Second Announcement 

5th Seminar on GIS for Developing Countries

November 2- 3, 2000

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
Los Banos, Philippines 

Co-organised by

The GISDECO International Committee

and the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines)

Aims and themes


The developing countries of the world, which have the largest share of the world's population, have witnessed different rates of economic growth and development over the past few decades. Particularly following the recent economic crisis in Asia, there is growing realisation of the need for balance between urban & industrial development and rural & agricultural development. Large proportions of the populations in developing countries still live in rural areas, are engaged in the agricultural sector, and are poor. Population growth exerts increasing pressure on the exploitation of land and water resources, and raises concern over non-sustainability of agricultural production and threats to food security.

The Fifth GISDECO Seminar focuses on GIS tools for rural development. It is appropriate that this Seminar is held in Asia for the first time, for GIS technology has made significant inroads into Asia, particularly over the past decade. The main purpose of the seminar is to bring together experts and practitioners of GIS and related technologies to share practical experiences and the state-of-the-art advancements to gain better insight into how these technologies may be effectively used to support policy formulation, planning and management of the natural and human resources for progressive rural development. Toward this objective, we call for papers and posters on the following themes:


The seminar will start with one keynote session followed by four theme sessions consisting of a session keynote speaker and a number of relevant papers. Each session will end with a discussion and the seminar will finish with a panel discussion and a closing address. The posters will be displayed in an adjoining room for discussion during tea and lunch breaks. Another adjoining exhibition room will be equipped to offer hardware- and software companies, technical engineering companies, and GIS-researchers the possibility to present relevant hardware, programs, and GIS-applications.


 1.                   GIS for addressing biophysical aspects of rural development: The natural resource base is the key to productivity in the rural agricultural sector. Characterising and understanding the bio-physical environment is a pre-requisite for rational allocation of natural resources in rural development, as well as in managing and conserving the resources to ensure long-term sustainability. This section focuses on how GIS and related technology may be used for inventorying the resource base, using the inventory to identify bio-physical constraints and opportunities for geographical targeting of research and development strategies, and for practical management and implementation of rural development projects.

 2.                   GIS for addressing socio-economic & policy aspects of rural development: Efficient and sustainable use of the natural resource base hinges largely upon human factors, i.e. socio-economic circumstances and the institutional and policy environment. This section focuses on demonstrating how GIS tools are increasingly incorporated in socio-economic studies to provide an explicit geographical dimension where and when human behaviour is spatially influenced, with emphasis on rural development.

 3.                   GIS for integrated approaches in rural development: There is an increasing trend to adopt integrated approaches to rural development. Planning, policy decisions, project implementation and management need to take into account both biophysical conditions and socio-economic factors (horizontal integration), as well as needs and issues at different scales from field/farm/household to regional/community levels (vertical integration). This section focuses on GIS as an enabling technology to foster integration in the generation of knowledge bases and incorporation into planning and decision support tools for rural development. 

4.                   State-of-the-art tools and techniques: There are still many methodological challenges in developing GIS techniques to address the multitude of issues and problems in rural development. For example, technical solutions using GIS are needed for modelling spatio-temporal variability of environmental factors, to address up-scaling and downscaling issues, and for simulation of biophysical processes and human behaviour in space and time. Advances in information and communications technology are also opening up opportunities for making GIS accessible to the masses. This section focuses on demonstrating the utility of current as well as potential advances in GIS technology and techniques that can be gainfully used for rural development now and in the future.


