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NZ to adopt a common information sharing model

New Zealand: Crown Research Institutes, GNS Science, Landcare and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are working together with the New Zealand Geospatial Office to open the flow of environmental data between government agencies, Computer World reported. They aim to harmonise the systems used for managing it.

The partnership will use an open source information sharing system called Spatial Information Services Stack (SISS), which was developed in Australia. SISS systems can be built on top of any local database, allowing the sharing of information across disparate systems, and because it is a freeware solution the initial setup costs are relatively low.

Currently, New Zealand environmental information is collected by a wide range of government agencies including regional councils and district councils, SOE, and research institutes. Each uses varying methods and systems, making the sharing of data and co-operation difficult.

“There is a lot of environmental data sitting in institutional archives across New Zealand which use their own systems. We currently don’t have easy access to this information and it isn’t being utilised as well as it should be,” said Jochen Schmidt, Chief Scientist, Environmental Information, at NIWA.

“Adopting a common information sharing model will unlock a vast amount of environmental data and save New Zealand a significant amount of money currently wasted on information searches.”

NIWA claimed that the productivity benefits alone could save the government up to USD 500 million a year, with possible further economic benefits generated from easing access to environmental research.

Both GNS and Landcare have already set up partial SISS systems, with other agencies expected to begin work in the next three to six months.

On November 22, 2011, NIWA, along with specialists from Australia, will be hosting a workshop for system architects, information practitioners, and web service creators from a range of New Zealand agencies to learn more about SISS.

Source: Computer World