The Society is pleased to announce the Transcaucasian Expedition team as the recipients of the 2016 RGS-IBG Land Rover Bursary. The team will spend six months using GIS technology to survey off-road routes and develop in real-time the resources to hike a 1,500km backcountry trail across Armenia and Georgia.
The Transcaucasian Expedition team, who set off today from the Society’s headquarters in London, will create the first long-distance hiking trail across Georgia and Armenia (the Lesser Caucasus mountain range).
Working with local partners and the Transcaucasian Trail Association, the two leaders of the project, Tom Allen and Alessandro Mambelli, aim to improve access to the outdoors in the Caucasus region for both local hikers and outdoor professionals and the international community of travellers, hikers and geographers.
Access to the Caucasus region’s dramatic natural landscapes currently remains difficult due to a lack of formal trails and recent, reliable mapping.
The team will use a specially-modified Land Rover Defender to explore and survey Georgia and Armenia’s informal network of off-road routes to create the 1,500km hiking trail. On a daily basis, Tom and Alessandro will use Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to gather data on the largely-uncharted network of off-road car tracks, logging roads and informal trails through the most geographically significant parts of the region.
Dr Rita Gardner CBE, Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said:
“The Society is delighted to be supporting, in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, the Transcaucasian Expedition through our 2016 RGS-IBG Land Rover Bursary.
“It is important that people have opportunities to understand places near and far – their cultures, environments and landscapes. Opening up this long distance hiking trail, working with local communities, will enable more people to experience the area, more safely. I hope it will enhance geographical knowledge of the Caucasus and its outstanding landscapes among both travellers and scientists, and benefit the local communities”.