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The African Water Resource Database (AWRD) is a set of data and custom-designed tools, combined in a geographic information system (GIS) analytical framework aimed at facilitating responsible inland aquatic resource management with a specific focus on inland fisheries and aquaculture. It thus provides a valuable instrument to promote food security. The AWRD data archive includes an extensive collection of datasets covering the African continent, including: surface waterbodies, watersheds, aquatic species, rivers, political boundaries, population density, soils, satellite imagery and many other physiographic and climatological data. To display and analyse the archival data, it also contains a large assortment of new custom applications and tools programmed to run under version 3 of the ArcView GIS software environment (ArcView 3.x). The database allows integration of different types of information into a cohesive program that, because of its visual nature, is easy to understand and interpret. The AWRD publication is organized in two parts to inform readers who may be at varying levels of familiarity with GIS and with the benefits of the AWRD. The first part describes the AWRD and is divided into two main sections. The first presents a general overview and is addressed to administrators and managers while the second is written for professionals in technical fields. The second part is a how to supplement and includes a technical manual for spatial analysts and a workbook for university students and teachers. The primary AWRD interface, tool-sets and data integral to the function of the AWRD are distributed in two DVD's accompanying part 2 of this publication.
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