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Issues of scale and uncertainty in landscape scale data products

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EBDW01 - Current status and key questions in Landscape Decision making

Policy-makers often exploit gridded data products when making land-use decisions. These products provide information about the spatial variation of many factors associated with geology, natural resources, soil health, climate, topography and the potential occurrence of natural hazards. These products might be integrated within mathematical, statistical or machine learning models to answer specific questions regarding the need to protect the land because of its value for productive agriculture or mineral exploitation, the potential hazards associated with developing the land and the suitability of sites for particular types of infrastructure. The British Geological Survey produces many two- and three-dimensional data products (see https://www.bgs.ac.uk/data/mapViewers/home.html). We also integrate these products in decision support tools addressing many land-use questions such as the suitability of land for sustainable drainage schemes, the need for remediation of brownfield sites, the suitability of land for renewable energy production and queries regarding the cost and environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects. I will describe examples of such decision support tools particularly focusing on the issues of uncertainty in the products used to create them, the propagation of this uncertainty upon integration of these products and the potential for a mismatch of scales between the different products and the policy question being addressed. I will discuss strategies to address these issues and the information and metadata that must be provided with data products to facilitate such strategies.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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