Nov 112011
 

Today we are blogging live from the Collaborative By Nature: Interoperable Geospatial Approaches to the Environment event at the Welsh Government in Cardiff. The event, hosted by the Welsh Government and arranged by the IGIBS and NatureLocator projects is bringing together experts in the public and academic sectors on the sharing of environment research and data.

We will be live-blogging, taking pictures and capturing sound today and you will be able to find the slides and related materials here after the event. We will also be tweeting with the hashtag #gecoenv.

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 November 11, 2011  Posted by at 10:34 am Events Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Collaborative By Nature (#gecoenv) Liveblog
Oct 192011
 

A few weeks ago we gave you a heads up that an event, organised by the IGIBS and NatureLocator projects, and focusing on how environmental research data can be made interoperable across sectors will take place on Friday 11th November 2011 at the Welsh Government Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff.

We are delighted to let you know that this event now has a title “Collaborative by Nature: Interoperable Geospatial Approaches to the Environment“, a hashtag: #gecoenv, and bookings are open here: http://gecoenv.eventbrite.com/

A broad range of speakers from the academic, public and private sectors will be taking part and we expect the event to generate some very interesting discussion and a particular opportunity to gain some insight into the developing plans for how the devolved government of Wales is rolling out INSPIRE.

There will be an opportunity to see the first demonstration of IGIBS’ innovative work to enable UK access management technology to secure public sector services in combination with academic sector services. In addition to innovative technical work the IGIBS team have been doing some great work on researchers’ user requirements and their recent post on the relationship between INSPIRE and Universities is well worth a read, particularly if you were following related discussions at the INSPIRE for Social Sciences event earlier this month.

At the Collaborative by Nature event we will also be hearing from the NatureLocator team about the success of their LeafWatch phone application which has been tracking Leaf Minor Moth damage to Horsechestnut trees across the UK this summer. If you have been following this project you will also be interested to know that they have a shiny new Conker Tree Science LeafWatch website where you can take part in the process of validating LeafWatch data.

As usual we will be blogging and tweeting from the Collaborative by Nature event so if you are not able tot make it along in person do keep an eye on the blog and our @jiscgeco tweets on the day.

 October 19, 2011  Posted by at 12:08 pm 15/10 Projects, Events Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Upcoming Event: Collaborative by Nature
Sep 292011
 

We have four fantastic – and free! – events coming up in the next couple of months – we’ll be telling you more about these in individual posts but we wanted to let you put these in your diary, book your place, and get involved!

First up is the INSPIRE for Social Sciences workshop at the UK Data Archive on Friday 7th October 2011 in Essex led by the U.Geo project, which has been looking at the geospatial potential of UKDA survey data.  The workshop focuses on what the European INSPIRE directive, particularly Annex III (which addresses spatial data sets),  means for social science research, funders and for the national data strategy. This will be a real opportunity to learn about the practical requirements and opportunities for research and collaboration associated with INSPIRE and highlights will include contributions from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Swedish National Data Service, Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research and from GECO’s very own James Reid.

You can see the full programme on the UKDA website and the booking form is here.  If you want to find out a bit more about INSPIRE in general the EDINA’s The INSPIRE Directive – A Brief Overview [pdf] is a good place to start and there is a huge amount of information on the official INSPIRE Directive website.

Image of a Chimney Stack

"Chimney Stack" by Flickr user gerry.scappaticci

Next up, on Thursday 13th October 2011, will be the Green Energy Tech Event (#e3vis), arranged by the STEEV project, which will take place at the very new Edinburgh Centre on Climate Change. The event focuses on tools, techniques and current research in the area of green energy technology, carbon emissions and the built environment. It promises to be a fascinating event with highlights including talks on modelling and mapping energy efficiency data, modelling energy use data for social housing landlords, heat mapping technologies and usage, emissions assessment tools, and listed buildings and energy efficiency.

View the full programme and book your place here and find out more about the Spatio Temporal Energy Efficiency Visualisation tool being created by the project in this contextual post by researcher Simon Lannon,  of the Welsh School of Architecture.

Image of DaffodilsOur next event, just being finalised, is a joint NatureLocator & IGIBS Event ( final title TBC but the hashtag will be #gecoenv) will take place on Friday 11th November 2011 at the Welsh Assembly Government buildings in Cardiff. The event will be focusing on the use and sharing of environmental data, particularly INSPIRE compliant data, and will be of particular relevance for Welsh environment researchers, policy makers, and those in the Welsh Geospatial Information (GI) community. The programme and event booking form will be live shortly (we’ll keep you posted) but email edina@ed.ac.uk if you would like to register your interest or book your place right away.

Finally JISC have just announced the date for the JISC Geospatial Product Show & Tell which will take place on Monday 28th November 2011 in London at Ravensborough College in London (next to the Millennium Dome). Anyone with an @ed.ac.uk email address is welcome along (and of course any JISC Geo project partners who may have an unexpected email address!). A full announcement will follow but bookings are already open here.

We hope you can join us for all/some/one of these events but we will be blogging and tweeting at all of them so if you are not able to make it along in person do keep an eye on this website for live notes, write-ups, slides etc.

As you can see the JISC Geo projects are all starting to roll out fantastic tools, data and findings hence the large number of events this autumn however we will be running further events (currently in the planning stages) to showcase other areas of geo work later this year and/or in early 2012 so do look out for announcements about those as they’re finalised.

