Information and Communication
The Training and Information programme area was reconceptualised as ‘Information and Communication’. This change lays emphasis on the critical role data and information play in supporting decision making by village communities and other stakeholders in development processes. The philosophy of ‘open data’ underlies all aspects of our work. The com¬munication component reinforces the belief that information is not merely to be collected, ana¬lysed and documented, but most importantly it has to reach the intended audience in a form that is most readily useful for them.
Mapping and Geographical Information Systems
We are developing a database of spatial layers such as locations of villages where we work, administrative boundaries, locations and perimeters of other features of interest etc. We support various programmes of Keystone in utilising maps and geographical analysis in their work. We have supported the Livelihoods programme in mapping individual land parcels using GPS and combining this with data from revenue maps to produce maps that are being used in the process of awarding individual titles under the Forest Rights Act. This application of GPS and GIS has the potential to reduce the expenses and effort involved in traditional land surveys.
We conduct training programmes for staff as well as other agencies on using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and GIS in their work. We promote the use of Free and Open Source Software such as QGIS and freeware such as Google Earth, as well as open data formats such as shp and kml. We attended the Geo for Good 2015 User Conference organised by Google at Mountain View, CA, USA to share our experience and to learn about the latest developments in the field of mapping and remote sensing.
Data in Keystone is managed in spreadsheets, documents, access databases, on paper etc. depending on the nature of the project and team members’ capacity. We have streamlined some of the commonly used datasets such as rainfall and water quality data to a standardised form. These serve as examples for good data management practices. We have worked with volunteers to develop databases of the population surveys of Indigenous communities in PostgreSQL and to visualise them in a web based platform using Shiny and R.
Given that Keystone’s work is publicly funded, it is appropriate that the outputs are available in the public domain. However, it is important to provide appropriate attribution to all the work for openness and accountability. We have chosen to license all outputs of Keystone including data, publications, reports, images, videos etc. under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) open license. This means that anyone can reuse Keystone’s work in any form, for any purpose, in any medium and under any license provided they attribute the original work as Keystone’s. This is in keeping with trends internationally on sharing content in the public domain. As a corollary of this licensing, we are able to partner with portals such as the India Biodiversity Portal, Western Ghats Portal and India Water Portal, and share our data there.
Application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
We are continuously exploring applications of ICT for various purposes. Radio Kotagiri, the Community Radio Station in Keystone is a flagship intervention in this regard. We provide technical support to the Radio team in running the Station including studio operations, data management etc. We have used a Raspberry Pi to set up a low power consuming NAS server for the Radio Station. We have also worked with commercial software developers to implement Open Data Kit based field data collection system on Android tablets for the health programme. We are also promoting the use of GPS-capable Android phones for collecting geographical data for our field surveys.
- Data and Mapping
Over the last few years we have been proactive in publishing all our content under Creative Commons Licenses, revamping our websites with documents easily accessible online and partnering with open data portals such as India Biodiversity Portal/ Western Ghats Portal and India Water Portal to share data and documents. During ...Read more ...
- Information Technology
On the Information Technology front, the Community Radio is our flagship intervention at present. We have been involved in developing the hardware and software set up for smooth operations in the studio considering the unique demands of working in a hill environment that is prone to frequent power outages and ...Read more ...