GEOSPATIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION RESEARCH GROUP

 

Background:

Geospatial and Environmental Information are two broad areas that are linked together. Geospatial information deals with location information on, above and below the earth surface. This information is three dimensional. It is normally represented by either geographic coordinates (ψ, λ and H) or by Cartesian coordinates (x, y and z) or both. The environment which is the space around us consists of the air, water, land and all the living and non-living resources. Past global interest was on the development of human settlements and endeavours that helped to improve the quality of life. Little or no attention was paid to how these developments affected the environment. Construction of roads, railways, airways, development of machines for provision of energy, improved agriculture, for manufacturing of goods, construction of better houses and so on were the major interest of communities, nations, and the entire world. Around 1972, the global community realized that all these developments adversely affected the quality of the environment. That year, the first conference on environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden. Man came to the realization that human activities adversely affected climate that the use of fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, gas coupled with indiscriminate deforestation for firewood, furniture and timber contributed to increase in global temperature and changes in climate through the emission of greenhouse gases. These culminated in Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992 and subsequent international protocols, treaties and agreements on environment and development.

The use of fossil fuels, cutting of forests and other human activities that contribute to climatic changes have locations. it is often stated that everything and indeed 80% of all activities on earth have locations. The inquiry, evaluation, documenting and mapping of environmental phenomena on the earth's surface seek to answer the fundamental geospatial questions of what exist where and how; why and so what; what are their qualities, magnitudes, spatial characteristics and structural relationships associated with their locations? While some advanced countries such as the United States have made significant advances in geo-data base infrastructure, research and dissemination ( e.g. US EROS Data Centre), limited progress have been recorded in this sphere nationally in Nigeria. This is in spite of strenuous efforts of individual researchers, disparate research groups and some tertiary institutions. Several critical areas do abound in the country, which require the application of geospatial technologies to study, document, host and disseminate spatial occurrence and information for effective planning and management. Some of these areas include effects of development and human settlements on the environment, mapping, climatic impacts, environmental challenges including flooding, erosion, desertification and land degradation, biodiversity loss, sustainable livelihoods, managing carbon footprints and sequestration, food, energy and water needs in addition to resource consumption, etc. Ideas and solutions to manage these challenges necessarily can be generated through sustained research efforts both from tertiary institutions and research centres devoted to these topical areas. This is the niche which the Research Centre for Geospatial and Environmental Information or (Geospatial and Environmental Information Research Centre) being proposed here will occupy. Apart from being expectedly self-sufficient through research grants, the Centre will draw on the diverse strengths of the multi-disciplinary members in its team to research on a wide range of geospatial and environmental issues from time to time. This membership draws from the disciplines of social and environmental sciences, science, engineering and geoinformatics.

 

Research Areas:

This research group performs multi-disciplinary research in the area of geospatial and environmental systems:

  1. Space Applications (including Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Establishment of Zero Order Controls;
  2. Landscape, Landform and Land Use Assessment;
  3. Mapping;
  4. Climate Change;
  5. Hydrology and Water Resource Management;
  6. Ecosystem and Ecology;
  7. Forest Carbon, Agriculture;
  8. Urban Heat Island;
  9. Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Accounting;
  10. Environmental Modelling and Assessment;
  11. Environmental Pollution,
  12. Oil Spill Events and Management;
  13. Biodiversity;
  14. Waste Control and Management.
  1. Description of Notable Research findings/outstanding Research findings:
  2. Spatial Changes in the Wetlands of Lagos/Lekki Lagoons of Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos metropolis, the current economic capital of Nigeria is a low-lying coastal city endowed with a number oflagoons and wetland ecological assets. Lagos/Lekki Lagoons being the largest with a combined size of 646km2are fringed on many sides by wetlands. Many of these wetlands have undergone severe spatial changes from

rapid urbanization in the past three decades. The precise nature of these changes is largely unknown andunreported. As the area is experiencing intense development pressure, this study therefore examined the spatialchanges in the wetlands fringing these lagoons using the integrated approach of remote sensing data and GISwith topographic maps providing baseline data. The objective is to quantify and establish the precise locationand magnitude of these changes over the years from 1984 to 2006. Two types of wetlands are prevalent in theLagos area namely: the swamps and mangroves. ENVI software was used along with parallelepiped supervisedclassification in processing the Landsat images. Results show that the mangrove wetlands decreased from88.51km2 to 19.95km2 at -3.12km2 annually while swamps decreased from 344.75km2 to 165.37km2 at -8.15km2 annually both between 1984 and 2006. Results further show that mangroves which were widespread inseven council areas around these lagoons in 1984, have dwindled to only four councils in 2006. These decreases are attributable to urban development pressures. Some of the implications of these losses and conservation issuesare briefly highlighted.

