Implementing an Organisational Spatial Data Infrastructure: What works and what doesnt.


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Implementing an organisational SDI: what works and what doesn’t

Keith Wishart*, Mike Brown** and Peter Vodden***
*Esri (UK), Aylesbury, UK, * NERC, Lancaster, UK, *** CEH, Lancaster, UK

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is the UK's Centre of Excellence for integrated research in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. As part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), they provide National Capability based on innovative, independent and interdisciplinary science and long-term environmental monitoring, forming an integral part of NERC's vision and strategy. CEH are a major custodian of environmental data, including 20 million records of 12,000 species occurring across Britain and Ireland, as well as records of over 50,000 station years of daily and monthly river flow data, derived from over 1,300 gauging stations throughout the UK.

In 2009, CEH launched its Information Gateway. The Information Gateway is the tool for finding, viewing and accessing data resources held by the Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC) and other data providers in the UK and beyond. The CEH Information Gateway is a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) consisting of a rich Data Catalogue that describes the nature and scope of CEH data resources. Users of the Information Gateway can discover CEH data resources, view details about each resource, view spatial data using a map viewer, create a personal account and download data. The Information Gateway is implemented using SDI technology from Esri and its partners.

In this paper we will describe the implementation and ongoing plans for the Information Gateway addressing not just the technology and standards adopted but also outlining the broader organisational, cultural and economic (benefits case) aspects. Specifically, our focus will be on what worked and what didn’t work in practice for CEH with the objective of helping other organisations plan and implement their SDI’s, create governance models, raise awareness amongst users and stakeholders and realise true economic benefits.

Key to the Information Gateway's success was a series of awareness-raising events with users although these also highlighted cultural barriers to data sharing amongst the scientific community. We will discuss approaches to changing the mind-set of data users to promote wider data sharing.

We will also discuss the design and functionality of the Information Gateway and how initial approaches to a rich, ‘value-added’ interface proved to be more than required in the first instance but have paved the way for long-term development of the Gateway.

We will highlight the organisational benefits derived from this work which go far beyond the Gateway itself. The Gateway has been an integral part of developing a robust data and information management culture throughout the organisation.

Finally, we will discuss future plans for extending the Gateway beyond traditional forms of digital data

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Implementing an Organisational Spatial Data Infrastructure: What works and what doesnt.

  1. 1. 2011 INSPIRE Conference<br />Implementing an Organisational SDI: What Works and What Doesn’t<br />Keith Wishart, Esri (UK), Mike Brown, NERC and Peter Vodden, CEH<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />2<br />The Authors<br />Our Presentation:<br />Keith Wishart<br />Public Sector Strategist, Esri (UK)<br /><ul><li> Raise awareness of the real organisational issues in delivering SDI
  3. 3. Present a leading UK SDI
  4. 4. Offer a framework for evaluating SDI</li></ul>Mike Brown<br />Programme Manager, NERC<br />Peter Vodden<br />Centre for Ecology & Hydrology<br />Our message: “Go Beyond INSPIRE”<br />
  5. 5. The Team<br />Centre for Ecology and Hydrology<br />The UK’s centre of excellence for integrated research in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere<br />Major custodian of Environmental Data. 20 million records covering:<br />12,000 species across Britain and Ireland<br />50,000 station years of river flow from 1,300 gauging stations<br />Esri (UK), part of the global Esri network providing market leading GIS and SDI solutions<br />con terra, Esri (UK) Business Partner providing solutions for building SDIs with a strong focus on spatial standards<br />3<br />
  6. 6. The Countryside Survey<br />Challenge<br />To reduce the time required for the publication of its field-based survey results by 50%<br />Benefits of GIS solution<br />Digitally mapped 591 separate 1km2 plots<br />Reduced data capture time from months to days<br />Efficiency savings of over £700,000 on this survey alone<br />Case Study available<br />4<br />
  7. 7. The Challenge<br />Make CEH’s data more accessible to the public and easier to share within the scientific community<br />INSPIRE and NERC Science Strategy<br />More joined up working<br />Cross-discipline access to data<br />5<br />
  8. 8. The Information Gateway<br />6<br />
  9. 9. 7<br />
  10. 10. 8<br />
  11. 11. 9<br />
  12. 12. Technology & Information<br /><ul><li>Prototyping & Options Appraisal Workshops
  13. 13. Assess full level of support for each option
  14. 14. SDI Technology from Esri (UK) and con terra
  15. 15. Partnering Approach
  16. 16. Multiple search methods
  17. 17. Automated metadata management
  18. 18. Metadata Extensions
  19. 19. Focus on Services (rather than the portal itself)
  20. 20. Metadata limitations
  21. 21. Users weren’t ready for some of the features</li></ul>10<br />
  22. 22. Organisation & Culture<br /><ul><li>Addressing the scientific data sharing culture
  23. 23. Different levels of data sharing throughout the community
  24. 24. “My data”
  25. 25. Gain buy-in through workshops
  26. 26. Data sharing linked to citations
  27. 27. Data Management Plan
  28. 28. Projects now have to have a Data Management Plan
  29. 29. CEH is learning future data management requirements</li></ul>11<br />
  30. 30. Benefits<br />Better view of CEH’s data for external stakeholders and internal management<br />Automated approach to metadata and data management<br />Developing a Data Curation Approach across NERC<br />Reducing ingestion and curation costs (currently 37% of Data Centre costs)<br />Seamless integration with<br />UK GEMINI 2.1 compliance<br />Going beyond INSPIRE compliance<br />12<br /><br />
  31. 31. Potential Cost Benefit<br />Costs<br />Benefits<br />Delivering ROI or Cost:Benefit ratio of 1:4 is reasonable, achievable and defensible<br /><br />
  32. 32. Lessons Learnt<br />INSPIRE is not a spectator sport<br />Success is measured by how you deal with organisational and cultural issues<br />Technology and standards are always going to be moving<br />Go beyond INSPIRE – its more than a compliance exercise<br />14<br />
  33. 33. A Framework for evaluating SDI<br />15<br />Architecture<br />Data<br />Standards<br />Metadata<br />Services<br />Search<br />Costs<br />Silos<br />Compliance<br />Buy-in<br />ROI<br />Stakeholders<br />Take-up<br />Barriers<br />Value<br />
  34. 34. Further Information<br />Esri Stand in Cromdale Hall<br />CEH Case Studies available<br />Spatial Gateway<br />Countryside Survey<br />Video demo of Information Gateway<br /><br />Twitter: @keith_wishart<br />16<br />
  35. 35. Thank you<br />