As part of its objective to support the sustainable planning and management of marine and coastal biodiversity in Pacific Island States, MACBIO assists partner governments in their efforts to strengthen GIS capacity and address the demand for license-free spatial data tools in the region. Based on the open-source application QGIS, the QBook is a free, dynamic, Moodle-based, on and offline training hub and marketplace. This QGIS “Cookbook” provides easy access to GIS training materials, data and resources for GIS beginners and practitioners that are interested to increase their capacities and share their experience. Qbook moodle through close collaboration with SPC-GSD, USP and a growing range of partner organisations the QBook Moodle aims to provide a conduit for a variety of spatial data applications, such as mapping and monitoring the status of natural resources and their uses, e.g. as part of marine and terrestrial spatial planning.
The Qbook Moodle is centered upon eight building blocks , these are:
Accessibility is key in terms of capacity building. Having a baseline to which all parties can openly access is the foundation of which the QBOOK strives off. Given the Pacific's need for GIS capacity building, the QBOOK uses a variety of spatial software in terms of content delivery. QGIS plays a big role in content delivery but it is important to clarify that stakeholders/developers are not in any way against licensing software's. The QBOOk uses QGIS due to accessibility, developers envisage a future where we have licensed tutorials mirroring existing examples. Users are free to choose between open source or license software upon completion.
GIS in the Pacific is often project based, whether governmental or not. The QBOOK provides options using a variety of software's out there. Keep in mind the platform is open to suggestions and continuously evolving. Given the QBOOK's multi-stakeholder approach, developers aim at distributing administration among key partners which would promise continuous content and up keep..
Linked to existing efforts in Pacific. The GIS Community includes personal contact networks, monthly user group meetings, annual conference, and newsletter. The objective is to enhance the learning opportunities for local GIS users and managers. The QBOOK provides open source data and uses local scenarios which are tailored to relevant Pacific Island examples. Existing platforms often use overseas data, the QBOOK strives to make GIS capacity building relevant for Pacific region users.
Inclusive, but condensed. Effort is needed to facilitate communication among different organizations that provide capacity building and development expertise. The lack of communication has led to overlap, repetition and the loss of gains made by both local and external organizations. Therefore one of the main attempts is to avoid overlapping and repetition of information. While there are some resources available, these are scattered, static and often outdated. In contrast, we propose an interactive, community driven approach. Given the QBOOK's continuous evolving nature, developers invite any interested stakeholders keen on collaboration.
Portable version possible: Includes downloading files of software and data. There is a strong tendency to desktop based GIS tools: Web-based Tools are likely to not be applicable in most of the countries due to technical limitations, such as frequent power outs or limited bandwidth, or internet access limited to government ministries and departments.
Crowdsourced to different users. Capacity building should reach a variety of groups including policy makers, managers, technical staff, researchers, educators. At the same time the approach can become a platform and “market place” for projects, case studies and contributions by these users, highlighting, publishing and sharing their work.
Moderated, quality assurance. Platform itself is not sustainable. Community driven platform often need administrators, who continuously provide and organize content. The Qbook uses a collaborative approach which see's content screened across a wide stakeholder group, content therefore becomes more applicable for a wider user community.
The QBOOK is constantly evolving and embodying stakeholder interest. Developers are constantly shocked at results by both students and often user content request. Relevance was never in question as GIS can be applied across any sector, the challenge now is nurturing the QBOOK's growth to maximize regional GIS capacity .