It's time for another monthly dose of its4land! Read on for updates on tenure, technology, and teamwork 
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Newsletter 08 - September 2016

Welcome to its4land Newsletter #8. With 4 content work packages now in full swing, September was a busy month. The its4land team met for the 2nd tech4land meeting, 2x its4land PhD candidates successfully defended their workplans, and the Work Package 2 'Get Needs' team had to deal with unexpected and uncontrollable interruptions to their field data collection activities in Ethiopia. 

Quick Wins for 'Automate It'. Whilst Work Package 05 ‘Automate It’ only got underway on August 01 2016, in good early news for the work package, key researcher, Sophie Crommelinck completed her PhD qualifier at a public forum on September 01 at ITC, University of Twente, Netherlands. This means she is now ready to focus on completing its4land milestones and deliverables for the next 3.5 years. In other good news, a far-reaching review of the contemporary use of automated feature extraction methods in the domain of land administration has already been published as part of the team's work. The 'Automate It' package is hosted by ITC, University of Twente and initial work is focusing on reviewing, assessing, designing, and testing new approaches for (semi-automatically) extracting cadastral boundaries (Image Source: Remote Sensing 8(8):689). Sophie's qualifier document is available on request. 
Fly, Create, Onwards, Upwards. On September 07 2016, at ITC University of Twente, Work Package 4 researcher, Claudia Stoecker, completed her PhD qualifier for intended work on UAV adaptions, workflows and regulatory approaches. The work will be cross-disciplinary in nature, bridging the fields of earth observation science, geoinformatics, ethics and technology, and law. WP4 generates much of the base imagery data needed by WP3, WP5 and WP6 - so it's crucial that the workplan is adhered to in the following months with regards to UAV specification finalisation, acquisition, freighting, registration, training, and licensing. Claudia's qualifier document is available on request. Details of the qualifier event are here.  

tech4land 2.0. As part of a regular meeting pattern surrounding the more technical work packages, its4landers got together to discuss the interactions and interfaces between UAV outputs, smart sketch maps, the automated feature extraction tool, and the planned geocloud services. WWU Muenster, Germany, hosted the event on September 05 with researchers from University of Twente, Netherlands and Hansa Luftbild, Germany, also joining. Serene Ho from KU-Leuven also made the treck across from Belgium to help ensure better 2-way flows between WP2 'Get Needs' and the technical work packages are achieved. The group agreed on pursuing a decoupled approach to developing each of the its4land tools - provided an underlying reference architecture is adhered to. More clarity on end-user segmentation was also achieved with bottom-up, middle-way, and top-down user groups being identified and described. Other issues discussed included specifics on data layers, application layers, and deployment options. The usefulness of tech4land meetings means they'll continue into the back half of 2016. 
Unrest in Ethiopia. Following initial reconnaissance and meet/greet activities in April 2016, Work Package 2 'Get Needs' was due to undertake it's first substantial data collection activities in September 2016 in Ethiopia's Amhara region. However, civil unrest in that region, and more prominently the Oromia region, means the plans were disrupted and activities must be postponed. The unrest stems from multiple causes - not the least being access to land by locals and perceived unfair foreign investments. A state of emergency is now in place in Ethiopia and protests and clashes are occurring regularly. In accordance with the its4land risk management plan, and the travel advice of the respective Embassy's, no fieldwork will take place in Ethiopia until the situation improves. The its4land MT is in regular communication with our partners in Bahir Dar University and the in-country work will resume at the earliest possible moment. In the meantime, alternative data collection approaches for Ethiopia are being examined - and the data collection activities in Rwanda and Kenya are underway. its4land will also work the European Commission to develop longer term contingency plans should the situation not improve in the medium term. 
Missed Something? If you missed any earlier editions of the its4land monthly newsletter - you can get the full back catalogue here. Or, for more regular updates, keep an eye on and follow us on twitter.
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