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Groundwater data sharing: the challenge of spatio-temporal data

IWRA 2020 Online Conference - Addressing Groundwater Resilience under Climate Change
THEME 3. Contribution of Technology to Groundwater Resilience
Author(s): Arnaud Sterckx, Claudia Ruz Vargas

Arnaud Sterckx and Claudia Ruz Vargas, IWRA Conference, October 2020

IGRAC (International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre

World Meteorological Centre
Government of the Netherlands


Keyword(s): Spatial Data Infrastructure, groundwater monitoring, information portals


a) Purpose or objectives and status of study or research hypothesis

Groundwater governance requires that all stakeholders have access to data and information, in order to participate actively and in an informed manner to the sustainable management of groundwater resources. Several institutions have undertaken online portals to share their data (e.g. national departments in charge of groundwater data collection) or to facilitate the sharing of data from multiple providers (e.g. river basin organizations).


(b) Key issue(s) or problem(s) addressed

Over the last years, there has been a considerable development of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). SDI allow multiple users and organizations to share geospatial data online, like groundwater map layers. Free and open source SDI like GeoNode can now be deployed for a few thousand dollars. However, the authors are not aware of any off-the-shelf SDI software supporting the sharing of temporal data, which prevents the sharing of groundwater monitoring data.


(c) Methodology or approach used

The authors present recent and ongoing developments to allow groundwater monitoring data to be shared alongside groundwater map layers. These developments have been carried out as part of the Global Groundwater Information System (GGIS) and the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) initiatives, as well as the Groundwater Information Portal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC-GIP).


(d) Results and conclusions derived from the project

In the case of the GGIS/GGMN, a database was developed and appended to a GeoNode-based SDI. Users can enter and edit borehole data and monitoring data in the database, which are then findable as map layers in the SDI. For the SADC-GIP, a plug-in was written and inserted into GeoNode that allows time-series uploaded in shapefile format to be visualized in map viewers.


(e) Implications of the project relevant to selected conference theme, theory and/or practice

The two solutions developed offer different functionalities and have different cost implications, also at the level of maintenance. There is probably no one-size-fits-all solution but working with open source enhances the reuse and adaptation of functionalities. Among others, the authors see an opportunity to share the database software component of the GGIS/GGMN platform with developing countries not yet equipped with national groundwater database.

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