Monday 18 July 2011

Project Overviews & Quickstarts for New Zealand's SDI Cookbook

New Zealand's Geospatial Office (NZGO) has been making excellent progress toward developing a national Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). A few of weeks back, NZGO released their first version of a Spatial Data Infrastrastructure (SDI) Cookbook, which “has been developed to provide guidance for the early stages of implementing a national SDI”.
Its sections cover:
  1. Data Stewardship and Custodianship Responsibilities
  2. Introduction to SDI Standards
  3. Making Data Accessible: Characteristics of a Provider Node
  4. Making Data Able to be Found: Characteristics of a Catalogue Node
  5. Using Data Efficiently: How can my Organisation use a SDI? - Participating in a Spatial Data Infrastructure
NZGO has invited vendors and open source projects to populate the final section 6, “How Existing Systems and Products can Contribute to the SDI”. For section 6, it is interesting to note that NZGO has decided to follow the same documentation sourcing process we use for the OSGeo-Live DVD project. For OSGeo-Live, we source consistent Project Overviews and Quickstarts from close to 50 geospatial open source projects. NZGO wanted something similar for the SDI Cookbook, also sourced from multiple projects, but extended to include proprietary applications as well. So NZGO approached us at LISAsoft to tailor the OSGeo-Live documentation sourcing process for their SDI Cookbook purposes. As such, we have provided templates and writing guidelines for Project Overviews and Quickstarts, which makes it easy for projects to author quality and consistent documentation. These have been included in a Request for Information (RFI) that NZGO has sent to vendors, and the resulting responses are intended to be included into NZGO's SDI Cookbook. LISAsoft will also be providing the OSGeo-Live documentation in the format requested by the RFI.
I'm excited to think that the resulting SDI Cookbook has the potential to become a very valuable resource not just for New Zealand, but for other countries as well. But what I'm particularly interested to see is where this SDI Cookbook will go from here. How will the Cookbook be updated and maintained as technologies improve? Will community feedback be collected? If so, how will it be applied and resourced? How will NZGO balance broad crowd sourced information verses quality review cycles? Will the Cookbook be extented into other areas, such as training? Will other countries collaborate with New Zealand in extending and maintaining the Cookbook, or will rival Cookbooks be developed? These are some of the questions I've been raising with NZGO, and which I believe will determine whether the SDI Cookbook will become wildly successful, or will just briefly be a useful document for a while in New Zealand.
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