Cathalac Story Based on Actual Data


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This is an actual example of a user story as it developed in a Facebook community around linked data and user participation

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Cathalac Story Based on Actual Data

  1. 1. Pat Cappelaere <> September 26, 2012 5:29 PMFwd: Thank you 8 Attachments, 712 KBFrom: "Emil Cherrington" <>Date: September 26, 2012 2:27:13 PM EDTHi Pat et al.,In terms of a story line for an example of how the intersection of remote sensing data and social mediahas impacted environmental management, here are the details to the previous story I mentioned:1. April 27, 2012: We noticed that the fire season had been picking up:2. May 1, 2012: Ecologist / GIS guru Jan Meerman photographs fires in the distance on Belize’sWestern Highway, confirming what the FIRMS data was indicating:
  2. 2. 3. May 6, 2012: As the fires continued, there was concern that many of the fires detected by FIRMSwere occurring in the ‘Central Belize Corridor,’ a wildlife corridor which had itself seen a higher thanaverage number of fires in 2011 following massive forest damage due to Hurricane Richard’s passageover that area in late October 2010:
  3. 3. 4. May 24, 2012 – After gap-filling Landsat-7 imagery that was captured on May 8, we provided thatimagery to the entire discussion group. Jan Meerman plot the along with the FIRMS hotspots to showthat fires had been used to clear a large area that was previously forest:
  4. 4. 5. And following the Landsat imagery and the FIRMS hotspot data, an overflight was alsoprogrammed by the Forest Department of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and SustainableDevelopment. One of the photographs taken on that overflight (same area in the Landsat-7 imageabove) shows a canal illegally dug through the protected area: June 4, 2012: Following the overflight, a team from the Forest Department, the NGO Panthera, andthe University of Belize visited the protected area where the drainage ditch was being dug and filmedwhat they saw, demonstrating that the project – whose EIA was still being reviewed – was clearly
  5. 5. proceeding without any environmental clearance. (The video was taken a little over a week followingthe publication of the images above.) The developers cleared a mile-long strip of forest in a protectedarea that had been designated in 2010 as a corridor for jaguars and other wildlife: In the 1st screenshot below,that’s a worker standing in the extremely deep drainage ditch that was dug through the protected area.Here you can see the bulldozer at work doing excavation:
  6. 6. And here’s a snippet of the conversation that was generated following uploading of the video to thediscussion group. There were 53 comments on the video, spanning from the video’s upload on June 4to June 21.
  7. 7. And as you can follow part of the conversation above, what started as a number of threads in adiscussion group on Facebook first caught the attention of the environment ministry which was alertedto a developing situation, and then it gained momentum and made it to the news media. In early June2012, the company was issued a stop order by the Ministry, the story was published widely in themedia, there was a significant public outcry against the Spanish company doing the development, andthey issued a public apology and have been forced to pay a hefty $100,000 fee for breaking the law.In summary, without a doubt, remote sensing data [from NASA] was the trigger for all of it, and thediscussion group on the social network (Facebook) provided the medium by which information andupdates could be provided to a key segment of the public (i.e. environmental professionals).Emil