1. Access to Information as a basis for improved and informed land governance
  2. Land Portal Foundation as 'data aggregator'
  3. Land Portal services
  4. Open Data Principles and the Linked Information Ecosystem
  5. Land Portal Open Data Support Service

 

Access to Information as a basis for improved and informed land governance

The Land Portal Foundation believes that access to information is crucial to achieve good land governance and to secure land rights for landless and vulnerable people. 

Finding solid evidence upon which to develop land-related laws, policies, and practices can be difficult and involve a lot of work. Land-related data and information available online is often fragmented and dispersed across various websites and databases. Without access or knowledge of where to find crucial information, poor landholders, in particular, face barriers in making their voices heard at national, regional and international levels. These landholders also may have limited knowledge about their land rights and other land governance matters affecting their daily lives. Addressing land governance issues is crucial for sustainable development, but is threatened by the lack of information needed to hold decision-makers accountable. 

The Land Portal Foundation's mission is to improve access to land-related data and information. The Land Portal website gathers information from a broad range of information providers. This information is organized and visualized in ways that are intuitive and usable for researchers, private sector actors and policy makers at global and local levels. The information provided can strengthen research, advocacy, and policy-making efforts by enabling a better understanding of land governance issues affecting various countries and regions. The information available on Land Book, for example, is categorized by both countries and themes to allow users to gain a deeper understanding of a broad range of land-related issues.

Land Portal Foundation as 'data aggregator'

The Land Portal Foundation collects and disseminates knowledge and data from various information providers around the world - from global organizations tolocal organizations - on the Land Portal website. The Land Portal Foundation is an online resource that directs users to the great variety of sources that publish land related information online. The Land Portal website serves as an intuitive gateway - a Portal - to the different information providers on land related issues. The Land Portal website hosts metadata (information about information) that is linked directly to the websites of data provides. However, Land Portal does not actually produce original information itself.

Land Portal Services

All the information that the Land Portal links to is organized through the three main services the Land Portal website provides:

The Land Book gathers statistical and numerical information and provides a thematic and country-level overview of key contextual and actionable land governance information, revealing both trends and gaps in available information.

The Land Library is a free virtual repository of bibliographic and multimedia resources with highly curated metadata.

The Land Debate serves to stimulate debate with others in the land community through sharing news and events, blog posts and online discussion. The online discussion is a powerful tool to expose knowledge that has not been already captured in publications or datasets.

Open Data Principles & the Linked Information Ecosystem

Every single piece of information available on the Land Portal is enriched according to Open Data standards and principles. This means that the metadata - the information describing what the information is about - is arranged through commonly agreed standards - making sure that all the information is categorized so that users can determine which dataset, publication, and other resources are relevant to their needs. By applying these Open Data principles and standards, the information becomes more searchable and discoverable for users.

Open Data principles and standards do not only make information more easy to find and accessible on the user-end, but are also critical for machines to be able to read and understand the information. Currently the amount of knowledge published online is increasing exponentially, so we need the assistance of machines to be able to digest, analyze, and organize this wealth of information in a effective manner.  By using standardarized approaches to classifying information, a computer is able to understand what the information is about and what information is needed to help users find this information quickly and efficiently. Machines are able to link different online databases together and are able to find similarities and connections between resouces  available in different databases.

When many online databases - on both global and local levels - are linked together, we establish an 'information ecosystem'. It is the Land Portal's mission to stimulate and enable the move from siloed and stand-alone databases to such an online information ecosystem. This will improve the potential impact of each knowledge piece significantly because all the fragmented data sources are linked together.

Land Portal Open Data Support Service

The Land Portal Foundation is willing to work with many information providers on land to publish and expose their information according to Open Data principles- ultimately allowing their information to become a part of the land information ecosystem.

The Land Portal Foundations supports land-focused organizations around the world in adopting and implementing Open Data standards and principles. These standards include LandVoc, a standardized vocabulary on land that topically classifies resources based on subject matter using keywords. Using a controlled vocabulary as LandVoc ensures that all information is topically classified in the same way (regardless of different languages, the use of synonyms or others) and makes sure that the keywords also can be read by machines. Therefore machines will also be able to understand what the resource is about. This makes sure that the land-related information in any database can be linked together to other databases, because machines can understand which resources address the same topics.

Information from local organizations, particularly organizations in the Global South, can be difficult to find and access. To address this issue, the Land Portal Foundation  partners with and provides technical support to many organizations in the Global South.  The Land Portal helps local organizations to publish, organize and (technically) expose their information according to Open Data principles - making it more easy to find on a global level and linkable to global databases.