UPDATE September 2011

By natalie.epler | Mon, 5 Dec 2011 - 15:44

In the follow-on of the VALID Round Table in May 2011 at the seventh International Symposium on Geo-information for Disaster Management (Gi4DM) in Antalya, the project has gained considerable scientific support. VALID (The Value of Geo-Information for Disaster and Risk Management) is planned as another joint publication of the JBGIS (Joint Board of Geospatial Information Societies) and UNOOSA. The intention is to produce a publication to give evidence of the economic, humanitarian and organizational benefits which can be realized by applying geoinformation to disaster management, based on analyses of representative cases, and on expert stakeholder assessment. A publication to this end seems the next logical step following the previous joint ISPRS/UNOOSA publication “Geoinformation for Disaster and Risk Management – Examples and Best Practices” (http://www.un-spider.org/about/portfolio/publications/jbgis-unoosa-booklet).

At two meetings of the VALID editorial group in Munich and Stuttgart, chaired by Professor Orhan Altan of Istanbul Technical University, and Dr. Robert Backhaus, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, increased interest of the scientific community in the VALID project work was reported and discussed. This includes the JBGIS member societies, but also IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics), URSI (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale), and EuroSDR (European Spatial Data Research). EuroSDR as well as the GeoUnions in the framework of ICSU (International Council for Science) will be informed on VALID in more detail at upcoming meetings in Udine and Rome, respectively.

Orhan Altan, in his character as chairman of the JBGIS Ad Hoc Committee on Risk and Disaster Management, has meanwhile invited the member organizations to nominate contact persons for VALID who will constitute a network for more specific scientific and technical cooperation and support. The VALID editorial group could also welcome a new member, Professor John Trinder from the University of New South Wales, Australia, an internationally recognized spatial information expert who has already supported the work on the ISPRS/UNOOSA “ Best Practices Booklet”.

A major pillar of the methodology approach in VALID is stakeholder feedback, conceived as a systematic way to collect the explicit and tacit knowledge of the global expert community about the benefits which can be attributed to specific geoinformation products and services with regard to operational and strategic aspects of disaster management. In the essence, a reference portfolio of representative geodata products and information systems is described in terms of major user-relevant features, such as scale, accuracy, areal coverage, spatial resolution, thematic content, timeliness, repetition frequency, accesss, data format and standardization. The resulting technical profiles will be communicated on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal to the global user community, together with a template for standardized appraisal.

The global stakeholder community has been involved already in the selection of the reference portfolio. To this end, a web-based poll was carried out on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal, where all stakeholders, i.e. end users, providers or value adders of geoinformation, were given the opportunity to identify the 10 most important geodata products on a list containing 51 items. These items had been identified before from the JBGIS/UNOOSA “Best Practices Booklet” and from the Space Application Matrix on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal. The poll was open for registration from 4 May till 5 June 2011, and the call for participation was disseminated also via e-mail distribution by UNGIWG/UN-SPIDER, ISPRS, and attendees of the Gi4DM VALID Round Table, among them the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

The poll results highlighted the stakeholders’ concern about geoinformation products and services supporting prevention and mitigation as well as response action with emphasis on flood, drought, earthquake, and fire disasters, and will be published in more detail on the UN-SPIDER portal in due course. The reference portfolio for user appraisal is currently under preparation, together with the appraisal template which will address strategic aspects of efficiency and public acceptance of plans and policies, support of superregional consistency and cooperation, reduction of losses in public economy, and support of preventive strategies, as well as operational aspects regarding humanitarian aid, health care, critical infrastructure and security. The web-based appraisal is foreseen to be started in January 2012.