Wetland managers and scientists review the SWOS portal

Towards the end of 2017, the SWOS team invited a selection of users to review the initial version of the SWOS portal. The aim of the user review was to engage key users in the development of the portal in order to enhance its value and user-friendliness. Overall, respondents were positive about the possibilities provided by the SWOS portal. They made suggestions for technical improvements and potential uses. The SWOS team is grateful for the feedback received and is currently working on an updated version of the portal.

The SWOS service

The most important objective of SWOS is to provide a user-friendly wetland monitoring and information service, that is developed with and for its users. With an innovative approach, SWOS aims to supply stakeholders with harmonized wetland information to support management and reporting for environmental policies in different regions and at different scales. The service will demonstrate opportunities for improved wetland management, planning and decision making, promoting the integration of wetlands across key policy areas.

The SWOS portal will provide wetland managers, policy-makers, commercial users and scientists a unique entry point to locate, access, process and connect wetland information. This includes maps and indicators of wetland condition and changes, visualized in an interactive map viewer. This way, SWOS aims to support fast and easy access to satellite imagery.

User survey results

Nearly 30 users from across Europe, Africa and other parts of the world took part in the review of the portal. The majority of respondents are working in the public sector, for civil society organizations or universities and are active in the field of wetland management and conservation. The survey addressed the general functionality of the portal, the service case approach as well as the products and portal use.

The survey revealed that users appreciate the portal’s potential to support their organizations in improved retrieval of geospatial data and better integration of wetland information into decision making. Several respondents commented on the usefulness of the service case approach and highlighted its value, for example to managers of Ramsar sites. Recommendations for further portal development included increasing the coverage of wetland sites, improving and simplifying the descriptions of products and metadata and adding more information, for example about related policies or economic data. There were also many suggestions for technical upgrades.

Users reviewed the functionalities of the SWOS portal

Thank you to all users!

The SWOS team would like to thank all respondents for taking the time to provide valuable feedback. We took note of all feedback and recommendations. Many of the suggestions will be integrated in the upcoming version of the SWOS portal. Other ideas will be saved for future development, as not all changes can be accommodated during the lifetime of this project.

You can find the latest updates on the SWOS service and the portal at this website. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter via @SWOS_H2020 or Facebook.

By Eef Silver, Wetlands International