Sep 062011
 

After the last few years, GIS and geospatial awareness has come into our lives more and more. A number of the current jiscGEO funded projects are working to make it easier for geospatial informattion to be utilised by other disciplines or the average person.
G3 looked at the “Child of Ten standard” meaning that a 10 year-old should be able to learn to do something useful with a system in 10 minutes. It makes me really wonder what a child would do with a professional GIS program such as ArcGIS. I was in a university class where it took a lot of students 2 to 3 of the 2-hour workshops before they understood even the basics of creating and exporting/printing a map. G3 also performed a much-appreciated user-experience study of the OpenStreetMap Potlatch editor, discovering a lot of common hurdles for new users trying to get started in making basic edits to the map.

The GEMMA project recently walked through creating a map of the main London airports without specialised software or knowledge. It seemed their child of 10 might struggle to make an acceptable image, despite trying a number of options. They hope that GEMMA will provide an adequate solution when complete.

Though they are the two projects specically looking to making easier non-expert tools for GIS work, ELO Geo is creating a framework and a repository for sharing lessons and teaching material for students wishing to use GIS. The Nature Locator and GeoSciTeach are using the medium of mobile apps to make it easier for work to have a geospatial context.

Some might say GIS is a complex beast, that should only be worked with by experts otherwise mistakes and false conclusions could be made. But I’m excited about the idea that everyone could become geospatially aware, or use educational apps that are aware of the location they’re in. It empowers people to know about the world around them, and can also result in more geospatial data to be used by those experts who really know and love looking at such things.
If a child of 10 can do something in 10 minutes, then there’s not likely to be problems for anyone older. How easily would a child of 10 use the other projects, and would they find any needed instructions/tutorials without them being given? What couldn’t they do without the work of the project, or what would they have done instead (e.g. taken ages, or a flawed work around)?

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 September 6, 2011  Posted by at 5:52 pm JISCG3 Tagged with: , , ,  7 Responses »
Jul 142011
 

As we are now a fair way through the project activity we thought it would be a great time to see what’s been happening with the various JISC Geo projects we are working with. All have their own blogs so here are our recent highlights:

ELOGeo (#elogeo), which is developing guidance and processes for sharing and building best practice in eLearning best practice has been making great progress and have recently launched the repository they have been preparing for the elearning materials and resources that are being created and aggregated in the project.  ELOGeo have also been running around the place appearing at Open Source Junction 2 in Oxford, the International Cartographic Conference in Paris and ELOGeo will also be in use at the Open Source GIS Summer School in Girona. If you are interested in elearning or teaching geographic concepts then the ELOGeo blog should definitely be of interest.

GEMMA (#gemma) moved it’s blog to a lovely new website a wee while ago and you can now join their announcement list. GEMMA have also launched an adorable wee gerbil logo to be the face of the very clever but simple to use mapping tools it will be launching later this year. Watch this space…

geoCrimeData (#geoCrimeData) have been doing initial analysis of their data and considering reasons for some of the patterns they’re been spotting. The team also recently undertook a survey of crime analysts to get a sense of how the tool they are building could be tailored to fit the needs who regularly work with crime data. And, as they continue work on their high resolution dataset, the team have lined up a busy conference schedule for late summer/early autumn – have a look at their Presentations page for more info on these.

Screen Shots of the prototype GeoSciTeach Phone App

Prototype GeoSciTeach Phone App Images

 

GeoSciTeach (#GeoSciTeach) have gathered the priorities of teaching staff for their phone application for learning and teaching with a GIS dimension. They have also shared screen shots of the app. The team have trialled the app at Kew Gardens, using QR codes on individual plants, and have written some really interesting reflections on the experience of using their phone app in this teaching context. Keep an eye on the blog for more updates.

Halogen 2 (#halogen2) have been reporting on the RCUK and HEFCE announcement to support Open Access – you can see the blog post from the team here and the announcement here. The project had it’s first board meeting in late May and have been prototyping their data extraction tool and loading new data into HALOGEN since. Read more in their June Update.

IGIBS (#igibs) has a new team member and he’s written his first post on current Dyfi projects. The team also ran a workshop at the recent Inspire Conference in Edinburgh. They’ve started a whole area of the blog for follow on their work, INSPIRE and authentication so do head over there, have a look at the slides and add your comments to the INSPIRE2011 page.

JISC G3 (#jiscg3) have been busy with usability work – which will be presented at the Open Street Map State of the Map Conference in Vienna next week – discovering that GIS is not user friendly, what the priorities are for teaching new learners GIS and they have been reflecting on the differences between managing research and programmers (a really interesting read). Read all that and the team’s recent thoughts on map projections over on the G3 blog.

NatureLocator (#naturelocator) have launched their app! This is a huge milestone for the team and we’re really excited to hear that, across both iPhone and Android apps, there have already been almost 200 downloads! The team have also spotted some of horse chestnut leaf mining moths and managed to grab some beautiful photos including, and this is not good news for horse chestnut trees, a pair copulating. So download that app and start looking out for damage on trees near you!

PELAGIOS (#pelagios) have welcomed CLAROS to the project with a great guest post on how CLAROS is bringing ancient art onto the semantic web. The team have also been reflecting on the process of selecting and using Open Licences which will be of interest to many. And, if you are in the mood for something more technical, the Pelagios team have written about how Arachne Places and Topographical Units are being used to annotate Pleides Places.

STEEV(#e3vis) have shared the evolution of their interface – from whiteboard sketch to mock up to working prototype. This followed a visit from Simon Lannon of Cardiff University to discuss the data and design of the visualisation tool in more detail. The blog’s been a little quiet of late as the team work hard on turning that prototype into a working tool. Keep an eye on the blog for updates.

U.Geo (#geoukda) have been hard at work reviewing licences and data to find the geospatial potential of survey data in the UK Data Archive. The team have posted a concise but very detailed snapshot of the work they have been completing to date which is well worth a look.

xEvents / PhilEvents (#xevents) have been continuing to explore the functionality needed to make their geo-aware calendar app for academic events feature-rich such as enabling the cropping of the uploaded images and ensuring passwords are handles securely. If you following the xEvents project you might also like to see the team’s earlier work on xPapers.

So, that’s where all of the #jiscgeo projects are right now. Here at GECO central our main focus has been on getting our first event, the Open Source Geo and Health workshop (#gecohealth), ready. If you are interested in how geo relates to health and research, policy and interventions related to health then please do book your place now!

Oh, and a final footnote: we have set up an email list for the GECO team to share news and for discussion on all things geo! You can find us on the JISCMAIL site as JISC-GECO.

 July 14, 2011  Posted by at 5:11 pm 15/10 Projects, Misc. Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Project News – and gosh there is a lot to report!