Dr Karen S Murwira is the Director of the Geo-Information and Remote Sensing Institute (GRSI) at SIRDC since 2006.
Her major contribution has been disseminating remote sensing and GIS applications in various sectors through training including:
High-Performance Computing, Operational Geo-databases, WebGIS, Information System Validation, Environmental Evaluation, Hydrological Modelling, developing a Flood Warning System, 3D Geology Modelling, High-resolution Satellite Image Remote Sensing, Spatially Enabling Databases, Habitat Modeling, Project Evaluation, setting up GIS units in organizations, as well as Customized Training.
To be able to accomplish all this, Dr Murwira made sure that GRSI was well equipped with modern computers, GPS receivers and a satellite image receiving station.
Dr Murwira started her scientific career in 1995 as a Research Scientist at the National Remote Sensing Centre in the Directorate of Forestry of Namibia where she was responsible for research activities in the fields of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing.
Dr Murwira is one of the pioneers of Hyperspectral Remote Sensing. As early as 1996, while doing her M Sc degree, she undertook an airborne hyperspectral remote sensing campaign of the Masai Mara grassland while at the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC).
She then obtained a Ph D degree in Hyperspectral Remote Sensing at ITC and Wageningen University in 2003. Consequently she was engaged to transfer her acquired knowledge and skills to The Netherlands Ministry of Transport and Water Affairs where she applied an Expert System she developed to map the Dune Vegetation.
In Zimbabwe and before joining SIRDC, Dr Murwira first worked as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Department of Geography and Environmental Science. At UZ, she developed and delivered new courses in geographical information systems, remote sensing and spatial data analysis as well as supervising B Sc (Hon) and M Sc students.
To date Dr Murwira has authored a number of papers in international journals and books. A highlight of her publishing career is her key contribution to the Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing Journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing entitled “Mapping coastal vegetation using an expert system and hyperspectral imagery”.
Based on this publication, Dr Murwira was awarded the third place in the John J Davidson's award for the most practical paper in 2005. She also reviews various international journals on Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing.