The past week has been really, really good, except that it has taken this long to get around to describing it. (My colleague Johannes is now back in the office so there goes one excuse for slack blogging - I guess I can still blame the Easter break for some of the dead time).
But, anyway, we've actually made one tangible piece of progress towards SDI-EA: last Thursday, 5th of April 2007, can be encribed in the chronicles as the day that any two UN agencies here in Nairobi were able to share geospatial data services. Yes, FAO/SWALIM got their production WFS on-line at http://www.faoswalim.org:8080/geoserver and so along with UNEP's existing service at http://dewa03.unep.org/geoserver we are now able to separately and jointly serve data about Somalia to our colleagues in UNHCR, OCHA and the NGO community. The mugshot at left captures the info-warriors at their moment of victory [L to R John Mugwe (UNEP), Stephen Waswa (FAO), Mick Wilson (UNEP) and Craig von Hagen (FAO)].
The downside reality, of course, is that the comms links here in Nairobi remain a majors constraint, and the chances of anyone being able to reliably use these WFS's are pretty slim but at least a principle has been established.
And there are glimmers of hope on the horizon - this week's announcement of US$ 150 million support to kenya for broadband rollout has to help (sometime), plus the notion that the UN will real soon now be linked to the local ISPs exchange point, so at least internet traffic between UNEP and FAO won't have to go to Italy and back!