20 September 2019 | Category: Data Stewardship

WUR Data Steward Maarten Storm: one of the faces of the GeoDesk

By Saskia van Marrewijk

How do I use and apply geo-software? Which geo-data is available and under which conditions? Do you have questions or activities related to geo-data and geo-software, then the GeoDesk is the place to go. Not just for students and employees of Wageningen University & Research, but also for external parties. The team behind the GeoDesk can offer assistance in making the connection between their own field  and the geo-tools. One of the GeoDesk Data Stewards is Maarten Storm. Maarten is the first Data Steward in our blog series on Data Stewardship @ WUR. In this series we present you Data Steward use cases to show what Data Stewardship is all about.

Maarten is a Geo-Information Specialist and researcher on the quality of spatial data at Wageningen University & Research (WUR). He studied Human Geography in Utrecht, specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Cartography. In 2010 he started working at Wageningen Environmental Research and from the beginning he has been involved with the GeoDesk.


The GeoDesk is the geo-information facility within WUR. The facility will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year and that is worth a party. The GeoDesk exists to channel the availability of geo-data and geo-software, to help users on their way and to consult with them on geo-information-related questions and issues. In cooperation with FB-IT (IT as part of the facility company) they provide installation and licences for geo-software. In addition, the GeoDesk organises courses on geo-software. For the geo-interested public outside the WUR, the GeoDesk offers the possibility to purchase GIS files owned by WUR or to print maps.

Range of data

The GeoDesk is also the one-stop-shop for GeoData at WUR. Data from providers from all over (so not just WUR data) are collected and transferred to user-friendly formats and made Findable and Accessible.

Part of the collection originates from within WUR, like land use data, geomorphological maps and soil maps. The collection also contains digital scans of historical maps. Without active recruiting, the GeoDesk already has quite some data to manage and actively share. The GeoDesk likes to encourage researchers from WUR to deliver and archive their geo data to the GeoDesk and to make it available for other researchers.

In the past a lot of data was only accessible after payment, even for internal use. But in the context of FAIR and even Open data, this has changed and almost all data is accessible to everyone within WUR.

Data can be licensed and restrictions in use can be included in the licenses. For example some datasets rely on revenue from sales to third parties, in that case, it is not the intention that this data is freely shared outside the WUR.

Data Stewardship duties

  • The GeoDesk offers support and advice in data discovery, analyzing, storing, visualizing and publishing geo data.
  • The GeoDesk can help creating and publishing metadata. They use the Dutch profile on ISO19115 for this. This is the standard used by the Dutch government.
  • They publish metadata from datasets made by WUR on the National Geo-register.
  • You can go to the GeoDesk for advice and support with the use of geo-tools (GIS/Remote Sensing/ETL software).
  • The GeoDesk has a large internal network and often knows how to find certain expertise. Where necessary, they use the knowledge and skills of other colleagues or refer them to, for example, Data Management Support, FB-IT or WDCC.
  • GeoDesk employees are active within the WUR Data Steward network

WUR is serious about data

With this series on WUR Data Steward, we show you how pioneers within our organization shape their data steward duties. The GeoDesk is our first use case of a data service that offers information and services within its own domain. You also can read our previous serie with the blog posts on WUR Data Champions and stay tuned! More WUR Data Steward Champions are to come!

Data Management Support

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Data Desk. You can also join the Data@WUR group on the Intranet to stay informed.


By Saskia van Marrewijk

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