The Forest Scribe

SIMONTANA, a Spatial Based Technology To Help Organize Forest Cover Data

The team from Pojok Iklim – Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has developed the National Forest Monitoring System (SIMONTANA), a technology to help government agencies, forestry researchers, and even the general public to access spatially-based data and information on forest resources.

In this endeavor the Pojok Iklim – KLHK and related parties – such as the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) and the National Space Agency (LAPAN) – have opened themselves up to criticism, suggestions, and feedback, especially from those who have tried SIMONTANA through its official website KLHK.

“We want the data to be used by many parties for mutual progress. We can share the methods, but we hope we can receive feedback on those methods so that we can make them better,” said Orbita Roswintiarti, LAPAN Deputy for Remote Sensing.

Belinda Arunarwati Margono, technical staff of IPSDH, Directorate General of Planning, Ministry of Environment and Forestry said that parties wishing to obtain detailed data access must follow a set of rules established by the Ministry.

The team also provides an integrity pact that has to be agreed by those wishing to access the data, because there is a risk of hacking and changing data by certain parties, she added.

“Providing access to this data is relatively easy, we want it to be open to the public. But there are certain risks, for example the data can be changed. We have the responsibility to make sure the data is safe. Thus, we provide an integrity pact, and there are rules to be followed,” said Belinda.

Belinda also added that general users who only want to see forest data without having to submit to an integrity pact can use the map service feature that provides a certain level of access, allows the creation of a  layout, and to download it.

“If any general users want to access, they can use the map service feature. With map services users can access, create layouts, save in pdf, and can be used for other individual activities. While there are still many tools we need to improve the user experience, the security of the data remains our priority. So if it’s just for sightseeing, people can use the map service feature,” added Belinda.

Access to map services is also relatively easy and free of charge, with users only needing to enter the SIMONTANA page and search for the desired data. In addition, users can also provide feedback in the feedback column located at the top left of the page after registering or logging in.

According to the Pojok Iklim team presentation at a webinar they held on Wednesday (26/8), the aim of SIMONTANA  is in particular, to provide land cover data in a series, including featuring changes in the form of deforestation, reforestation and forest degradation for planning and monitoring of forest resources and the environment which can reflect the changes between periods.

In addition, SIMONTANA can also be used as a media for reporting Greenhouse Gas inventory, reporting in the Forest Resource Assessment – FAO, compiling the Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL), and other international needs.

Arief Darmawan, a lecturer at the Department of Forestry, University of Lampung who also took part in the webinar said that SIMONTANA could really help the world of research, but he felt that SIMONTANA could also become a reference for the general public in dealing with hoax news.

“The general public is very informed, especially from social media. Data from SIMONTANA will become data that can be used as a reference in preventing confusing news or hoax, especially those related to deforestation and forest degradation. Therefore, strengthening social engineering at SIMONTANA needs to be carried out continuously,” said Arief.

Last June, SIMONTANA won the achievement of being included in the Top 99 Public Service Innovations in 2020 according to the Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (Kemenpan-RB).

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