Geospatial Research Seminar Series (GRISS)

The case of the missing environmental data infrastructure

Dr David Medyckyj-Scott – Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

3 May 2019

The collection and analysis of environmental data are critical to us understanding the New Zealand environment of the past, today and to anticipate the future.  Conclusions drawn from environmental observations, analysis and models guide decisions and actions by governments, businesses and individuals. The complexity of the issues we need to understand require the ability to easily discover, access and use environmental data across a broad range of domains. The reality is that although environmental data is abundant, potential users are hampered by an inability to discover, access, and use the information. Data often exists only within individual organisations to support internal business requirements, or within individual environmental domains.

The creation of an environmental data infrastructure promotes the management, accessibility and reuse of environmental data. Because much environmental data is spatial in nature, environmental data infrastructures are typically a special case of spatial data infrastructures.

A search through government, scientific and business reports going back many years indicates the recognition of the need for New Zealand to have a national environmental data infrastructure. So where is New Zealand’s environmental data infrastructure? Looking at the landscape one concludes that the New Zealand environmental data ecosystem is still very much based on a point to point supply chain model.

Using a social-technical framework, in this talk I will describe some of the work Manaaki Whenua has been doing to progress the establishment of a national environmental data infrastructure but also consider some of the technical, data, social and economic barriers that are impeding the creation of a fit purpose, usable and sustainable infrastructure.


Room 263, Ernest Rutherford Building


Join us for a networking lunch from 12:30 PM; David’s talk will begin at 1:00 PM.


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