Using Geographic Information System (GIS) to improve marine protected area management

07 January 2008 | News story

A training course on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, My World GIS, to support Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) ecosystem management was co-sponsored by IUCN Viet Nam in November 2007 at Nui Chua National Park in Ninh Thuan province.

As an activity under the capacity building component of the MPAs network in Viet Nam, this training course was jointly organized with the Viet Nam Institute on Fisheries Economic and Planning (VIFEP) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) framework agreement with IUCN. Twenty three representatives from MPAs in Viet Nam together with relevant institutes and government agencies attended the GIS training.

My World GIS provides detailed data about a geographical area which helps MPA managers make informed decisions about effective environmental management practices. Upon completion of the training, 94% of the participants met the course’s expectations and are now able to use the GIS software to better manage MPAs. Specifically, this includes water quality monitoring, promoting sustainable tourism development, accurately displaying a project area, and clearly demarcating MPA boundaries.  

The MPA management capacity building programme was initiated under the partnership between IUCN Viet Nam, VIFEP, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), NOAA and Conservation International. The programme is designed to meet management training needs for the South China Sea region, including Viet Nam, Southern China and Cambodia.

The Viet Nam MPA Network was established in June 2006 and represents an important step in improving MPA management in Viet Nam. A range of training courses have been conducted for MPA Network members under the management capacity building programme. In addition to the recent GIS course these include modules on effective MPA management, basic group facilitation, management and conflict resolution skills that are needed in working with local communities, and sustainable tourism planning in MPAs.

The next training course coordinated by the MPA Network will be on sustainable fisheries and MPA certification and is scheduled to be held in April.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.