Information infrastructures and public goods: Analytical and practical implications for SDI

Margunn Aanestad, Eric Monteiro, Petter Nielsen
2007 Information Technology for Development  
Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) are envisioned to increase efficiency, transparency and equity, but realising this potential has proven problematic. We argue that insights from studies of large-scale, integrated but distributed information systems, dubbed "information infrastructures," are applicable. This perspective may help address an important dimension of SDIs: their character of being public goods rather than private assets. We identify and illustrate four key aspects of information
more » ... frastructures that underpin such a public good's focus. First, we advocate the necessity of deploying a socio-technical rather than a limited technical perspective. We further argue that the notion of installed base is central, that it is important to be aware of the "politics of representations" and to accept the unavoidable "messiness" of reality. We illustrate these concepts through examples from health care in developing countries, an area particularly concerned with the potential to increase equity. C 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
doi:10.1002/itdj.20055 fatcat:cknhy7k2jbdbrdeb4nu23vl7j4