I was invited by gSmart Project (http://em-gsmart.zgis.net/) to spend a month in Al -Faraby National Kazakh University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, specifically at the Department of Geography, Land management and Cadastre at the Faculty of Geography and Environmental Sciences.
My experience in Almaty has been great. Staff at KazNU has been very hospitable. They welcome me at their facilities so I was researching during September 2014 on Model Builder in order to develop a tool which would be applied in flood risk assessment. Meanwhile I was working I was in contact with several personal staff at Geography department. They explained me some main geographical issues in Kazakhstan. I have to thank you to Mr. Salavat Duisenbayev (senior lecturer) to explained me the Aral Sea problem.
Also I am very grateful to Aizhan Assylbekova (Deputy chair of Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics on scientific-innovations works & international relationship), Nyussupova Gulnara (Head of department of Geography, Land management and Cadastre Dr.Geo.Sc., Professor) Indira Sarsenova, Shokparova Dana, Kairova Shnar and Erkin Kakimzhanov (senior lecturers), Akylbek Bekkuiliev and Zhandos Mukaliev (assistants) to make my stay more confortable.
Although I was working at the Faculty of Geography also visited the Institute of Geography of Kazakhstan. I exposed to their head and some staff from the GIS laboratory some of me expertise in floods analysis related to human being actions which increases hazard. There were a interesting feedback so we agreed to collaborate in the future!
Modelbuilder extension is a very powerful tool to create new geoprocessing tools. I recommend to everybody who work in GIS to apply it their work. For me to use this extension means a before and an after.
Almaty is a very interesting city. It is big but very easy to have long walks all over the city centre. I specially liked to walk along Tole bi Street and get Staroy Ploshadi Park, then I enjoyed to turn off to visit the Panfilov park and Zelyoni (Green) Bazaar. I specially like to talk with their citizens, they was amazed to talk with a guy coming from so far away and I also was amazed of meeting people from a place that I never thought to visit in my life!. It was an incredible experience.