According to the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) approximately 60 percent of the data contained in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) has missing or incomplete boundary information. As a result, global analyses based on the WDPA can be inaccurate, and professionals responsible for natural resource planning and priority setting must rely on incomplete geospatial data sets.
To begin to address this problem the World Data Center for Biodiversity and Ecology, in cooperation with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center (RMGSC), the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), the Global Earth Observation System, and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) sponsored a Protected Area (PA) workshop in Asuncion, Paraguay, in November 2007. The primary goal of this workshop was to train representatives from eight South American countries on the use of the Global Data Toolset (GDT) for reviewing and editing PA data. Use of the GDT will allow PA experts to compare their national data to other data sets, including non-governmental organization (NGO) and WCMC data, in order to highlight inaccuracies or gaps in the data, and then to apply any needed edits, especially in the delineation of the PA boundaries. In addition, familiarizing the participants with the web-enabled GDT will allow them to maintain and improve their data after the workshop. Once data edits have been completed the GDT will also allow the country authorities to perform any required review and validation processing. Once validated, the data can be used to update the global WDPA and IABIN databases, which will enhance analysis on global and regional levels.