Thu 2 Nov 2000


08:00 - 08:30

Registration of participants

08:30 - 08:45

Welcome speech by Director General, IRRI

08:45 - 09:00

GIS applications in developing countries: Ten years of development. P.van Teeffelen

09:00 - 09:30

Keynote Address by Dr.Ronald Eastman

09:30 - 09:45

Photo taking and opening of GIS Exhibition

09:45 - 10:15

Tea break and viewing of exhibition

10:15 - 12:00

Session 1 GIS for addressing bio-physical aspects of rural development

12:00 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:15

Session 2 GIS for addressing socio-economic & policy aspects of rural development

15:15 - 15:45

Tea break and viewing of exhibition

15:45 - 17:00

Session 2 (continued)

17:00 - 18:30

Viewing of posters/demos

18:30 - 20:30

Official dinner

Fri 3 Nov 2000


08:00 - 09:45

Session 3 GIS for integrated approaches in rural development

09:45 - 10:15

Tea break and viewing of posters/exhibition

10:15 - 12:00

Session 4 State-of-the-art tools and techniques

12:00 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:00

Session 4 (continued)

15:00 - 15:30

Tea break and viewing of posters/exhibition

15:30 - 17:00

Panel discussion

17:00 - 17:45

Summing up: GISDECO Organizing Committee 

Closing address

17:45 - 18:15

Farewell drinks


 IRRI Local Committee

  • Dr. Suan-Pheng KAM, GIS Specialist, Social Sciences Division (
  • Dr. Chu Thai HOANH, Affiliate Scientist, Social Sciences Division  (
  • Dr. E.C. GODILANO, Project Scientist, Social Sciences Division (e.godilano@

 GISDECO International

  • Dr. Pieter van Teeffelen, Department of Geography of Developing Countries, Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (
  • Prof. Paul van Helden, Dept. of Town and Regional Planning, University of Pretoria, South Africa (
  • Prof. G. Brent Hall, School of Planning, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Waterloo University, Waterloo, Canada (

GISDECO2000 Secretariat (

  • Mr. Ramil GUTIERREZ
  • Ms. Shirley RAYMUNDO
  • Ms. Mirla DOMINGO

Contact numbers
The International Rice Research Institute (63-2) 845-0563
S.P. Kam ext. 592 (Office); ext. 466 (Residence)
C.T.Hoanh ext. 673 (Office); ext. 6818 (Residence)
E.C. Godilano ext. 627 (Office); (63-49) 536-0836 (Residence)
R. Gutierrez ext. 627 (GIS-IP Laboratory)
Telefax: (63-2) 891-1292

General Information

Geoinformation for All

GISDECO is an international network of GIS experts, planners and project managers engaged in GIS applications in developing countries. GISDECO focuses on the exchange of practical experiences with GIS-applications by organizing seminars and workshops in various countries. The purpose of GISDECO is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and progress in problem solving for GIS researchers and practitioners, either from and working in developing countries or from developed countries and working on the problems of GIS technology transfer and spatial analysis applications in developing countries. The general objective of these two broad groups is common, namely to assist the development process and improve the quality of life of those populations who suffer from lagging economic and social development, while safe-guarding the fragility of the bio-physical realm in truly and newly underdeveloped countries.

The Fifth GISDECO Seminar focuses on GIS tools for rural development. It is appropriate that this Seminar is held in Asia for the first time, for GIS technology has made significant inroads into Asia, particularly over the past decade. The main purpose of the seminar is to bring together experts and practitioners of GIS and related technologies to share practical experiences and the state-of-the-art advancements to gain better insight into how these technologies may be effectively used to support policy formulation, planning and management of the natural and human resources for progressive rural development.


The 5th Seminar on GIS for Developing Countries will be held at:
The International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños Research Center, Laguna, Philippines
Phone: (632) 845-0563, 844-3351
Fax: (632) 891-1292, 845-0606
Home page:

Found a mere five degrees north of the equator, the Philippines archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands and islets, only 3,000 of which have actually been named. The three major island groups are: Luzon (the northern most part), Visayas, (the center) and Mindanao (the southern most). The country is host to many international organization including IRRI.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is one of 16 agricultural research centers around the world that make up the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. IRRI is a nonprofit agricultural research and training center established in 1960 to improve the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes. It is dedicated to helping farmers in developing countries produce more food on limited land using less water, less labor, and fewer chemical inputs, without harming the environment.

