Monday, 19 March 2007

First-round responses and an emerging plan?

Well, the first round of responses to Saturdays' invitation are coming in, all positive so far. One, in particular, promoted me to start articulating the broad outlines of a plan as to wher this unofficial SDI-EA thing might be going. Please have a look and comment telling us what you think.


Mick Wilson

03/19/2007 10:09 AM

To: Nyoike.Mugechi at
Subject: Re: Invitation for Expession of Interest to participate in an East African SDI Mashup

Thank you for your support. At this stage there are neither dates nor venues for any meetings. My plan is, initially, to survey the field and see who's interested in contributing and, as far as possible, get some organization going without disrupting too much people day-to-day. We are a net-enabled group and I think we can get some momentum going without waiting for physical meetings.

Already, in a matter of days, we have offers between agencies to help with some swapping of basic skill slike setting up OGC web feature services. Call this phase zero, out of which comes a sort of directory of "who's who in East Africa SDI stuff" and at least an initial indicator of what their capabilities and/or needs might be. This is however just a proposal and I'm open to suggestions how better to proceed.

Once past phase 0 then would be the time perhaps for some more "formal" structure. We the UN gang have an obligation and capabilities to start getting our own house in order but we don't have the assets or mandate to attempt to solve all the problems this exercise uncovers. What we can do, however, is get organized with "clusters" of our neighbours - for example, UNEP with the conservation community, wildlife management and NGOs like Green Belt Movement; UN-Habitat with civil society and social equity NGOs - and try to use scanty UN assets to boost local capabilities. Call that phase 1, and that is probably the point where some "real" meeting would yield some real results and give the local players a chance to meet each other and the UN gang. This plausibly could happen in a couple of months' time, before everyone disappears for the northern summer.

Would you mind if I copied this response to the SDI-EA list?

PS Via which did you get the invitation? Where possible I want to drop the "list of lists" approach and get individuals registered so we can do our laundry within the community and reserving announcments to more public lists for when really neat things. It'll also make it easier for you to respond directly to the list without relying on me.


Mick Wilson


Rob Starling said...

G'day Mick,

Good on yer Mate for getting this started. If I can respond, this being my first blog entry, am sure that many others with more experience will contribute.

As a starter I currently work for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Australia and occasionally for OGC. I have also done GISy work in Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.

The Nairobi techno-wonks are a special resource becaue they are doing a lot with a little and are prepared to share whatever they come up with. Many of us can relate because, especially on the people side of things, our $$ for information management (and just about everything else)are minimal - yet, I'd like to think, our ingenuity and innovative qualities are worth sharing. Collaboration between the like-minded is good - no one person/organisation/company has the answer.

The UNEP-DEWA openGRID collaborative is urged to consider opening up its mandate to permit access to its infrastructure to allow a "who's who" in East Africa (and beyond) to make known their capabilities and needs (Mick's Phase 0).

The spectrum of opportunities to be useful is daunting. Might I make a series of suggestions?

a) This humble blog becomes the forum where folks from East Africa post those socio-economic; environmental and other indicators which are most meaningful (half a dozen or so)in their respective countries.
b)half a dozen of the most shared are selected
c) methods for the determination of the indicators are published
d) data requirements for the determination of the indicators are defined
e) contributors of the data are sought and up-skilled as necessary, to deliver the data elements as web services,
f) the indicators are computed and made available, as web services, possibly through UNEP's openGRID.

Meanwhile the techies develop the SDI and related infrastructures to allow the indicators to be computed, displayed and communicated equitably. National/local languages and graphics being made available as aides to communication.

As a effort to keep Mick's and all our sensitivities out of danger, I look forward to folk's comments and to GETTING GOING.

Goddy said...

Good idea.
Godwin Yeboah,

Goddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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