World Bank SDI Report

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Using Spatial Data Infrastructures for Monitoring Development Outcomes: A Manual for Developing Countries

Edited by Mike J Jackson and Zoë Gardner

Contributors: Tim Kelly, Bruce McCormack, Clodeveu A. Davis Jr., Fred Fonseca, Eun Hyung Kim, IdRC Jordan, Geo-Information Communication Ltd Uganda and ESRI Canada

October 2011


The objective of this Manual is to provide a “how to” guide for developing countries on the development of a national strategy for spatial data infrastructure (SDI).This is an ambitious goal given the multitude of cultural, economic and political models that such an SDI must embrace and the rapid technological developments impacting the development more broadly of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). But, given the importance of SDI as an underpinning technology, platform and infrastructure for assisting efficient economic growth, humane social policy and effective environmental programmes, it is one worth striving for.

This Manual should be seen as the first stage in the development of a “living” document. It is a “beta-test” Report that we hope will evolve and be enriched from continuing inputs and corrections from practitioners around the world, especially additional best practice cases. It should eventually reflect experiences from different SDI initiatives and programmes and of the contribution, impacts and benefits of new technology as it is emerges into the marketplace. To achieve this goal, the Report will be made available primarily as a Web resource and contributions, corrections and edits will be moderated and incorporated on an on-going basis.

This first release still contains inconsistencies in the text where the views of different contributors have still to be aligned. It is missing references and provides an uneven coverage of the topic. However, it is believed that the Report structure and content is at the stage whereby the wider community can now start to address these deficiencies, further enrich the “how-to” text and add more case study examples from which lessons can be learned and consolidated into guidance for future projects and initiatives.

This “Wikipedia” style of report generation is not the conventional academic approach to publication nor does it follow the approach of relying on the wisdom of a few “grey heads” to consolidate knowledge into a master manual, But it may be appropriate in this instance. The Manual aims to provide practical advice for defining, implementing and evolving spatial data infrastructures in developing countries. This must embrace the real world experience of those who are engaged in the process and who operate across the multitude of economic, social and political systems that enrich this world. In such dynamic circumstances it must also be a fluid document if it is to retain relevance over more than a very brief period.

The Editors accept full responsibility for the mistakes and omissions of the current document but they have faith in the “crowd”. Just as free data sites such as Open Street Map (OSM) or free and open software may, at the time of their launch, seem of dubious value, the knowledge, wisdom and willingness of the many to contribute their time and expertise has created data and services of huge value to humanity as we saw in the response to the Haiti disaster. This Manual likewise began with a crowdsourcing effort, based on views expressed by participants at the 12th Global SDI Association Conference, in Singapore, in October 2010. This Manual is just a start, but we hope that it will blossom and contribute globally to effective SDI specification and implementation for the benefit of mankind.

Zoe Gardner, Mike Jackson, Tim Kelly and Bruce McCormack

The Report Contents

  • Chapter 1 (Introduction) - provides the background to the wider World Bank Project, describes the research methods utilised and outlines the structure of the report. This chapter also places the report in the wider context of global development and discusses SDIs in the context of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Chapter 2 (GIS and Spatial Data Infrastructures) deals more specifically with the theory of SDIs and outlines the basic concepts and issues involved in creating national SDIs.
  • Chapter 3 (Worldwide SDI Development and Outreach) provides the substantive material of the report and outlines the issues and practices invloved in developing an SDI for monitoring development outcomes.
  • Chapter 4 (SDI Implementation) continues to provide context to SDIs by examining the wider global development of SDIs from both a historical and contextual perspective.
  • Chapter 5 (Learning from Experience) presents the lessons learned from the case studies.
  • Chapter 6 (Emerging SDI Environment) considers emerging and future trends in GI and GIS and how these might influence the future direction of SDI development and the potential issues for SDI practitioners and stakeholders.
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