IRRI is adjacent to the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) campus, located at the foot of the legendary Mount Makiling in Los Baños, Laguna Philippines.

The institute is located approximately 60 km south of Manila. From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), travel time to Los Baños is approximately two hours. In going to NAIA from Los Baños (see location map or visit Philippine Map), however, you should depart from IRRI at least four hours of your scheduled flight to give allowance for traffic and airport security protocol. A detailed map of the IRRI-UPLB complex will be included in your seminar kit.

Banking and Postal Facilities

Banks are open from Monday - Friday from 0900 to 1500 hrs. Post offices are open from Monday -Friday from 0900 to 1700 hrs. At the IRRI mail room, stamps may be purchased only between 1600H and 1700H, and letters posted, from Monday to Friday.  

Overseas Communication

Cables, telexes, and fax messages may be sent and overseas calls placed (at personal cost) at the IRRI Radio Room and PT&T services during office hours (0800H-1700H). E-mail access will be provided at the Secretariat during the day. 

Climate and Clothing

Temperatures in Los Baños in November usually vary between 23 - 30°C during the day and slightly lower during the night. Medium to lightweight clothing is advisable; however, since the venue is air conditioned do not forget to bring a jacket or coat. We do not expect rains during the duration of the seminar. No formal dress is required for social events.


The currency in The Philippines is the Peso (Ph.P). Currency ex-change is possible at banks and exchange offices at the airport. Major credit cards are generally accepted in the Philippines. Currency notes are printed at 10, 20, 50, 500, and 1000. Coins are readily available in dimes (10 cents), quarters (25 cents), fifty cents, one peso, two pesos, and five pesos. The IRRI cashier’s office will provide currency exchange service at the Secretariat Desk. Exchange rate is approximately 42 pesos to 1 USD.  

Water and Electricity

The country’s power is set at 220 volts AC, however, many establishment such as hotels will come equipped with 110 volts. Within IRRI we have 110 and 220 volts, if you are not sure about an outlet’s voltage, be sure to ask first.

Water in the Philippines is considered potable by experts. But many residents still take the precaution of boiling water for at least two minutes. For a traveler’s safety, and convenience, purification tablets are readily available at any local drugstore or you can now buy a variety of bottled water (mineral, distilled and purified) at your nearest supermarket.


Participants are strongly encouraged to carry travel and health insurance, as the GISDECO cannot provide coverage for accidents, injuries or illnesses that occur during the seminar. You should check your health insurance coverage to see if you are covered in the event of illness or injury, while traveling outside of your country. If not, we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance coverage for the trip.  

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for entry into Philippines. If you are arriving from the United States, Asia or Europe, you can enter the country without a formal visa and stay for 21 days. Visas may be required for those with passports from other countries. For specific information, please contact the Philippine Embassy in your country or nearest your country at least 6 weeks prior to your departure for the Philippines, or email the local organizing committee members.

Local Transportation

Airport/ Los Baños/Airport. The Secretariat will handle transportation from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to IRRI Los Baños and back. Upon arrival you should report at the International Organizations assistance booth at the arrival lobby after exiting from the customs inspection area of the airport. You have to inform the Secretariat of your arrival itinerary.

Departure. We recommend departure form Los Baños to airport at 4 hours prior to flight time. Airport tax is Ph.P 550. You may check your departure schedule at the bulletin board posted at the Secretariat during the seminar. 

Ticket Reconfirmation

IRRI houses a Marsman Travel and Tours office. Please submit your airtickets on the first day of the seminar to the Secretariat for re-confirmation.

Presentation Assistance

Standard audio-visual equipment, i.e. overhead projector, slide projector and multimedia presentation system (for power point presentation) will be made available for oral presentations. Technical assistance will be on standby to assist in the use of these equipment. Paper presenters may go to the Secretariat to check their slides and digital presentation files.