SCGIS 2017 Scholarship Program
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Johanna Prüssmann (EFN), World WIldlife Fund, Colombia

*-Organization name: WWF Colombialoading....
*-Organization street address: Carrera 35 # 4A – 25 Barrio San Fernando – Cali
*-Country: Colombia
*-Work phone: +57(2)5582577 ext. 115
*-Work fax: +57(2)5582577
*-Main email:
*-Scholar Email:
*-Organization Web site URL if any:

*-ORGANIZATION’S WORK: For more than half a century, WWF (World Wildlife Fund or World Wide Fund for Nature) has been working to protect the world's species and natural places, pushing for a more sustainable world. By working with others (local communities, governments, business, other NGO’s), we are defining new ways of working that will make a difference at a scale that matters to help redefine humanity’s relationship with the planet.

We have a presence in over 100 countries across the world, and our efforts have evolved from localized efforts in favor of a single species and individual habitats to an ambitious strategy to preserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development across the planet.
WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF around the world focuses all its efforts toward achieving six major goals - in the areas of Forests, Oceans, Wildlife, Food, Climate & Energy, and Water - and on three key drivers of environmental problems - Markets, Finance, and Governance. loading....

In order to achieve this mission, WWF broadly focuses its efforts on two broad areas:
--- Biodiversity: To ensure that the earth web of life stays healthy and vibrant for generations to come.
---Footprint: Reducing the negative impacts of human activity - our ecological footprint - and that the use of natural resources required for life are managed sustainably and equitably.

More specifically, WWF Colombia’s vision for the next ten years, is to be a conservation organization that inspires and rallies commitments and actions from civil society, productive sectors and government, aiming to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future facing changing climate conditions in Colombia and surrounding regions.

ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION: I work within the Conservation department, in the Geographic Analysis area as an Ecosystem Services and Climate Analyst. My main work focuses on building and supplying information regarding Ecosystem Services provision of national and regional landscapes and their susceptibility to climate change. Also, I develop Systematical Conservation Planning exercises to identify conservation opportunity areas.

History of your personal work in conservation and GIS:
I started learning GIS during my Master’s, where my main goal was to deliver a geomorphological map of the Urabá coastal region (northwestern Colombia), extending over 75.000 ha at a scale of 1:10.000. This information is a very important baseline for tracking geodynamical changes related to exposure to coastal erosion, as this is one of my country’s most affected areas by this phenomenon, as well as being very important to regional and national economy due to its vocation for banana cultivation and exportation. In the meantime, I started working as a lecturer at our regional university (the Antioquia University), teaching several different subjects, such as oceanography, geology, geography and cartography, where I always encouraged my students to learn GIS and held practical sessions in order to accomplish this goal. I also started doing consultancy regarding coastal vulnerability and developing 3D digital elevation models for sustainable infrastructure projects and research. After graduating, I continued working as a teacher at several of the most prestigious universities in the country, as well as being a consultant, mostly modelling ecosystem for several NGOs. That’s when I started working with WWF. After one year and a half doing consultancy for them, I was given the opportunity to join the organization as a staff member. My first task within the organization was to structure and execute a vulnerability analysis for the Amazon Biome in South America. This was a particularly big challenge, which I tackled with all my soul, and it is great to be able to now see the products almost finished and being put to use into the planning, establishment and management of current and future protected areas.
You may have a glance of my trajectory previous to WWF in the following link: (Photo Right: free diving to maintain an underwater sensor)

your connection to the local SCGIS chapter: So far, I have not been very active in our region’s SCGIS chapter, but I plan to take a more active role from now on. I do manage a Facebook group with more than 2000 members, called “SIG Colombia”. It was conceived as a way to gather people interested in the geomatics field for my home country, but now we also have participants from other countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and even India. Many users have been taking active roles loading....and sharing information on courses, tutorials, source of information, and new developments.

What is most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do:
My work is unique in many ways. I do not only stick to making maps, but translate and complement them into useful information for decision makers and stakeholders through beautiful maps and charts that join to form infographics. I am able to deliver strong and appealing messages. My diverse background also allows me to be able to integrate a lot of information from different disciplines. I am very systematic and creative in my work, too. I like to think about data visualization as a kind of art, which allows me to exercise the left side of my brain, too.
These skills were put to the test in my latest project, the Amazon Biome Vulnerability analysis. You may find an example of my approach to data analysis in the publication of an atlas, containing all the spatial information used within the analysis in this link. Please keep in mind that it is still under development, but is worth a look.loading....
The most challenging part for me is to not be able to automatize several processes, which robs me of precious time. I have also found challenging the inability of ArcGIS to generate nice charts and reports that mirror the symbology pallette used in the maps. I think this is an area where the software could be greatly improved. For now, I do most of the “dashboarding” in MS Excel.

WHY are you interested in SCGIS? : I have heard from many colleagues about the SCGIS Global Scholarship Program, as being the most prestigious in the GIS realm. These are exciting days indeed, where technology is now able to leap in a matter of days, and thus you have got to stay on top of your game. I think the whole program, including the training module and the attendance to both conferences, is a one in a lifetime opportunity to gather new knowledge, to learn about new techniques, procedures, data source, and so on, not to mention the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share many of my own interests. These kind of experiences are mind-openers, which allow me to be more efficient and creative, to be also able to think outside the box, so than I can face challenges and solve problems with more ease, and deliver higher-quality products.


Examples of my work:


Copyright © ESRI and each respective author/contributor listed herein.
compilation : Charles Convis, ESRI Conservation Program, May 2007 & 2017
Send your comments to: ecp2 at esri dot com