  

Land Cover Dynamics Associated with the Spatial Changes in the Wetlands of Lagos/Lekki Lagoon System of Lagos, Nigeria

Urban sprawl is one of the severe land use/land cover (LULC) change agents, especially in rapidly urbanizing developingcountries such as Nigeria. Land use/land cover is among the key drivers of environmental change as it leads to dramaticchanges in both landscape patterns and ecosystem functions. Lagos metropolis, the nation’s economic nerve centre, is ona low-lying coastal landscape endowed with lagoons, wetlands, and other ecological assets. The Lagos/Lekki Lagoonsystem, with its catchments and wetlands, constitute about 71% of the state. With rapid urbanization and intensedevelopment pressure, some of the fringing wetlands and other land cover in the area have been converted to urbanlandscape. Just like the wetlands, the precise nature of these land cover changes is comprehensively unknown. In thisongoing study, land cover dynamics linked to the spatial changes in the wetlands fringing these lagoons are alsocomprehensively assessed. With low topography, high energy, and erosive coastlines, the extent of coastal erosion (1985–2009) in the area is assessed with remote sensing data and geographic information system (GIS) using topographic mapsas baseline data. ENVI software is deployed for the processing of Landsat imageries, and unsupervised classification isused for image classification. The objective is to establish the locations and magnitude of the land cover dynamicsbetween 1984 and 2006, ultimately leading to implications for flood risk on affected areas. Results show that as swampsdecreased from 344.75 km2 to 165.37 km2 and mangroves decreased from 88.51 km2 to 19.95 km2, both between 1984 and2006, built-up areas increased from 48.97 km2 to 282.78 km2 at 10.61 km2/y; water body decreased from 685.58 km2to654.98 km2 at 0.16 km2/y; bare land increased from 24.32 km2 to 72.73 km2 at 2.2 km2/y; and vegetation decrease marginally from 1369.15 km2 to 1361.08 km2 at_0.37 km2/y all between 1984 and 2006. Evidently most of the growth inbuilt-up areas occurred in previous wetland areas and some vegetated areas. Most of the increase in built-up areaoccurred in the Eti-osa Local Government Area (LGA) and then in the Kosofe LGA. The decrease in the water body isattributable to anthropogenic action of reclamation and accretion arising from island formation on the Lekki Lagoon.

 

Team members and their speciality

Name

Role

Specialty

Department

Email

Prof. P.C. Nwilo

Lead/Principal Researcher

Environmental Resources & GNSS

Surveying and Geoinformatics

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Dr. Oscar  Uluocha

Principal/Research Partner

Digital Cartography and Environmental Management

Geography

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Dr. Jerry N. Obiefuna

Principal/Research Partner

Resource Analysis and Landscape Architecture

Architecture   

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Dr. Olusegun Temitope Badejo

Research Partner

Hydrography and Surveying

Surveying and Geoinformatics

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Dr. O. Adeaga

Research Partner

Hydrology and Water Resources Management

Geography

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Dr. (Mrs.) Esther OluwafunmilayoMakinde

Research Partner

Space Applications,Ecology and Environment,

Surveying and Geoinformatics

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Dr. Theddeus T. Akano

Research Partner

Computation and Applied Mechanics

Systems Engineering                                                            

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Dr. Emeka Eusebius Epuh,

Research Partner

Geophysics, Geodesy,  Gravitational Assessment and Management

Surveying and Geoinformatics

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Dr. Emmanuel GbengaAyodele

Research Partner

Space Applications

Surveying and Geoinformatics

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