Throughout the last four years I have been traveling to several countries where part of my job has been to get an overview of available spatial data. To do this I needed a tool to make a list of data and associated metadata. So I started playing around with a MS Access database. At a recent stay in Timor Leste I used it for collecting and structuring data.
I guess the database (not necessarily the Timor Leste data) could be useful for more people than me. So in this posting I will explain a bit about how it works and also make it available for download and use. License is CC SA-BY. No promises for updates or user guidance.
Establishing some basic metadata and finding out which institutions are responsible for which data has been part of my tasks when I visit certain countries. To help strengthening their environmental data infrastructure it is usually a good start to get an overview of what data is available. This is also a good excuse to visit different offices and find out more about relations between different stakeholders.
It is not intended to be a replacement for a good metadata handling system like GeoNetwork or the ESRI Geoportal Server (both open source). The meta-data in this tool is more tuned towards the processes it is supposed to support. Ideally one could work on it one-on-one or with a group. This necessitates some preparations but it could very well be done. In a recent workshop I prepared some of the data beforehand and then used inputs from the workshop group work to update the contents and develop the database further.
It works for me, and that’s reason enough - for me.
Download the file here:
RESDIE is a regular MS access database with tables, queries and forms. I have tried to clean up in name inconsistencies and other challenges within the database.
The main form allows for several options. The structure for editing data is like this:
- Add, edit and delete new data sets
- Setup allows for adding standards for
- Geographical coverage (Local/Regional/National/etc)
- GIS file category (shapefile/raster/etc)
- Data categories (Nature reserves, Biodiversity hotspots, etc)
- Data category groups (Biodiversity, Infrastructure, Health, etc)
- Add new organizations used for indication of relation to the data set
- Copyright details and a small text about the database
To use the database you are advised to add data under setup and organizations first. When this has been done you can start registering spatial data sets.
Reports from the database are available to the right. The following alternatives area available:
- List of categories and data sets
- List of all mentioned data sets
- Number of data sets per category
- The database structure allows for one data set to be registered under more than one category, so the total number indicated could therefore be higher than the total number of data sets.
- List of data suppliers
- Information about the organizations registered.
- Data sets without matching suppliers
- Data sets where no information is available about its origin
The following are screenshots from the more central forms in the database. Click on them to see a bigger version.
You may register the geographical coverage of the data sets:
…and the categories may be grouped into a higher level.
Enter organization details to be able to relate data to organizations being provider, owners, etc of your data.
Finally add information about the different data sets.
Further developments are possible. Here are some ideas:
- More queries to analyze the available data
- Small script to empty the database (initialize)
- Support exports
- Integrate it with a personal database
The database is of course provided as is. If you try driving a car while operating it, or use it for illegal purposes you are on your own.
Feel free to develop it further. If you do I will be glad if you keep a note in it of about its origin.
Good luck in using it. Any comments welcome.