The United Nations African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTE-E) embarked on a 3-Day training program titled “Introduction to Python training for Geoscientists” for its technical Staff and Postgraduate students offering Remote Sensing and GIS, at the Information and Communication Unit (ICU) Hall, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on the 28th of March, 2023. It was organized to enhance the productivity of members of staff in their research work, especially in data analysis.
In the opening remark, the Executive Director of UN-ARCSSTE-E, Professor Babatunde Rabiu, welcomed everyone and encouraged them to utilize maximally, the knowledge acquired from the training. He reiterated the importance of working as a team which could foster international cooperation. Citing himself as an example, he urged the participants to be positive and take advantage of every moment. The Executive Director expressed his desire of reading the publications of his scientists in international journals. Likewise, Mrs Lami Fadiora (Deputy Director, Admin & Finance) commented that the program is not just for the present but for the future and encouraged the participants especially the scientists among them, to build up on the training while Dr Omowumi Alabi (Deputy Director/ Head of Academic Programmes) appreciated the Executive Director for ensuring that all the technical staff of the Centre participated in the program and encouraged them to learn and make good use of the opportunity provided.
The instructor, Dr. Ogunjo is an educator and researcher at the Federal University of Technology, Akure,(FUTA) Nigeria. He is a Physicist with a passion for advanced education and groundbreaking exploration.
He is experienced in the Nigerian advanced education system with skills in fine climate studies, complex systems, LaTeX, MATLAB, and Python.
The first day of training encompassed the basics of Python programming language and an introduction to cloud computing. Dr. Ogunjo emphasized that the goal of the training was to stimulate the interest of the participants in Python programming for data analysis with applications in geoscience and climate study. He also shared with them the application of Python programming in predicting weather conditions and determining air pollution. Likewise, he stated one of the advantages of cloud computing was the ability to work on heavy workloads with free data, diverse collaboration and automatic storage.
The participants were introduced to some Python-based platforms such as Wekeo, Planetary Computer Hub, Kaggle, Google Colab etc. The trainer encouraged the participants, especially the data scientists/engineers or programmers to have a GitHub program, similar to an online Curriculum Vitae (CV) which creates opportunities.
During the session on the second day, the participants were instructed on the use of packages in Python programming language which includes Panda, Numpy, Scipy, and Xarray which are used to analyze data, interpret data and plot graphs. This session was more of the participants familiarizing themselves with the programming environment and experimenting with new variables to boost their understanding of the programming concept.
On the third day, the participants, previously grouped into teams, thirteen (13) in all, were given the opportunity to make a presentation on various subject matters, utilizing their newly acquired skills in Python programming and cloud computing. Each team presented their work to the Executive Director through a Zoom meeting.
The presentations included time series of 200 years of Sunspot Data, time series of rainfall in Sahel, analysis of COVID-19 cases, noise intensity, river discharge in Nigeria, Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, an analysis of Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the environment and so on. The Director commended their efforts and encouraged them to improve on the knowledge acquired.
Altogether, the training, though challenging, was inspiring and enlightening. The coordinator of short courses, Dr Buba Felix appreciated Dr Ogunjo for his time and assured the Staff of the Centre that more trainings would be organized to ensure an upward slope in development and advancement in their various fields.