PREP: An Open Data Platform and a Partnership for Resilience
The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP) is a collaboration between government, international and private entities, seeking to empower a data-driven approach to building climate resilience. PREP aims to help planners, investors, and resource managers more easily incorporate climate risks into their decisions by enhancing access to relevant data and facilitating collective learning.
The initiative emerged from the urgent need of two cities to tackle their common threat-climate change. Sonoma County (California) and Caldas (Colombia) are cities with similar ecological landscapes and agricultural resources. Experts from both cities collaborated in order to identify the best climate data available, determine the risks they face and share resiliency planning best practices. Sonoma shared its climate risk data, and Caldas shared its watershed management planning information, enabling both to learn from the other. In this context, as Janet Ranganathan, vice president for science and research at World Resources Institute, stated:
PREP will leverage open data and open-source computing to help planners build resilience in their communities by connecting those making decisions with the data they need, in a format they can use.
PREP convenes government collaborators, tech companies, civil society and local governments around the world to create more resilient communities through:
An open, accessible platform
While abundant climate data exists, it often resides in government and research silos or is overly technical, with insufficient guidance on which data to use and how to use it. PREP has released a beta platform as a first step in an iterative process to work with communities around the world to enhance data accessibility to support communities’ climate-resilience needs.
The platform was developed on the open-source infrastructure of Resource Watch by a team of science, technology, and climate-resilience specialists from Federal agencies, the private sector, and international civil society organizations. The platform allows users select and visualize an initial set of Federal datasets from climate.data.gov and other relevant data. There are data sets that visualize social vulnerabilities to environmental hazards in each state, ones that show impervious surface coverage across the country, and others tracking climate trends around the globe.
PREP data explorer showing costal power facilities and areas exposed to flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge.
Designed by communities, for communities
PREP’s platform is being launched with collaborating communities in Sonoma County (California), Puget Sound (Washington) and Porto Alegre (Brazil). Over the next year, PREP will work with other communities, while continually adding new datasets and case studies as they become available. Eventually, the platform can also help communities like Sonoma and Caldas find each other, connect, and share data and stories of the risks they face and how they are building resilience.
Both a Platform and a Partnership
PREP is not just a data platform, as it also features working groups including the world’s leading researchers and data providers, such as federal agencies. This allows planners consuming climate data to interact directly with the data providers, with both groups learning from each other. Analysts can get climate change data tailored to their location and context to make smart planning decisions, while science translators can learn which tools can help them meet the tailored needs of local planners.
In the next planned upgrade of the platform, users will be able to create customized dashboards showing live indicators of climate risk, access and visualize data without worrying about storage shortages or software challenges, and create a learning environment with other communities.
PREP data explorer showing the historical (1971-2000) distribution of temperature for the hottest 2% of days (about seven days each year).