This GEO Mountains workshop sought to better understand the current interdisciplinary 'data landscape' across Central Asia.  

On 28 October, GEO Mountains hosted a workshop on Inter- and Transdisciplinary Mountain Data across Central Asia: Identifying User Requirements and Access Preferences, as part of the Adaptation at Altitude global mountain programme.

Jointly convened by the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) and GEO Mountains, the workshop sought to better understand the current interdisciplinary ‘data landscape’ across Central Asia.  

Maria Shahgedanova, the lead of the MRI’s Mountain Observatories Working Group, summarized ‘Monitoring mountains in Central Asia: The current state of knowledge.’ The region has good data coverage for glaciology, hydrology, and meteorology, but lacks socio-economic, ecological, and biological data. Despite extensive monitoring in the 1950s-1980s, much data has yet to be digitized. The 1990s-2000s suffered from interruptions in data collection. In terms of mountain ranges, the Northern and Central Tien Shan have better data coverage than that of the Pamir and Pamir-Alay. 

After GEO Mountains Scientific Project Officer James Thornton demonstrated the capabilities of the GEO Mountains data inventories, Shahgedanova described examples of mountain observatories in Central Asia. These are sites, networks of sites, or data-rich regions with long-term, multidisciplinary observations following established protocols. Central Asian mountain observatories include the Tuyuksu Mountain Observatory in Kazakhstan and the Chon Kyzyl Suu Mountain Observatory and Ala-Archa region in Kyrgyzstan. 

Workshop participants then discussed mountain data user requirements, regional data providers, regional differences in data coverage, and major gaps in terms of data discoverability, accessibility, and usability. Regional experts noted the challenge of sustaining data flow over time and among researchers, institutions, state agencies, and local governments. It is important to connect short-term research projects to long-term monitoring programs and find funding mechanisms to enable such transitions. While data availability varies across countries and disciplines, digitizing analog historical data is a pressing regional issue. Users may struggle to discover available data due to paywalls, language barriers, or lack of standardization. 

To promote information exchange, participants were invited to complete GEO Mountains' regional data needs survey, the results of which will be shared with the Central Asian mountain research community in the future. We would like to extend the invitation to complete the survey to all other stakeholders in Central Asia. 

As discussed at the workshop, the GEO Mountains Inventory of In Situ Observational Infrastructure has recently been released; community members with knowledge of Central Asian sites and datasets, both in the region and around the world, can submit information to both this and the GEO Mountains General Inventory using the following links: 

Submit to GEO Mountains In Situ Inventory

Submit to GEO Mountains General Inventory

Read the workshop report here. Please note that the workshop report will be expanded to include the survey results once they are collated and analysed. 

For any questions about the workshop, survey, or inventories, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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This workshop was the fourth in a series of regional consultations by GEO Mountains. More information about upcoming regional consultations will be available soon. 


Image by Makalu.

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