Friday, August 21, 2009

How to find a Hurricane

Well, there are a few good sources including the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) with decent presentation, useful charts and downloadable GIS data, and the more colourful Weather Underground, but the best visualisation that I've seen recently must be the MSNBC, Bing-powered, Stamen-designed Hurricane Tracker.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Belize NSDI

Belize National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
With thanks to Marion Cayetano, Galen University

As reported in the news and on the GSDI LAC and the GEOSS Caribe mailing lists, Belize's effort to build an NSDI aims to "foster national development by promoting national competitiveness and productivity". That unusual statement puts it well - an SDI isn't just an ideal, it's part of any modern country's infrastructure.

Belize has experience with GIS. Its first use of GIS and Remote Sensing was during the late eighties to monitor crop potential and harvesting of Sugar Cane. In the nineties it established a GIS-equipped Land Information Centre (LIC).

This 1st NSDI conference was very well attended. About 25 organizations from the public, private, academic and private sectors attended the conference which was held at the San Ignacio Hotel, San Ignacio Town on the 29th & 30th of July. The objective of the conference was to prepare the participants for the development of an implementation plan for the Belize National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The group now intends to complete a draft implementation plan by the end of Oct 2009 and to present it for discussion at the 2nd NSDI Conference already scheduled for the week of the 16th of Nov 2009.

A project implementation team made up of representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Galen University, NASA, CATHALAC, the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, and Belize Environmental Resource Data System (BERDS) is responsible for compiling the draft plan. Four working groups have been established within this team, focusing on:
  1. Data quality and data standards, including metadata creation,
  2. Infrastructure design and implementation
  3. Data ownership and accessibility
  4. System maintenance and oversight
The draft plan will address the tangible and intangible components of the SDI ... including policies and procedures, data quality and data documentation standards, and portals and data access options. The ultimate objective is to get the NSDI off the ground and operational in the next 21 months. Good hunting Belize!