Arctic Research Support Spatial Data Infrastructure
CLIENT: Arctic Research Community of the United States (ARCUS)
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
GPC was commissioned by the Arctic Research Community of the United States (ARCUS), to co-chair an National Science Foundation (NSF) funded workshop and publication describing the need for a spatial data infrastructure to support scientific research in the Arctic. The stated purpose of the Workshop was to “”provide NSF with community input and recommendations to enhance the use of internet-based GIS for Arctic research””. The workshop participants were first provided with background overview concerning the current state of GIS development. Armed with this background, the participants were then asked to address a variety of specific questions intended to initiate dialog and the development of some level of definition and consensus regarding Arctic research priorities, and how GIS data, tools and methods, and in particular Internet-based capabilities, might be applied to support them.
During the Workshop, the phrase “”internet-based GIS”” evolved to the broader notion of “”spatial data infrastructure””, and all that this implies. It was realized that, while the internet represents an unprecedented opportunity for managing, searching and dissemination of shared data and provision of web-based GIS application services, it is only one part of a larger “”information infrastructure”” framework that will be needed to effectively support scientific research in the Arctic in a manner that goes beyond the needs of specific projects or disciplines. The technology “”enabler”” represented by the Internet will only work if it has the foundation of other technical, administrative, legal, and financial frameworks that also support the development and sustainability of a regional coordination effort.
While the workshop was focused on the needs of the Arctic research community, it was also acknowledged that these do not exist in a vacuum. There is a broader community of GIS stakeholders in the Arctic region and globally who have overlapping and potentially synergistic needs, activities and resources. A significant part of the workshop addressed the “”state of the art”” in GIS technology, the advancement of geographic information science, and the growing movement towards the development of national, regional and global spatial data infrastructures (SDI), and the potential for broadly based regional and international collaboration in the Arctic region with other related stakeholder communities.