Something exciting is around the corner! Our team is hard at work building a spatial platform, fit for the needs of everyday users! We want to be gone with polygons and spatial coordinates being reserved for experts. What we really want is for conversations around data to be inclusive. This platform aims to achieve exactly that! Read more here below:
Why a Spatial Platform?
Being able to analyze spatial data requires a unique skill set that only a minority of people in the land sector possess. As a result, geospatial data and analytics often do not leave the specialized networks of GIS experts, which creates a major gap for the rest of the land sector. Generally, attention seems to be shifting from the early efforts to capture “raw data”, to the use of data to now focusing on spreading skills and attitudes for data use to a wider audience. Phrases such as “citizen geodata science” and the like, are emerging in other sectors and the land community is required to understand how to better manage this new trend. Therefore, the question we have asked ourselves as a team is: How can we open up the wealth of geospatial data and make it part of an inclusive global debate that goes beyond the technical GIS audience?
What is the Land Portal’s Spatial Platform about?
One possible way of allowing non-experts to work with and visualize the spatial data that is of interest to them, is by establishing a geospatial platform specifically tailored to non-GIS-experts. The idea is to enable users to combine and analyze a large portion of the datasets on the Land Portal and allow them to make valid conclusions by examining different aspects and combinations of data in or instance heatmaps, cloropleth maps, cartograms and cartodiagrams. These types of visualizations and extractions can be valuable for any user, in particular tailored towards non- technical specialist users such as local communities, development agencies, policy makers and social scientists.
Land Portal will not produce new data, though it will present and link data for a huge variety of sources, such as the Property Rights Perceptions Index (PRIndex), FAOstat statistics and more, facilitating analysis and comparison of the data. Data will be published on global, national and eventually subnational level. Two way interaction between the geospatial platform and the webportal is envisaged.
Some of the possible ways we envision users can interact with this platform to achieve their specific goals are the following: As part of its due diligence process, a private investor looking for suitable agricultural land for his sugar plantation in Peru may consult the platform to match soil and land use data maps to community land maps. Similarly, a donor agency assessing a new program in Liberia can consult a visual dataset detailing (active) projects by other donors to avoid duplication of efforts. These are but a few of the many examples that can be given, but one can imagine how such a visual analytics tool can benefit many beyond the GIS expert network.
When will the Spatial Platform be launched?
Our team is working hard on the specifics of the platform, and aims to launch it in the coming months!
Who is involved?
We hope this platform enables all kinds of actors, from experts to non-experts, to engage with the same data and learn and use it in a way that empowers (vulnerable) citizens and communities in such a way that it has the potential to increase their resilience in solving local problems and equips them with the necessary tools and skills to keep their governments accountable and transparent.