PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, February 25, 2013 – More than 40 Caribbean data managers, IT specialists and software developers concluded this weekend at the St. Augustine campus of the University of West Indies a one week long gathering where they learned how to manage, share, and increase the use of spatial data to reduce disaster risk in the Caribbean.
Participants were trained on the use of GeoNode, an open-source geospatial data sharing and management platform, which allows national ministries and agencies to populate, catalog, view, and share data on a central repository to increase the access and use of data to inform decision-makers.
The training was sponsored by the World Bank, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the University of West Indies.
“By promoting open data and making use of spatial data and analysis, the region is likely to benefit from better decision-making processes to improve resilience to current and future climate impacts,” said Bishwa Pandey, World Bank Senior Data Management Specialist.
The Caribbean region is highly prone to natural hazards such as hurricanes, heavy rains, high winds, droughts, landslides and earthquakes, which pose a serious threat to human life and the local economy.
Accessing and sharing spatial data on topography, location of schools, health centers and other infrastructure is critical for building resilience to natural hazards. Spatial data helps to develop decision-making tools, such as land maps, engineering designs, and flood risk analyses.
“This collaboration will not only benefit the Caribbean region to ensure improved readiness in times of disaster, but it will also increase indigenous capacity so that the University continues to be a focal point for higher education, research and development to cater to the ever changing needs of the Caribbean people,”said Dr. Bheshem Ramlal, Head of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management Department, and Chairman of National Spatial Data Infrastructure Committee for Trinidad and Tobago.
The one-week Advanced Training on Spatial Data Management provided participants from 10 countries and five regional agencies with an in-depth understanding of spatial data management and open-source software development.
This training builds on two previous regional workshops held at University of West Indies Trinidad in February 2012 and in Grenada in October 2011.
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