Geospatial Data for Controversial Area

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A New Open Geospatial Database of Water Resources in the Himalayas Could Provide Governments in the Region with a Clearer Picture of Threats on These Resources, Cross-border Tensions in the Region Have Limited Sharing of Data

Infrastructure projects, such as dams, could have environmental impacts, leading to flooding, water shortage and pollution in the region, said The Third Pole, an online forum for sharing data on Himalayan water resources. On top of these, information sharing about water resources in the region is constrained by “historic tensions and mistrust” between countries in the region, it said.

The web site, data.thethirdpole, has 125 datasets on locations of hydropower stations, status of glaciers, groundwater and natural disasters in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. It was launched by Earth Journalism Network, a community of environmental journalists, in partnership with The Third Pole.

The web site gets data from the World Resources Institute (WRI), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Asian Development Bank and United Nations Environmental Programmes, among others.

The Himalayan region, spanning from Afghanistan to Myanmar, is the source of Asia’s main river systems, which provide water for 1.3 billion people in the region.

“Complex datasets owned by various government and non-government institutions have been converted to simple formats which can be used to create maps and graphics,” the web site says.

Apart from this web site, others have set up databases on the region. ICIMOD has a database of water resources in the Himalayan region , while WRI has mapped risks to water resources globally.

Source: Future Gove Asia Pacific

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