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An example of an orthophoto (DDO®) overlaid with contour lines similar to the data that COWI will produce for Malawi and Mozambique.
COWI won the assignment of mapping the watershed line between the two African countries in an international tender by German Development Cooperation GIZ. The project supports the border programme of the African Union in its endeavour to demarcate all African borders by 2017.
Only about a third of the boundaries between African countries are clearly defined. The African Union (AU) states that the unclear demarcation poses great potential for conflict, especially when natural resources are discovered in the border regions. Poorly defined borders are a threat to peace and security.
The aim of the project is to re-affirm the border between Malawi and Mozambique and thereby contribute to the overall goal of conflict prevention in African border areas. In the old colonial treaty, the watershed constituted the border. Therefore, as a point of departure, the watershed line requires re-determination for future use as basis demarcation of the border. The governments in both countries are active players in the project and use the orthophotos and digital height data that COWI produces in the process.
Chief Market Manager Kilian Ulm stresses the complexity and importance of the project.
"Due to the terrain, only aerial data can be used for the border determination. The complexity and constraint of the assignment make it a challenging job. A job that I am convinced COWI is the best of doing because of our long-term experience in Africa as well as our local anchorage in the country," Ulm explains.
New equipment for an important job
Africa is a strategic important area for COWI and numerous large projects within several of COWI's service areas, including mapping, have been kicked off in recent years.
The project team has bought a complete new instrument for the assignment, which will speed up the process of collecting data.
"This assignment is very important to us and as in all other projects we are making a great effort to complete it in the best possible way. Our new equipment makes it possible to collect both images and laser data during one single flight session, which would not have been possible before," Ulm says and continues:
"With this equipment we will be able to support our customers, specifically from the civil engineering domain, much better and faster in the future."
COWI will conduct an airborne laser scanning also known as LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and aerial photography for the purpose of orthophoto, digital terrain model and high resolution contour line production.