Two IWMI staff have received a top national award for their work in mapping wetlands in Sri Lanka. Alankara Ranjith and Sarath Gunasinghe of IWMI’s GIS (Geographic Information System), Remote Sensing (RS) and Data Management unit received the ‘President’s Award for Scientific Publications 2007, 2008, 2009’, for co-authoring the research paper, ‘Semi‐automated methods for mapping wetlands using Landsat ETM+ and SRTM data.’ They received the award from Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister for Science and Technology, at a ceremony held in Sri Lanka on 17th January 2014.

Ranjith Alankara receives his award from Minister for Science and Technology, Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka
Sarath
Sarath Gunasinghe receives his award from Minister for Science and Technology, Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka

Their research developed a methodology for mapping wetlands and was published in 2008 in the International Journal of Remote Sensing’ Volume 29, Issue 24 (insert link). This methodology was based on the diverse landscapes of the Ruhuna river basin in Sri Lanka. As the study required wetlands with varied elevations or topography the river basin was the ideal choice: it has elevations that range from sea shores to hilly areas, and low to very steep slopes, and its wetlands are both rainfed as well as irrigated agricultural land. The research used satellite images from the (Landsat Enhanced Thematic mapper plus (ETM+) (insert link) landsat.usgs.gov and the Space Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission digital elevation model (SRTM DEM) (insert link) srtm.usgs.gov. (The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) is creator of the most detailed map of the Earth’s topography ever made to date).

The newly developed methodology can be used to map wetlands in any other region in Sri Lanka and is a useful method to ascertain changes over time within any wetland.

The presidential award is organized by the National Research Council of Sri Lanka to recognize outstanding research in a variety of fields in Sri Lanka.

Read the award-winning research paper: Semiautomated methods for mapping wetlands using Landsat ETM+ and SRTM data

by Renuka Jeya Raj

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Renuka Jeya Raj is Communications Specialist/Writer at IWMI

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