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.

Continue reading »

Share/Bookmark
 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!
Sep 192011
 

A wee post to share the exciting news that NatureLocator‘s Leaf Watch phone application and the Conker Tree Science project was featured on Friday night’s The One Show!

You can jump straight to their appearance by clicking here (the piece starts at minute 39) or by clicking on the image below:

 

screen shot from the NatureLocator/LeafWatch appearance on the One Show

Leaf Watch appears on the One Show - click to access the full piece.

 September 19, 2011  Posted by at 1:30 pm 15/10 Projects Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Comments Off on NatureLocator’s Leaf Watch Application Featured on the One Show
Sep 162011
 

The giant green Conker Leaf symbol is blazing over the Scottish skies and the green phone is flashing… Something isn’t right in Conker City: there is a severe absence of Scottish records in the Leaf Watch database!

Have the Leaf Miner Moths been pilfering the records that show their sinister spread across the country?

Could the GeoRiddler be behind the mysteriously mis-located early Scottish records?

Why are the Leaf Minor Moths able to proliferate with such peculiar proficiency?!

Will emergency broadcasts in the Sunday Times and Farming Today be enough to rouse the Scottish naturalist masses?

To the Leaf (Smart)Phone!

NatureLocator Android QR code

Androids Only!

NatureLocator iPhone QR code

Apples Only!

Androids!

Tune to this Leaf Channel: https://market.android.com/details?id=uk.ac.bris.ilrt.leafwatch

Apples!

Tune to this Leaf Channel: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/conker-tree-science-leaf-watch/id445371129?mt=8

And if you’re a Leaf Minor Moth then, Holy Minor Leaftastrophy! Your days could be numbered…

Tune in next week – same GECO-time, same GECO-channel!

 September 16, 2011  Posted by at 1:47 pm 15/10 Projects, Humour Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on SCOTLAND: NatureLocator Needs You!
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!
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