Through the years the World Resources Institute and many other organizations have collected and curated ocean data. But, the World Resources Institute, or WRI, led by Carolyn Savaoldelli is moving a step further into the future.
The goal of creating a platform to house open ocean data for policymakers on any level and scientists.
Resource Watch is the official name for the database that reveals a massive amount of information about our ocean and environment. The WRI curates, adds, and carefully monitors information to ensure that the database is as complete and unbiased as possible.
There are still a few kinks to work out, but currently, the platform is up and running. Launched in a beta version, Resource Watch is now relying on feedback from users. To contribute, those who possess open ocean information can send the data they have to the WRI for review and curation.
The overall goals of Resource Watch include providing relevant data from reliable crowdsourcing, the scientific community, and satellites, assisting policymakers decision making with high-quality data and enabling the scientific community to continue study into our environment.
Trustworthy Data and Data Curation
The Resource Watch database is unique because it draws metadata from a massive range of resources. But, unlike publicly shared data that anyone can add to or detract from, Resource Watch goes through a curation process from the WRI team. The WRI team has many guiding principles for what data goes into Resource Watch.
They aim for robust, unbiased information that is relevant to the present condition of the environment. Having reliable data about the state of our oceans is the first step for long-term environmental strategy regarding policy-making and daily best practices that can affect everyone.
Creating an Easy to Use System
Because the goals of Resource Watch revolve around a wide range of users, the system must maintain ease of use along with functionality. Scientists and analysts can spend a short time sorting through a lot of data and decipher meaningful information. However, a journalist or policymaker doesn’t have the speed or savvy to work at that same pace.
The Resource Watch system allows anyone within just a few clicks to identify areas of interest now, such as sea level rising and use sliders to see projections of change in the years to come. Easy to access data takeaways can include changes in sea level, salinity, and the presence of plastic or unnatural waste.
Resource Watch continues to work on the functionality of the database so anyone can decipher meaningful information from the database.
Too Much and Too Little Data
The most prominent struggle that Research Watch faces currently is the issue of too little and too much data. Unfortunately, our environment is in a constant state of flux and change, which means that often when data is ready for curation, it is already out of date.
The volume of relevant, useful, and unbiased information is sparse. The WRI hopes that Resource Watch will encourage researchers and those who survey the ocean with satellites to contribute meaningful data and fill in the current gaps.