Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In consequat dignissim interdum, quis bibendum.
call us 1-677-124-44227"
follow us
IMA > News  > A Portal to the IMA’s Marine Data Hub (MDH) – Get excited about data sharing!
MDH Rayna Sookeo IMA

A Portal to the IMA’s Marine Data Hub (MDH) – Get excited about data sharing!

Prepared by Ms Rayna Sookdeo, On-the-Job Trainee/ Geomatics, Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA).

Did you know that the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) has its own data-sharing platform? Yes! This news is guaranteed to excite technicians, researchers, government agencies, academia, civil society and members of the public interested in the field of marine and environmental research. Join me as I dive into the reasons why this platform has everyone talking. 

Through this article, I will explore the work that the IMA does and by extension, the importance of the platform and the Marine Data Hub (MDH) and the facilitators and contributors towards the project. I will explain why data sharing is so important, and finally, I will share with you, my personal experience and all the fun we collectively had at the IMA while developing the MDH.

Articulated in Act No. 13 of 1990 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, the IMA has an obligation to promote and enhance an understanding of the importance of our coastal and marine environments and to share this data among key stakeholders as well as to provide advice to policymakers and other stakeholders on matters related to these environments. The various research programmes at the IMA are constantly acquiring and compiling data including bathing beach water quality, marine water quality, the rates of beach erosion and/or accretion, and ecological data related to marine biodiversity. This data supports evidence-based decision-making as the data is converted to into information to share with key stakeholders and members of society. Currently, the IMA has the largest repository of marine biodiversity data in the country.

The Institute recognises and values the need for sharing this marine data.  For many persons, marine ecosystems and resources are out of sight and out of mind and therefore rely on data-sharing collaborations. To this end, the IMA has taken the initiative in spearheading the development of a data-sharing platform known as the Marine Data Hub (MDH). 

This platform utilises modern web-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies with the principal aim of providing the IMA with an infrastructure to collect, analyse, and disseminate geospatial data (data including location/coordinates) for marine applications.  The platform allows users to explore and visualise biodiversity data, to discover and build digital maps, and learn how to address important marine and environmental issues affecting Trinidad and Tobago.  

The development of the MDH was possible through funds awarded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments. The objective is to provide open access data about all types of life on Earth to anyone, anywhere. So cool! 

It is also noteworthy to mention that all marine biodiversity information from the Institute’s MDH would directly link to the National Trinidad & Tobago Biodiversity Information System (TTBIS). Now, what is TTBIS? The TTBIS is a centralised database and national archive of biodiversity data in Trinidad and Tobago, which houses all of the country’s biodiversity data.  

Here is why this data-sharing platform is so important. Effective data sharing allows for connection and collaboration among researchers as well as for planning and management, conservation, restoration and sustainable exploitation and education. In addition, it allows researchers to build upon the work of others rather than repeat already existing research thereby avoiding duplication, and data silos and helping with identifying data gaps. Finally, the MDH enables researchers to perform meta-analyses (statistical process analysing and combining results from several similar studies) on any particular area of interest.

It may not be common knowledge that the IMA actually has its own Geomatics Unit that specialises in generating, analysing and managing spatial data and information through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) technologies. One can think of GIS as a computer-based system that creates, manages, analyses, and displays spatial data. GIS incorporates two types of data: location data (where things are), and descriptive data (description of the locational data). Remote Sensing uses technology that captures the characteristics of the physical features of the Earth from a distance using satellites or aircrafts.

The Geomatics Unit, in collaboration with other Research Programmes, played an important role towards developing the MDH. This included uploading IMA’s data to the platform, adding descriptive information about the data, designing web-based/digital maps, designing dashboards (more interactive than a web map, displays detailed information from data), and engaging in the delivery of workshops to promote the MDH to internal and external users. Personally, I have had a lot of fun designing dashboards on the MDH, and engaging in the internal and external workshops!

I hope that now one can understand the excitement to introduce to members of the public – the Institute’s Marine Data Hub and why this platform has everyone so excited! 

We invite you to visit the MDH homepage and engage with the platform through the QR code below. I hope you enjoy the experience!

The Marine Data Hub Homepage

Scan the QR Code to Access the Marine Data Hub

Author: Ms. Rayna Sookdeo (Geospatial Technician On-the-Job Trainee)

Institute of Marine Affairs

Geomatics Department