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Better generation, dissemination, and use of data is certainly necessary to achieve any goals and objectives in any policy field. The proposal underscores that importance but does not provide a concrete causal connection between data collection and analysis to achieving any SDGs. Also, we have entered the age of 'big data' and just talking about data is insufficient. It is important to explain what kind of data will be collected, how it will be analyzed, and for what purposes. Sharing data is not automatic and unproblematic. Many organizations will be either unwilling or unable to share data and the proposal does not address such challenges.
I thought this was a very interesting idea, and better information and know-how about data analysis is certainly needed in some places. However, I thought the proposal missed the mark somewhat in that data analysis, which being necessary, is far from sufficient to make the types of changes needed to achieve the SDGs. Improving data analysis will not necessarily bring about the types of change needed (and could, in fact, make some decisions worse if the thinking behind the actions/analysis is not clear or not environmentally-driven). Thus, I think a stronger idea has to do with teaching systems analysis and better thinking rather than better data analysis.
Judge 1: Key elements are missing from this proposal in terms of how it specifically relates to the challenge in question; while the concept is interesting it is not sufficiently clear how the effort could help to achieve SDGs and other environment/climate change goals in ways that minimize trade-offs and maximize synergies.
Judge 2: This idea is not new, and the proposal does not mention how it would link to existing initiatives which already seek to do similar things: UNEP-Live, GEOSS, Eye-on-Earth, and a myriad others, nor what the challenges are to such integrative systems, which are not technological, but political ,financial and sociological - owners of data are very reluctant to lose ownership, the issue of data standards and currency, scale, etc. Th proposal needs to address these barriers to success to be taken seriously.
Orlando Andre Cuba Llanos
Feb 2, 2018
I agree with the observations made, I have not been able to express my ideas clearly and I have not developed vital points. I would like to take advantage of this space to present, in a personal and informal way, the background and vision that surround this proposal.
In the eagerness to find an application, in the environmental field, to the OpenCV visual computing library, I contemplated that, in the visual identification of microorganisms, the rate of effectiveness of the computer could reach and even exceed that of a specialist, due to the two-dimensional nature of the images generated by optical microscopes. An ideal field for the automation of this task would be the high frequency monitoring of water quality in surface bodies, through the identification of the state and quantity of microbioindicators present in water samples, a measurement parameter of the changes of water quality could be designed. With the first sketches of this system, I went deeper into the subject, the work done by the NGO Natura and the ted talk of Esther Duflo allowed me to understand the importance of ensuring basic needs in the development of communities. Although the ideal would be the implementation of treatment plants, it turns out to be an economically unfeasible option.
The traditional analysis of water quality usually consists of the use of a set of tests on specific parameters that individually do not generate a conclusive result; these sets easily exceed the ten tests and require a large amount of both human and financial resources that make it unfeasible as a high frequency monitoring method for developing countries. Given these facts and analyzing the weaknesses of the original idea, several doubts arise. If the identification of microbioindicators could generate a sufficiently representative parameter of water quality to consider the system as a serious solution to implement, the size of the samples could be it is very small and not very representative in relation to the statistical universe, the variation in the presence of microorganisms due to factors other than pollution, such as climatological, hydrological and geological, and finally the difficulty in finding similar previous works forced me to rethink the system. After a review of several articles, the concept of molecular footprint appears, a common method in the measurement of microbiological diversity, flow cytometry also emerges as an innovative method in this field providing more information on the conformation of microbial communities in the analysis. These two techniques added to the recording of microscopic images provide a wide variety of information on the characteristics present in the microbiological diversity of a body of water. These measured characteristics, in contrast with meteorological, geological and hydrological data of local agencies, through analysis tools and data mining, would reveal the patterns in the changes of microbiological diversity in relation to the natural changes in their environment; Once these patterns have been identified in the natural behavior of microscopic ecosystems, sudden "abnormal" behaviors in the monitored ecosystems could reveal negative impacts on the body of water, immediately alerting neighboring communities to use alternative sources of water, given that simple purification by boiling or chlorination may not be enough to ensure its consumption. The project would also allow to understand the changes suffered by microbiological ecosystems in response to climate change and to carry out studies of individual species thanks to the recording of microscopic images.
Once the strengths were reviewed, it was necessary to consider the weaknesses of the system, again, seeing it with a cool head, it turns out that several of the tasks that make up the project are overwhelming. Even with the necessary financial resources, a correct implementation can not be guaranteed due to the need to Several specialists, and even overcome these difficulties, it is not right to give so many resources and efforts to a single project with very specific purposes. The ideal would be to carry out an organic implementation that derives the greatest benefit from the efforts to be developed, which is why the current proposal identifies achievable and realistic objectives, while seeking to benefit and promote similar projects that are based on the analysis of data.
In the previous version I focus too much on certain technical sections that I forget to develop and explain the essence of the idea, I do not seek to create alternatives to data sources such as UNEP-Live, GEOSS, etc. But to make these portals aware that they provide their data in a format suitable for use in data analysis programs. As for the SDGs, with the adaptations I have made to achieve a more feasible idea, I have sacrificed the direct actions that were taken on the SDGs, but I must emphasize that the indirect impacts are potentially high, the authors of the proposals that I mentioned would directly benefit from the work done by this proposal if they wanted to implement their projects in the region, by offering the ETL manuals both in English and in the language of origin, these authors could implement their work without the need to know the language of origin nor have to visit the region. Perhaps the direct actions of the proposal are questionable, but the synergy that is created among the researchers and projects that generate direct actions is noteworthy.
I appreciate very much the time you have given to my proposed. Have a good day…