Grassland Live Fractional Cover Map Creation and Geographic Information System (GIS) Analysis for Rangeland Management Supporting Kenya Northern Rangelands Trust Conservancies

Open-File Report 2021-1001
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development
By:  and 



The handbooks and synchronized MP4 recordings provide hands-on instruction for creating and analyzing vegetation live fractional cover (LFC) maps. The methods and protocols used in the instruction materials follow those developed and recorded in Rangoonwala and Ramsey (2019). The LFC mapping and geographic information system (GIS) analyses highlight the consortium of rangeland conservancies covering the semiarid central region of Kenya (approximately 44,000 square kilometers).

The instruction materials are separated into two parts: processing and map-product creation based on remote-sensing images and GIS analyses of the created maps for rangeland management. The image processing is conducted using the advanced and professional software package SeNtinels Application Platform (SNAP) that is supported and maintained by the European Space Agency. SNAP is a free image analyses software package available for download. It is largely icon driven but offers simple to advanced program inserts and batch processing. The GIS analyses are conducted using the software package Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS), another free and downloadable software. QGIS is compatible with numerous software, including the Esri suite of ArcGIS software and database structure. The image data includes both high-spatial-resolution Sentinel-2 optical data and Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Both datasets are freely available via a public portal that is maintained by the European Space Agency.

The image-processing instruction handbook covers all aspects of acquiring and processing satellite-image data and importing vector-data sources into SNAP. The GIS analysis handbook covers final creation of map products from the maps created in SNAP and creation of GIS procedures in QGIS that are needed to manage the rangeland resources for wildlife and pastoral grazing. Although focused on the Kenyan conservancies and their semiarid environment, the processing methods and procedures are applicable for similar environments and management, and to a large part, even for integrated mapping and GIS functionality of any managed landscape resource.

The instruction handbooks are synchronized to MP4 training videos created with U.S. Geological Survey-licensed Camtasia 9 software.

The workbook and MP4 video combinations are suitable for a single user or a workshop setting.

Suggested Citation

Rangoonwala, A., and Ramsey, E., III, 2021, Grassland live fractional cover map creation and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis for rangeland management supporting Kenya Northern Rangelands Trust Conservancies: U.S. Geological Survey Report 2021–1001, 59 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Section I—Image Processing Training Workshop
  • Reference
  • Section II—Geographic Information System Training Workshop
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Grassland live fractional cover map creation and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis for rangeland management supporting Kenya Northern Rangelands Trust Conservancies
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1001
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211001
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description Report: v, 59 p.; 2 Companion Files
Country Kenya
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details