James

Married. Four kids. Two dogs. Wife. Not in that order.

Dec 022010
 
"My dream is that every American  student, at the end of every
block of  instruction in every conceivable subject, can say
proudly and  knowledgeably, I have done the map.
Because that means they know who they are, where they are,
and how to get where they want to go."Walter A. McDougall

GECO (and yes I know, that’s not how you spell the friendly little lizard – but hey! there s only so many tortured acronyms you can cope with – its the best I could come up with and its not too far off!!)

Anyhow, GECO (our project, not the misspelled lizard or one of many geology survey firms – try Googling ‘GECO’ for fun!), is about making ‘geo stuff’ more widely visible to it’s core audience – the UK Higher and Further Education community.

I confess that I have some concerns over the use of the term ‘community’ as it strikes me as being overworked and a shorthand way of saying you are not entirely sure who specifcally you are trying to target. Indeed, without veering towards Thatcheresque pronouncements along the lines of  ‘there’s no such thing as community’ I do think its fair to say there is no single ‘community’ – there are lots of them!! Not surprising really as UK HFE (blasted abbreviations/acronyms again) is a variegated environment, socially, culturally and institutionally. That’s before you consider discipline specific idiosyncrasies and fetishes…

So, if variety is the spice of life, what we want from GECO is a curry that’s palatable to as broad a culinary audience as possible (thats perhaps an unfortunate metaphor as I now have images of diced lizard in tikka masala).

GECOs initial focus will be to work with the JISC funded geospatial projects (funded under JISC Call 15/10, geospatial strand), to esnure that there is some cross-fertilisation and synergy achevied or at least attempted – a mild curry if you will.

Its unlikely, given that the rationale and impetus behind the funding call was to spur the uptake and use of geospatial resources in ‘non-traditional’ domains – yes, geographers stand back, others have an interest in space too!, that it will be easy to foster a ready sense of ‘community’ across the (presumed) disparate projects but perhaps everyone likes curry these days.

However, we need to await the outcomes of the funding decisions to decide just how a (hopefully) eclectic mix of projects can assist in bootstrapping the larger aspirations of GECO i.e. to make geography matter across as broad a user and discipline base as possible.

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 December 2, 2010  Posted by at 12:55 pm INSPIRE, Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Wider Benefits to Sector & Achievements for Host Institution
Dec 012010
 

The primary purpose of GECO is to enable and help others be more aware of geospatial resources available to them – in the UK Higher and Further Education space that’s quite a lot of things…for example (this is not a comprehensive list so please post a comment to help fill out my own knowledge gaps!):

The screenshots below point to a wealth of data and services available to the community – ultimately Id like to mind-map these into a completer picture that can act as a synopsis of what is currently available.

Note that all the below are primarily aimed at a higher and further education market and have their origins in that sector – there are of course alternate universes of other geospatial tools and services out there (Google earth/maps; Yahoo; OVI; Bing; Open Street Map; OS OpenData; data.gov.uk; etc etc etc (as Yul Brenner might have said))…

Casweb

Casweb

agcensus

agcensus

Census Portal

Census Portal

CIDER

CIDER

Geoconvert

Geoconvert

Maptube

Maptube

ShareGeo

ShareGeo

SurveyMapper

SurveyMapper

OpenStream

OpenStream

UKBORDERS

Screenshot of UKBORDERS

Unlock

Unlock

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 December 1, 2010  Posted by at 3:31 pm INSPIRE, Misc. Tagged with: , , , , , ,  4 Responses »
Nov 302010
 

Welcome to GECO, the Geospatial Enablement and Community Outreach blog.

Note: this is a draft of a proposal that is taking shape. Please use tag #jiscGECO to comment…

Aims, Objectives and Final Output from GECO

The overarching purpose of GECO is to foster a community(ies) of users of geospatial resources (data, services, support). Geospatial, taken in its broadest sense underpins a vast array of academic endeavour – geography represents a fundamental organising axis for information. Space (and time) are fundamental aspects of most resources and activities and the purpose of GECO is to help:

  • foster self-help within identifiable communities of interest that emerge form the recent JISC 15/10 funding call (in the Call itself this is referred to as ‘Community Synthesis’;
  • increase the use of geospatial tools, infrastructure (data and services) and information for the wider benefit of the teaching, learning and research communities;
  • to collate exemplars of use and to establish a trajectory for the future embedding of geospatial resources within research, teaching and learning landscapes;
  • to identify and promote best practice (such as standards, interoperability, machine interfaces) and to provide a means for knowledge transfer from specialist to less spatially literate users and domains;
  • assist with the maturation of the UK academic Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and ensure
    SDIs Visual Summary

    Graphical depiction of what an SDI is.

    that location (space/geography) is championed across sectoral domains.

  • Promote the JISC Geospatial Working Group’s (GWG) Vision for geospatial resources in UK higher and further education.
  • Champion awareness raising of INSPIRE (summary 2 pager here), ensuring that the sector is cognisant of the obligations and opportunities that this gives rise to.
  • Promote good data management principles, including data curation and stewardship ensuring transparency and reuse where practicable.

At the conclusion of the project we anticipate:

  1. The establishment of a nexus of (largely) self-sustaining communities that exploit geospatial information within a particular domain.
  2. Greater awareness of existing JISC investment in geospatial resources and a higher degree of awareness of key policy areas such as INSPIRE.
  3. Additional services and data with exemplar usage and best practice guidance.
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 November 30, 2010  Posted by at 11:31 am INSPIRE, Misc. Tagged with: , , , , , ,  1 Response »