Editor: Roger Longhorn


The GSDI Global Newsletter is a regular publication to report news from our Members and news of interest to the geospatial and SDI communities around the globe. Download previous issues from the links below as PDF files.

New IRENA app delivers global renewable energy data straight to your pocket

Smartphone users can now access the most reliable data on global renewable energy potential, for free, thanks to an application launched today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Global Atlas pocket, now available on all platforms including BlackBerry® 10, iOS, Android™ and Windows Phone®, is the only global tool of its kind, combining 1,000 maps from 67 governments and 50 data centres to provide information on renewable energy resources anywhere in the world.

The app turns mobile devices into renewable energy prospectors and can help answer questions like, can renewable energy power 100 per cent of this island? What percentage of this city can be powered by solar energy? If I want to invest in a wind power project, where are the highest potential locations?

It allows user to screen renewable energy project sites before making investment decision, create content on clean energy potentials in areas of interest and access images of growth areas for renewable energy infrastructure opportunities. It also comes with a powerful combination of search functionalities including geolocation services, personalized search categories, map views and sharing capabilities. The Global Atlas pocket is the mobile version of the online Global Atlas portal, which aims to provide access to the necessary datasets, expertise and financial support to help countries evaluate their national renewable energy potential.

Source: http://www.irena.org/News/Description.aspx?NType=A&mnu=cat&PriMenuID=16&CatID=84&News_ID=415

Rescue of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment data completed

From 2001 to 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) brought together more than 1,300 experts worldwide to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. The MA provided a comprehensive scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and associated services at that time, and articulated the scientific basis for action to conserve and use these ecosystems sustainably. The core data used and developed by the MA had been maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) program, but unfortunately when this program was terminated in January 2012, access to the data ended.

To remedy this situation and to ensure long-term preservation of and access to these important data, the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN obtained copies of the original data and has recently released them as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Collection. The original data consisted of many files that were not well documented or organized, so SEDAC has grouped the data into six separate data sets: population; scenarios; biodiversity; climate and land cover; ecosystems; and rapid land cover change. Although most of the data in the collection have been superseded by newer versions, the data may still be of interest from both scientific and historical perspectives since they reflect the state of knowledge at the time the assessment was completed.

In preparing the collection, SEDAC has sought to provide access to the data in their original formats with basic documentation. Users will need to refer directly to the MA reports for details on sources, methods, and interpretation of the data.

See: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Collection

Source: http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/news/

Valuing Weather and Climate: Economic Assessment of Meteorological and Hydrological Services

How can we establish that weather services indeed generate benefits for service users? How can the benefits and related costs be quantified?

National hydro-meteorological institutes, both in developed and developing countries are facing a growing need to assess and prove their societal benefits. To support the assessment, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its partners have published a handbook.

The book entitled: “Valuing Weather and Climate: Economic Assessment of Meteorological and Hydrological Services” was launched on May 28, 2015 at the World Meteorological Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. The book, prepared with financial support from USAID, WMO and the World Bank, is structured around a 10-step process describing the design, implementation and dissemination of the results of economic valuation studies.

The presentation of economic concepts and methods for estimating and comparing benefits and costs has been designed for general audiences. The books appendices include a glossary of terms, background on meteorological and hydrological services production, a brief history of benefits studies, a survey of social sciences methods other than economic ones that may be used in benefits studies, and summaries of nine benefits studies.

Source: https://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/amp/pwsp/documents/wmo_1153_en.pdf

Medina Marine Ecosystem Dynamics and Indicators for North Africa

Medina project aimed to enhance the capacities of Mediterranean Northern African Countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) to monitor their coastal and marine ecosystems through the development of indicators and the integration of coastal monitoring tools into GEOSS.

The Medina e-infrastructure (MeI) was developed in line with SDI concepts, constructed as a compound of web services (OGC standards) that allow end users to visualize, query maps and analyse coastal data. Its design and capacities supports collaborative decision-making and marine ecosystem management.

The MeI contains 80 indicators that correspond to 395 maps (37 DPSIR indicators and Ecological objectives, 10 indicators of Earth Observation and 33 indicators from Modelling).

The URL to access this service from another SDI o GIS application is: http://www.medinageoportal.eu/

Source: http://www.medinaproject.eu/puplic/home.php

Morocco: Downloadable publication: Regional Atlas of the Tadla-Azilal Region 2015

The digital publication of the “Regional Atlas of the Tadla-Azilal region (Morocco)” is freely downloadable.

The Regional Atlas was developed through a Volubilis "Programme d’Action Intégrée" funded by the “Comité Mixte Inter-universitaire Franco-Marocain” involving ESO-Angers (UMR CNRS 6590) of Angers University (France), Sultan Moulay Slimane University of Beni Mellal (Morocco), and EHESS Paris LATES (France).

The Atlas puts into perspective the different regional elements to highlight or to preserve, and participates in providing tangible answers to the development and planning of this region. After a historical, physical and human overview, the specific dynamics and issues of the three regional units (mountain, piedmont, plain) are outlined, and the cross-cutting issues about water, migratory question, risks and potential and recognized heritage are explored.

Produced using a GIS, the Atlas is the first step that is part of a perspective of regular updating and expansion to new "themes" and scales of approach. At the time the Atlas was first published, the results of the 6th General Census of Population and Housing of Morocco had begun to be disseminated. However, at this point, they have not yet been incorporated into the mapping.

Oman: National Multi Hazard Early Warning System: Addressing natural disasters in Oman (video)

This video, by the Public Authority for Civil Aviation, presents natural disaster related risks and the system designed to address them in Oman.

The National Multi Hazard Early Warning System (NMHEWS) was launched by the Sultanate of Oman in March 2015. This system, implemented with the technical support of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, is designed to respond to natural hazards, including tsunamis, cyclones and flash floods.

The system is the result of acollaboration between IOC-UNESCO and Oman that began in 2009. It will support monitoring, data processing and Standard Operating Procedures, as well as training of personnel and the operation of sea-level stations.

Since 2010, IOC-UNESCO and the Omani government have also been collaborating in the development of a Tsunami Early Warning System as part of the over-all multi-hazard early warning system.

See also: Oman launches an early warning system to address natural disasters.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHokavThAfE