Mekong River Commission launches interactive and easy-to-use Mekong data portal
Vientiane, Lao PDR, 9 April 2020 – The Mekong River Commission (MRC) today launched a revitalised online data service platform that assembles, analyses, and visualises data about the health and condition of the Mekong River.
The platform, called MRC’s Data and Information Services Portal or Data Portal, is designed to help governments, development practitioners, private developers, academics and citizens better understand critical issues in the areas of hydrology, sediment, water quality, fisheries, ecological heath, climate change, flood and drought in the Mekong River basin.
“Accessible, easy-to-use and quality assured data can contribute to better planning and decision-making that leads to significant economic and societal benefits,” Dr Winai Wangpimool, Director of Technical Support Division of the MRC Secretariat, said. “Our Data Portal is a one-stop service window that provides a platform for transforming data into evidence-based stories on Mekong critical issues that offer the public with better information to shape policies and actions that matter to them most."
The MRC’s Data Portal aggregates and visualises data collected by the MRC’s river basin water monitoring networks and other official data from the four MRC member countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam – and its upstream dialogue partner, China. The exchange and sharing of the data are governed by the MRC’s Procedures for Data, Information Exchange and Sharing (PDIES) – the standard procedures that operationalise data and information exchange among the four countries – where the MRC Secretariat is the designed official data custodian.
The platform represents a storehouse of data, where at least 10,333 datasets are currently available. The datasets include current and historical hydrometeorological and climate time-series, spatial maps, atlases, photographs and sectorial datasets that can be easily searched and filtered.
The modernised MRC’s Data Portal allows users to customise their own visualisations to convey key information at a glance across countries and sectors through a series of time. For example, asking “How did the water level along key Mekong stations change in the last 30 years?” quickly produces the answers in a format that visualises the data. Users can likewise visualise time-series data using an interactive plotting tool, download their visualisation and follow up with a secure data request to receive the required raw data.
While data inventory and online interactive plotting tool are available for free, access to the raw data is guided by the MRC’s PDIES. Data requesters are required to complete a license agreement and pay a small data handling fee and a data fee. All of these can be securely and easily done online.
Interested users can access the MRC’s Data Portal here: https://portal.mrcmekong.org/home
The improved MRC’s Data Portal is a part of a larger exercises the Commission has been doing to reinvigorate its data, information, modelling, forecasting and communication systems.
Launched in mid-March last year, the reinvigoration exercise aims to provide faster reactions to address emerging changes, such as sudden water release from reservoirs in the upper basin, to track basin state and development, and to strengthen one of the MRC’s key roles as the regional knowledge hub.
To date, the MRC’s governing body, Joint Committee, has approved the work’s design concept that assesses the current state of data and information systems in house and proposes what need to be done at which stage.
The concept is now being used to inform the Organisation’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 and its Basin Development Strategy for 2021-2030 for funding support and future implementation.
Note to editors:
The Mekong River Commission is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The organization serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region.