04-Nov-2009 -- We are a research team from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission on a field trip in Ethiopia together with our Kenyan partner, the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development and the Ethiopia Mapping Agency. One of our activities is to analyse land cover changes over time using Earth observing satellite images. Our team is focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. During this field mission we were comparing the information as derived from the satellite images with the current situation on the ground. The method is based on a systematic sampling approach where at each intersection of the 1 degree lines of latitude and longitude a sample will be located. The standard sample size is taken as 20*20 km around each intersection of the 1 degree lines of latitude and longitude. The Degree Confluence Project and its information is therefore very useful to this study.
Some of the sample sites we validated had already visited confluence points, some others had not been visited, but were even for us too difficult and/or time consuming to reach.
The confluence point 7N 39E was lying on our way from Shashemenē towards the Bale Mountains National Park and I was excited to hunt my second confluence point after having visited one just recently in Kenya. The road from Shashemenē towards the Bale mountains is under construction and I guess will stay like this for some years.
To reach the confluence point itself was actually fairly easy, even if no 'roads' in this area are mapped. We were using our satellite images and, of course, the GPS to navigate. We could drive as close as about 2 km from the confluence point, which was lying in the garden of a farmer family. The whole area is heavily cultivated, with just a few shrubs and trees. The owner of the garden on the confluence point came to see what we were doing and was a bit concerned about what we were doing, but our local guide explained our mission and we didn't have any problems, people were very friendly.
After the mandatory photos and a happy confluence point hunter, we continued towards Bale Mountains National Park.