The features used in the development and delivery of the information product and its services are not new or created for this project. What is new is the application of these techniques to the integrated management of information of this kind.
The contextual planning methodology behind this project -- using lateral linkages, cross sectoral analysis, inter disciplinary approaches and highlighting complex patterns of relationship between issues -- is an important development in the practical application of sustainable development principles.
This project uses complex systems to explore complex issues, demonstrating the potential of the new global information systems applied to local regional development problems. It aims to expand planning and development approaches within the target sectors (government, non-government and private sector) in developing countries, utilising mixed-media and multimedia, to make available the large volumes of information required.
In particular we would draw attention to the following features of this project:
- Incorporation into text databases of extensive information on both development pressures and responses, these being integrally linked to databases which describe the state of species, habitats and ecosystems;
- Extensive use of hyperlinked text in normally unrelated datasets, and links to appropriate graphics and other information such as clickable maps;
- "Soft" links enabling query-searches into certain datasets and/or listservs, or the entire WWW.
- Identification of "vicious cycles" of problems and "serendipitous cycles" of strategies in the areas of environment and development;
- Use of user-generated 3D displays (VRML) to present both problem, strategy and organisation complexes is likely to improve comprehension and access to the relational data characteristic of environmental information and policy options and institutional networks;
- Development of mechanisms which allow user modification and annotation of data supplied, both within their own systems, and by returning information to the data custodians and owners;
- Active involvement of users in the further development of both the information available and the functionality of the information services;
- Development of interfaces between non-automated and automated communications media.
- Through a wide network of collaborative partners (who are supplying information to us and interacting with the data in a manner which does not impact on the accounts), the project partners are effectively working with hundreds of organizations.