“In today’s environment, hoarding knowledge ultimately erodes your power. If you know something very important, the way to get power is by actually sharing it.”
At CORDIO, we recently unearthed useful data during our data inventory exercise, collected almost a decade ago for a study on migrant fishers’ movement and fishing characteristics. The data comes in handy and at a time when we are in the process of developing new fishing pressure indicators for the Kenya coast!
Data management benefits are enormous but these are only realized through the deliberate application of data management processes. These can reveal new and unanticipated opportunities to interested parties.
With the onset of the 4th industrial revolution, big data are at the foundation of most current megatrends. Rapidly developing information technology demands a sharper focus on the way data are managed. But unfortunately, data management skills and knowledge in most institutions do not match these growing trends!
Multiple factors explain the gaps in data management skills, but key ones of interest to us are data hoarding, data scarcity, and data redundancy.
What are we doing to improve this situation?
At CORDIO, a project we have developed funded by NORAD seeks to develop a variety of integrated metrics including indicators on marine ecosystem services and how these link to the realization of the sustainable development goals. The ultimate goal of this project is to process data into information, and information into insight, with the hope of generating new knowledge on how we view and manage our marine resources. It is no doubt a data-hungry process!
Turning wounds into wisdom!
We planned the development of these indicators on an optimistic belief that data will be available. But this has been a painful and long task as we try to address underlying challenges related to data and its management. To resolve these, we have realized the need for conceptual consistency, compliance with technical data standards and addressing perceptions around data publication or data sharing.
On the horizon
To address all these, CORDIO has identified a series of activities for the next five years. To begin with, plans are underway to expand on the existing Marine Spatial Atlas for the Western Indian Ocean (MASPAWIO) established in early 2015, into a full-blown portal. The portal will integrate multiple other applications including ArcGIS story maps, Tableau data dashboards, Github repository and most importantly an Integrated Publishing Toolkit instance (IPT).
Outputs from the project will be pushed to end-users through existing regional and global resources such as Africa Marine Atlas, Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to maximize access to data from the WIO for multiple purposes.