Friday, November 20, 2009

BIOKAVANGO Community of Practice Luncheon

This month's BIOKAVANGO Community of Practice luncheon was given a brief talk by Mr. Kent Burger on the the ongoing development of the Okavango Delta Information System (ODIS).
The presenter stated that The Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC) has participated in the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP) as the custodian of the Okavango Delta Information System (ODIS).
ODIS was envisioned to provide access to key datasets to support sustainable use and management of the Okavango Delta through a map interface and thus stimulate cooperation between stakeholders. It is a collaborative effort between HOORC and government institutions with a stake in the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site (ODRS) as well as some non-governmental and community-based organisations. ODIS stakeholders have been participating in updating and contributing environmental datasets covering the ODRS and Ngamiland District. Furthermore, he mentioned that the original release of ODIS has faced some challenges due to it not being accessible via the Internet. This has hampered the ease through which stakeholders can update their portions of the dataset and contribute new data. Various users from government departments had to be trained first to enable them to use the ODIS application. However, when new users came into those departments, resources were not always available to train them.
In his conclusion, he stated that the expanded vision of ODIS is dependent on the completion of the Okavango Delta Management Plan. Current discussions envision ODIS moving towards the foundation of a knowledge management system that incorporates not only spatial data, but includes a mechanism to catalogue , and develop spatial reference reports and tabular data during the preparation of the ODMP as well as other datasets catalogues by HOORC Library. The evolution of GIS and improvement in connectivity, provides an opportunity for ODIS’s limited GIS functionality to be enhanced. This may be achieved through the use of GIS server technology which will potentially allow HOORC’s current GIS Analysts and Technicians to serve datasets, custom maps, simple models and applications to users with limited, or no knowledge of the GIS technology utilized to produce and maintain these information products. This capability potentially opens up through a browser interface the wealth of spatially referenced data about the Okavango Delta to a broad audience that previously required users to receive training in the early version of the ODIS application.

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