The IMS-GIS data centre project started in September 2013. The intent was to build a comprehensive and standard information system across the South Atlantic UK Overseas Territories and to overcome the lack of a single information space/network where data can be discovered, accessed and stored.
The Falkland Islands data centre is what the IMS-GIS data centre has become in the last four years, and is the central data repository for all the environmental data collected within the Falklands by local and international organisations and individuals.
Environmental data are defined as those individual items or records (both digital and analogue) usually obtained by measurement, observation or modelling of the natural world and the impact of humans upon it. The definition includes data generated by a research project and by an environmental baseline survey in support of Environmental Impact Assessment, which can be obtained through quantitative approach, e.g. complex systems, such as information retrieval algorithms, data assimilation techniques, the application of models and/or through a qualitative approach e.g. processed results of interviews and questionnaires (not the actual answers from interviewees).
This policy document applies to everyone who deals with environmental data within the Falklands terrestrial and maritime boundaries.
The policy on data and their management is necessary in order to:
a) Ensure longevity of the data by requesting the documentation of data collected within the Falkland Islands and the publication of these metadata records through the online catalogue.
b) Ensure that data are not lost but are kept securely on a dedicated server accessed by the data manager only and Synergy, only for IT services.
c) Raise awareness of both individuals and organisations that research and environmental baselines survey permits are required before projects begin
d) Support data sharing among organisations and individuals who own or request the data. Promote openness of the data and the use of open source programs so that data can become available to individuals, government, NGOs, businesses and researchers for research, teaching and for wider decision making processes.
e) Provide a transparent service for data submission and data accessibility through a data request form system and a data submission agreement.
f) Take care of the intellectual property rights and copyrights that apply to the data. The policy enables the tacking of the data use through citation and data licences.
g) Help and support both data requestors and data owners in the overall data management process.
This policy becomes the official document for data management within the Falkland Islands and the data centre is the main point of reference. It is the responsibility of all data producers, whether local or international individuals or organisations, to familiarise themselves with this policy and ensure that they comply with the relevant sections.
The data management policy and the procedures are available at SAERI, FIG, FC and SMSG websites. All the documents mentioned in this policy are available at the Falkland Islands data centre website.
a) This policy will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure it keeps pace with scientific requirements and data management best practice.
b) Annex 1 to this policy details the procedures in place to carry out data management in the Falklands and must be used as guideline for its implementation.
The policy is that:
1. By signing the permit to conduct research or a baseline data survey (EBS), the data producers commit to delivering metadata at least a week before their departure from the Islands.
2. The metadata form to be used is available online and it uses the ISO19115 standard to capture the relevant information about the data.
3. The metadata form is the only piece of information about the data that will be published and will be accessible through the metadata catalogue online.
4. The metadata form has to be sent to the data manager who is in charge of checking whether the content of the metadata provides a clear and exhaustive description of the data. Amendments will be requested until the metadata is up to standard.
5. Updates of the metadata catalogue online are made periodically according to the amount of metadata received throughout the year. The data manager is in charge of the updates.
6. The principal investigator of projects which are carried out by local organisations (e.g. SAERI, FIG, FC and SMSG) is requested to fill in a data management plan which outlines from the beginning the practices for collecting and organising data and roles and responsibilities of each collaborator.
Research/EBS permit policy is that:
7. All individuals and organisations collecting environmental data for research purposes or environmental baseline surveys have to complete a research or baseline data survey form which is available online at FIG-Environmental Planning Department and Falkland Islands data centre website.
8. The permit is issued by the Environmental Officer and allows data producers to collect data in the Falklands.
9. The application form has to be submitted at least a month prior the arrival to the Falklands or a minimum of one month before research/project commences.
10. Fees in the order of £250 are applicable to recover part of the cost to the Environmental Planning Department of delivering environmental management services.
Fees may be waived where applications are made:
By government departments
For educational visits
For management actions approved by the Head of Environmental Planning
For research which is deemed to be in priority areas (as identified in the biodiversity framework and supporting strategies)
11. Once signed, the permit becomes a legal contract and any breach of the terms and conditions would generate a sanction, in the worst case denying permission to carry research or data survey, from the authority issuing the permit.
12. The application forms and the released permits are seen only by the Environmental Officer and the data manager of the data centre.
The policy states that:
13. By signing the application form, the individual or the organisation has committed to submit their data to the Falkland Islands central data centre within the specified period of time from the end of the data collection (maximum two years) or a month before the end of the research project.
14. Depositing data to the central repository is formally documented by the data submission agreement which is a legal document between SAERI, which manages the data centre, and the data submitter.
15. Nobody is permitted to share or make public any data resource in a way that contradicts the terms of such an agreement.
16. The agreement protects data ownerships and intellectual property rights which are safeguarded when, after three years from data submission, the data become open access with the exception of the environmentally sensitive data, which will not gain the status of open access unless explicitly stated by the data owner.
17. On the day of submission, all data should be in their final version and as clean as possible. The data manager will carry out a general QA/QC procedure to certify that the data are in a usable form, free from obvious mistakes (e.g. wrong coordinates, inconsistencies in the fields, missing values) and their content matches with the description in the metadata record.
18. The data manager and the Falkland Islands data centre are not responsible for inaccurate, imprecise and/or wrong data.
Data Access and Dissemination
The policy on data access and dissemination is that:
19. Currently all data in order to be accessed need a data request form which is available online.
20. The data request form has to be sent to the data manager or directly to the data owner if this is specified in the metadata record (section Access constraints).
21. If data are co-owned by more than one organisation, the data manager will contact such parties to notify them of the request and obtain their permission before distributing data.
22. Time of processing the requests is dependent on the ownership, access and use constraints. Restricted data will surely require more time to be processed than open access data.
23. If there is no response from the data owner within 2 months of the data request, the data manager will be free to release the data to the data requestor. The release of environmentally sensitive data will be assessed on a case by case basis.
24. The data will be sent to the data requestor through FTP or, if data are open access and small size (less than 5 Mb) and number, via email.