Discussion » What is the biggest roadblock to improving data management in the OECS?
Please share your thoughts on challenges we face to improve data management in the OECS?
I think that very often the true value of a robust data collection, monitoring and management strategy is not fully understood or appreciated. It seems as though the approach thus far as it relates to the collation of geo-spatial and hydro-met data has been somewhat ad hoc with little consideration as to how they contribute to a broader management strategy that would be needed to support the goal of disaster risk reduction. I think that sustainability of the effort can be partly achieved if a comprehensive strategy which highlights benefits and successes in a clear and concise way is endorsed by decision makers and policy makers. The obvious caveat is resources. However, a robust strategy should support more efficient resource allocation.
In agreement with Shawn I would further like to add that, in most if not all OECS island-states, data and information is often scattered across government ministries and the private sector with little or no knowledge of what exist. In building a resilient society, policy-makers and the public must have access to the right data and information to facilitate good and informed decisions. This very fact is what hampers data management in the OECS island-states. We need for policy makers to understand how import data is in making informed decision and take the “guess” out of decision making. The message of data management will bear fruit once the importance of data gets to the relevant authority.
Yes, I do agree with you Shawn and in particular with Dornet, about the importance of policy-makers in the equation, but lets move ahead and focus not so much on the roadblocks, but in our efforts/responsibility as part of a very important variable in the equation, and move ahead in setting the basis to improve data management / data sharing in-country, with the vision of the region as a whole.
So as technical professionals, lets use all opportunities at hand, starting with the implementation of GeoNode in-house and also take it to a regional level. Lets make it a success and ready for when the policy-makers realize their importance and need.
On the technical side, and to improve data management for local/regional integration, is important to mention:
- We need to have datasets with standardized map projections and ready for geonode uploading: all countries should be working if it have been not done so yet, in defining their national projection standards, and/or in the eventual case that different map projections are use within the country (due to special data needs), should request assistance to their land and surveys offices, and have define parameters for transformation to a common projection (e.g. WGS84). This will make an easy task to re-project and share datasets between government offices, and at the same time, once this roadblock is passed we will have an easier way forward to re-project to geonode native projection.
- We also need to have dataset standards, with common fields and name conventions for easier local/regional integration.
The two above mentioned are part of a long list of SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) topics to cover, but I think will be a good starting point if we manage to have this ready for the right moment.
Financial constraint and the policy and decision makers who may not be totally aware of the importance of Data Management. Though they are informed of its significance and benefits; they do agree, but yet nothing is done to get it started. And we know how politics could affect these decisions in the OECS.