Friday, February 06, 2009

NSDI - A Process for Information Infrastructure

In the last few months, I've had the privilege of traveling to many places. During each trip I discussed "SDI" with lots of people and was struck by how quickly people of different languages and cultures responded positively to hearing "SDI" - I was then struck by the variety details they tossed out on technology, components, data etc. Our conversation would invariably turn to solving the problems we face in society. We'd quickly agree these problems are interconnected, and the solutions must be interconnected - and to do this we need to develop an information infrastructure.

I think the challenge then comes in recognizing that the best chance of implementing an information infrastructure is by understanding, as Roger Longhorn from GeoConnexion Magazine says, "it's a process, not a thing." If we agree it's a process - then the NSDI should be a collaborative process to develop, coordinate and promote the information infrastructure. The tasks can then be defined - Development and Integration (of data, services and applications), Outreach, Partnerships, Coordination, etc. In this process, the community should work towards international standards that will permit interoperability - the shared agreements that allow information to flow.

If we can do this as a community we'll benefit from, as John Moeller says, "a dynamic NSDI that operates on a set of core fundamentals - and grows as technological, organizational and societal capacities mature."

- Jeff


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