Development of a Geospatial Framework

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REGIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE - WALL

DEVELOPMENT OF A GEOSPATIAL FRAMEWORK
TO IMPLEMENT A REGIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE (RSDI)
IN CARICOM
(Ninth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas, United Nations, New York, August, 2009).

August, 2009

Harold Wall
IDB/UNFPA Project Coordinator
Regional Statistics
CARICOM Secretariat

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REGIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE - WALL

Abstract
Almost all human activities take place on land. In fact, human existence is almost impossible without this resource (Ramlal, 2001). As the effects of global climate change are becoming more destructive in small-island states in the Caribbean, Governments are becoming aware of the need to effectively manage this finite resource and its accompanying attribute data. The effective management of land and its resources requires spatial data that are current, timely, reliable and relevant. The systems currently in place are not responsive to the needs of the timely intervention required for informed policy decisions (Ramlal, 2001). What is needed is a framework to facilitate the coordinated exchange of spatial information on natural resources, environment, land ownership, land use, transport, communication, demography and socio-economic factors amongst spatial data stakeholders within the CARICOM community. A regional coordinating approach to effectively manage information provides viable alternatives to address this problem, not just locally but regionally. This paper discusses a justification for the development of such a regional framework.

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REGIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE - WALL

Introduction
Decision Support Systems (DSS) that rely on Geospatial information have proliferated over the past few years and are increasingly embedded in the operations of Regional Governments. Regional demand for wide-ranging and accurate Geospatial data that can be quickly integrated with other socioeconomic and demographic data sets has become a high priority for policy makers and the datasets a necessary pre-requisite for informed decision making. This places a premium on effective Geospatial data coordination, central management and optimum sharing of priceless information and costly resources. Achieving more cost-effective use of Geospatial data requires concerted and creative efforts to adopt common standards and interoperability across Governments in the CARICOM Region. Fundamental to the effective execution of Regional policies aimed at optimizing the use of land and land related information, is the knowledge of, and access to accurate, up-to-date, timely, complete and relevant socio-economic, demographic, environmental and spatial data. Geospatial or Geographic data encompass digital interactive thematic maps with their respective attribute information on natural resources, environment, land ownership, land use, transport, communication, demography and socioeconomic factors. Such data can be related to geographic positions including, terrestrial, aquatic, atmospheric, and subsurface regions.

Empirical studies have found that approximately 80 percent of Regional Government's administrative decisions are related to, or impact on, the geographic domain of Member States. Consequently the currency, availability and access to timely information in the region is a necessary requirement for management effectiveness for social and environmental planning. One such event to be effectively managed is natural disasters. Natural disasters have become an endemic phenomenon to the region. Consequently, the management of these occurrences can provide sufficient justification for the development of a framework for Regional Geospatial coordination.

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REGIONAL SPATIAL DATA INFRASTRUCTURE - WALL

Background
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat can play a pivotal role in anchoring the mechanism for sharing information and, where necessary, coordinating the activities of the regional...
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