rwanda. Two good sites we've been exploring are DIVA-GIS and Africover. You can download geographic data for free off both of these sites, opening it in Quantum and using it to make maps. It's definitely going to be a very busy week, but starting to feel ready!