The Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) formerly known as Kenya Rangeland Ecological Monitoring Unit (KREMU) was established in 1976 with funding from the Government of Kenya and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The unit was then under the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife with the main aim of monitoring the condition and trends of natural resources (mainly the vegetation cover, wildlife and livestock populations) in the Kenya rangelands using aerial ground sampling techniques, aerial survey and remote sensing application.
Over time, the scope of the UNIT was expanded. In 1982 the Government of Kenya and the World Bank funded the land use/cover mapping progamme for the high potential areas and the French Government funded forest cover mapping using SPOT satellite. The World Bank continued supporting the Department through the Agricultural Sector Management Programme (ASMP) until 1998. All the departments’ activities are today wholly funded by the Government of Kenya. Exceptions are a few projects co-sponsored by various local partners involved in environmental planning and management in the country.
- 1984 – KREMU began crop forecasting programme;
- 1987 – Installed Geographical Information System;
- 1988 – Became full-fledged department under the Ministry of Planning and National Development;
- 2002 – 2008: Moved to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; and
- 2008 – Present: Moved to the Ministry of Environment & Mineral Resources
Today, the scope of the department’s activities has increased tremendously with mandates to collect the geospatial data/information on most natural resources in Kenya with a view to monitoring changes over time and space. The data gathered is used in planning, Conservation and management of the said resources in various ministries and agencies of government and other users.