 September 29, 2011  Posted by at 11:00 am Events, Misc. Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Events Coming Up – INSPIRE, the Welsh Environment, Green Energy Tech and the JISC Geospatial Product Show & Tell!
Jun 012011
 

This week saw the return of Spingwatch to UK TV screens. This is a cause for excitement not only because it’s “full of sex and violence (in the animal kingdom)” but also because it gives us an excellent excuse to talk about two of our fantastic JISC Geo projects that should be of particular interest to budding and academic naturalists alike.

IGIBS (#igibs) is working on tools for researchers to share and discover research through mapping their results, through viewing other data available, through seeing what other studies have taken place on/in the same place. The project is looking specifically the huge quantity and variety of research which takes place in the UNESCO Designated Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.

The Dyfi Biosphere is not only beautiful but also contains a uniquely rich variety and quality of habitats which attracts a phenomenal array of bird and other wildlife species. This is fantastic for researchers on biodiversity, on particular soil types (such as the famous Borth Bog), and for naturalists of all kinds… which is presumably why this year Springwatch is also based there!

So, if you become curious about the science and research taking place in and around the Dyfi Biosphere as you see the Springwatch team presenting from the RSPB Ynys-hir reserve (see below) over the next three weeks, do have a look at the IGIBS project page (or keep an eye out on this blog) for updates on this important (and clever) tools for researchers in the Biosphere. And if you happen to be a researcher with data on Dyfi do get in touch with us or the IGIBS team.

Image of the Ynys-hir RSPB Reserve in the Dyfi Biosphere

Image of the Ynys-hir RSPB Reserve in the Dyfi Biosphere - taken whilst visiting the IGIBS Project

 

The other project that we think will delight Springwatch fans is NatureLocator (#NatureLocator), a project to develop a phone application that will allow you to record biological survey work.

NatureLocator are focusing, in the first instance, at the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner Moth (the wee beastie pictured below) and tracking it’s effect on Horse Chestnut Trees. If you want to find out more about these moths and the damage they cause have a look at the NatureLocator blog where the team have posted images of what a Horse Chestnut Tree should look like and what a moth-attacked tree actually looks like.

Image of a Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner Moth

Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner Moth by Tristram Brelstaff (tristrambrelstaff on Flick)

The exciting news from the NatureLocator team is that the code for their Android and iPhone applications is almost finished and they have recently posted some preview  images of their application. These images give a great sense of how easy the app will be to use: you simply record the damage by taking an image and answering several questions and (using the magic of GPS enabled smart phones) place this on a map. This will allow sophisticated tracking of the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner moth problem but there are endless infestations and natural phenomena that NatureLocator should be able to help track, map and advance understanding of. In fact if you have any ideas about how the app could help with your own area of research then do get in contact with the team via the blog.

Mapping is central to understanding and analysing all kinds of natural phenomena – for instance both Springwatch and the RSPB have both asked volunteers to contribute sightings of signs of spring and of birds before now. Mapping any species in detail and particularly mapping changes in sightings, soil quality, etc. can demonstrate important issues such as climate change, changing breeding habits, new plant diseases.

If you have encountered an inspiring example of the way in which people are using maps and geographic information to understand the natural world then please add a comment beneath and we will feature the best projects/websites here on the blog in a few weeks time!

 

 


 June 1, 2011  Posted by at 5:01 pm 15/10 Projects Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Springwatch-ing our nature projects
Apr 162011
 

This week the last of the 15/10 geo projects officially kicked off which means that, like last week’s Grand National we now have an awful lots of exciting runners and riders (though unlike the Grand National we expect all of them to look even more fantastic at the end of their projects than they do now!).

Image of daffodils

IGIBS is the acronym for the Interoperable Geographic Information for Biosphere Study. The project is looking at ways in which research data collected in and/or about the Dyfi Biosphere can be shared and made available to others through WMS – Web Mapping Services. The idea is that a researcher with data that she wants to share or compare to others’ work would be able to upload their data and create their own WMS specifically for their data.

The Dyfi Biosphere is a really interesting location for collecting use cases as there are researchers from multiple different disciplines and backgrounds working in the area at any time. They might be looking at water quality or at economic measures or at the uptake of the Welsh language.  All of these researchers produce geographical information but it may not be interoperable or easily found or compared with others’ work.

Of course it is not just in Wales that data and data with a geographic component is becoming a big issue. At a ScraperWiki Hacks & Hackers Hackday I attended recently it was clear that the types of social and political data that is of interest to journalists has a subtle but important element of geography. Statistics on measures of deprivation are all the more informative when viewed on a map with other features in a landscape. Road accident statistics will vary significantly with the features of the landscape but comparing those statistics to other data (e.g. locations of pubs, pothole repair work budget by local authority) may provide – as it is hoped with many of the 15/10 projects even more interesting opportunities to analyze and interpret data.

Viewing data on a map also makes it somehow more personal as we are to always starting our experience of maps with out own area of the world and drilling down or looking out from there. Ask anyone to play with online mapping tools and, after a pause, their first move will be to look up their own address. Indeed Arcade Fire’s now very well known The Wilderness Downtown (an interactive video using Google Maps, video, animation and HTML5 magic to create personalized films) played entirely upon the strength of our psychological ties to our place on the map. Unsurprising then that it can be much easier to grasp data when we can relate data on our own area with data from other surrounding or more distant areas whether that is about using expert data – as in IGIBS or STEEV – or whether that is about beginning to add our own data about our surroundings as in NatureLocator.

And on that slightly random note I shall hand the blog back to James as I shall be engaging in my own geographical experiments  by exploring Arran for my first ever trip there, map quite firmly in hand.

 April 16, 2011  Posted by at 8:00 am Misc. Tagged with: , , , ,  Comments Off on IGIBS Project Kicks Off