1. WADI

WADI stands for WASCAL Data Infrastructure. It refers to the superstructure of hardware, software, network resources and Information Technology (IT) services set up by WASCAL to enable the collection, storage, management, discovery, access, sharing, and dissemination of primary and secondary research data related to environment and climate change within the West African region. In other words, WADI is the WASCAL Data Centre for data and related services provision. The data are accessible through the Portal at https://wascal-dataportal.org. A mnemotechnic redirection link is also available: www.wadi.wascal.org.

a. Objectives

Delivering research and science-based services on climate change and adapted land use as targeted by WASCAL requires collecting and integrating a significant amount of data from various domains (e.g. Climate, Hydrology, Agriculture, Socio-economics, environmental sciences, geography, etc.) in order to model, compute, test and come up with realistic scenarios and implementable mitigation and adaptation strategies.The main interest of WADI is twofolds: (i) facilitate the acquisition, provision, integration, management and exchange of these heterogeneous data resources mainly for the delivery and dissemination of WASCAL services and (ii) develop a regional data hub connecting together data providers (owners/distributors), data users (scientists/non-scientists) and data managers in order to face the data scarcity and contribute to filling the data gap in the region. 

b. Services

Thanks to this superstructure wirelessly interlinked to the Observation Network Automatic Weather and Hydro Stations,  the WASCAL Data Centre or Data Infrastructure provides: 

  1. Regional Data Collection services (e.g. automatic data collection from Automatic Weather Stations provided to member countries by WASCAL), 
  2. Regional Data storage services (tools and free storage space are offered to WA researchers and students), and 
  3. Regional Data Discovery, access, sharing, and Dissemination services. 
  4. The WASCAL Data Centre can also deliver data mirroring and platform hosting services to projects or institutional stakeholders (e.g. provide tools and storage space to securely host/mirror stakeholders data, or host and deploy data platforms for stakeholders).
  5. For the next five years, the WASCAL data strategic plan is looking forward to offering additional services regarding Data Integration and Standardization, Climate Data Computation and Visualization, demand-driven Decision Support services and the implementation of the WeDataMIND (West African Distributed Data and Metadata Infrastructure and Networks for data Discovery and Dissemination) initiative with WADI as key cornerstone of the infrastructure.

c. Portals

These services are delivered through tools like 

  • the WASCAL Data Discovery Portal, 
  • the WASCAL Geoportal for graphical and spatial visualization of datasets, and 
  • the Central Metadata Catalogue for the provision of standardized metadata and upload of collected datasets, etc. 

d. Actors

The main actors involved are:

(i) Data providers: For the provision of metadata and datasets to WADI, WASCAL can rely on strong regional networks including :

  • WASCAL Observation Networks (hydrological-meteorological, remote sensing, biodiversity and socio economic observation networks) which were set up in three research catchments 
  • WASCAL Graduate Research Programmes (GRPs) accounting 100 (one hundred) students per batch conducting on-field data collection in the frame of the implementation of their Master or PhD theses
  • WASCAL Competence Center scientists contributing to different national, regional and global initiatives gathering data and generating climate change projections for the West African domain
  • WASCAL regional Data Sharing agreements with National Meteorogical Agencies which accept to share some Raw Data and  Derived Data on WADI under common accepted data sharing policies. Agreements have already been signed with 9 over 10 of WASCAL member countries
  • Groups of international scientists/researchers from Germany involved in different research activities initiated within WASCAL Core Research Program (e.g. University of Bonn, Research Centre Juelich, etc.), and from additional countries like France and Netherlands contributing to various WASCAL projects.

(ii) Data users: Scientists and non-scientists from around the World (here is an exhaustive list of countries from which people have accessed WADI: https://wascal.org/WADI_usage/index.html. The link points to a choropleth map of WADI usage and also provides a detailed table of data searches performed per country) 

(iii) Data Managers: Formerly implemented and administrated by two Data Managers from Germany, and then co-managed with the participation of WASCAL staff through the establishment of a Data Management Group, WADI is now has full control of WASCAL Data Management department since April 2018. However, a good collaboration is maintained with our German partners that still provide some temporary support like forwarding data requests from ancient users that are not aware of the change yet.

e. Impacts

Usage: Several people from dozens of countries have conducted data search or requests on WADI. Most of them are from Research and Education institutions like Universities, centre of research, located in African, American, Asian, and European countries. An exhaustive list of all countries countries interacting with WADI data can be consulted at the following link: https://wascal.org/WADI_usage/index.html.

Internationality: WADI, being a regional quite well-known data centre accessed throughout around the world, contributes to the visibility of WASCAL by supporting African and international researchers in discovering and accessing data availed by WASCAL or its partners on WADI. WADI will also provide the IT infrastructure necessary for an online delivery and dissemination of some of WASCAL Climate and environmental services to policy makers and communities in addition to regular scientists. By doing so, WADI supports the approach of WASCAL as an international programme.