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This presentation was prepared during a Technical Consultation by the Land and Water Development Division of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, held on December 15-17, 1997, in Rome, Italy. The Land and Water Development Division is launching a six-year program designed to prepare useful land and water resource information systems for application in developing countries. This presentation was prepared by Dr Maidment as one of the invited experts, and is based on similar systems being developed by he and his research team at the University of Texas at Austin for application in the United States. Dr Maidment and his research team have been working with FAO for several years on applications of GIS to water resources development in Africa.