Dear Land Portal users,
First and foremost, on behalf of the Land Portal team, I would like to thank those of you for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to complete our user survey. We are continuously trying to improve our services, and unlike many other websites, the Land Portal is a community in which dialogue and exchange of ideas are the cornerstone of what we do every day. Your feedback on our services is therefore crucial and invaluable to us!
The diversity of the Land Portal user community never ceases to amaze us. For this survey alone, people from 53 different countries - with a large majority in the global South - responded and gave us their feedback in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Not only is our user community diverse in terms of language or location, but also in terms of occupation. Over a third of the respondents are researchers and one fifth are land and development practitioners, with the rest of the sample spread across 7 different broad types of occupation.
You can imagine that it is no easy task to satisfy the needs for each individual in such an incredibly diverse audience. Nonetheless, 75% of the respondents indicated that the Land Portal had improved the quality of their work, and many indicated that the Land Portal is a highly trusted source. This reflects an outstanding impact of the Land Portal as a service and information provider. We are also very happy to hear that when asked, on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely you are to recommend the Land Portal to a friend or colleague, we score an average of 8.75! This is an excellent starting point and we will strive to keep this up.
The feedback you’ve given us is incredibly rich and has given us a lot to consider in planning our future activities and priorities. Since we very much appreciate you all taking the time to provide your feedback and openness on your experience with the Land Portal, we thought it was only fitting that we take this opportunity to reply and be open on how we plan to move forward.
Depth and diversity of information
Many of our respondents indicated that they value the depth and diversity of information offered on the Land Portal, suggesting that the Portal plays an important role in the information ecosystem to increase access to information:
Land Portal has helped to remove gaps in data availability.
This is at the core of our mission, so we are happy to see that this is acknowledged and appreciated by our users. But we can do better. To provide more targeted approaches to individual countries and contexts, we are piloting our new country-level “State of Land Information” research. Through this research, we, with the essential help of local partners, carefully explore the available information to identify gaps. The result of these research projects will be a completely open tool for anyone to use, re-use and build upon, which will also considerably increase the quality of our country portfolios. Stay tuned for the first pilot reports coming out this fall for several countries in East Africa.
Improved search and language functionalities
These last few years, our team has worked hard and rapidly increased the amount of data and information on our webpages. We will continue to commit ourselves to provide access to more sources and perspectives. The State of Land Information research initiative is only one of the ways we plan to address this. However, we are very cautious that with over 600 indicators and almost 50,000 library resources and more, there is a real risk of an “information overload” when visiting the Portal. This was also one of your points of feedback: the search and navigation functionalities of the platform can be improved. This is a feature we definitely plan to improve as soon as possible. Of course, with a platform as complex as the Land Portal, this requires a great deal of thought and advanced developments.
Comparing land situations at region, national and sub-national level
The comparative nature of the Land Portal is highly valued by many of you:
We can compare different regions, while planning projects focusing on land rights and investments by using various datasets.
Several people actually requested for more comparative analysis possibilities, also at the subregional level. Of course we have considered this aspect ourselves. Land is not only measured at the national-level, and with an audience from so many different countries in the world we would be remiss not to respond to this demand. You may have already seen we have released a Request for Proposals to integrate a spatial component to the Land Portal platform recently. We hope to bring you spatial data visualized on maps soon, in a way that you do not need to be a GIS-expert to understand or analyze!
Providing an up-to-date overview of land situations
One thing that we weren’t as aware of before the results came in is that many of you use the Land Portal to keep abreast of the land situation with regard to a particular country or topic:
Land Portal helps me stay up-to-date.
We will of course continue to scour the web and cross post news, blogs and articles every day. We see a big role for our regional liaisons, in Latin America, West Africa and for Lusophone speaking countries, to keep news and other information sources in Spanish, French and Portuguese up to date.
User engagement on the platform
Respondents see the Land Portal as useful in promoting their own work, for example:
The Land Portal gave me ideas on how to promote information exchange and sharing within Laos and for the international audience.
Many of you are also active contributors to the Land Portal and provide content as an active Land Portal user. However, several respondents indicated that the fact that this is a community, crowd-driven platform can be made more evident and the Portal should invite people more to participate and to contribute. You appreciate that the Land Portal is an interactive space, but you want to be able to do more:
There should be provision of facilities for feedback and queries from readers like me.
Your enthusiasm to contribute and your call for increased engagement is very much appreciated by us. We are thus developing plans for increased user engagement and how we can make our website more intuitive and interactive for you to use and for you to provide your feedback on a continuous basis.
Even though our survey is now closed, we strongly encourage each and every one of you to write us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. We hope that this update has been useful and insightful for yourselves as well. We will be sure to keep you posted on the next steps.
Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Team Leader