Mar 312011

Last week the Pelagios team held a workshop on linking open data and ontologies. The event started with introducing the various team members. Being a wide-spread and international team, this was also the first time several of the members had met each other. The talks, relating to linked data for referencing ancient places, brought people from various backgrounds so it was helpful and also insightful when speakers said where they were coming from as they started their talk. Geographers, classicists, developers, and general researchers or data-lovers, someone could make quite a venn-diagram of us all. It was all recorded, and concluded that the presentation slides should be shared, I’ll update this post with a link when I hear they’ve been uploaded.

The first section of talks, “Issues”, had started with the problems encountered when we want to refer to the same location in our documents or systems. Athens was a regularly used example as it could refer to various different cities around the world. Time is also a field worth referring to, especially in connection with places that move, disappear, or change names over time.

For those not familiar with the concept of Linked Data, Jeni Tennison from gave a good introduction and rules on what Linked Data should be. I recommend watching the recording, even if you’ve been working with linked data for a while, it might make you reconsider if you’re linking is strict enough and your data purposeful.

After  lunch, ontologies were discussed. Thinking about how to organise your data of terms, and seeing how others have done it. Here the subject of time continued to flow through the talks and how it’s affected previous projects. John Goodwin, from the Ordnance Survey, told us how they are providing data to be linked to so a common reference can be used for modern locations.

In the final section, titled Methods, we heard how other projects had been working on linking data together. Claire Grover talked about the Edinburgh Geoparser that scanned texts for locations and used various gazetteers to translate those into geospatial co-ordinates. This followed on to talk about the jiscEXPO funded Chalice, which is looking at historic documents from the Historic Place-Name Society so that translations can be made linking between modern names and old names for places.

The issue of fuzziness was bought up as Ceri Binding talked about working with archaeological data and time references. The Stella application shows how time periods (ages, eras, reigns, etc) relate to each other (before, after, during, at the end,…) by giving each period a minimum start year and maximum end year. Unlike monarchy reigns, some ages and time periods we can’t set the exact years to define them, further complicated by ages emerging across the world at different times at different rates. This all makes it tricky to create relations, as you make it hard to say if one time period led onto another period, or if it ended some years before the other started.

In the last talk, Eetu Mäkelä add a further level of questions by  asking if you say a building was built 2000-2010, does that mean it took 10 years to build or is it only known it was built sometime in that decade.

The day was insightful and mentioned multiple projects and services that could be good for Pelagios to use or learn from. The time is the obvious subject that could be picked up on. Both time and location are closely linked with each other but through their abstract concepts a lot can be learnt from referencing time and put into place for building up place name references.

Update: The Pelagios team now have a page about the workshop with photos. the recording will be added to that page when available.

 March 31, 2011  Posted by at 3:48 pm Misc. Tagged with: , , , , , ,  1 Response »
Mar 152011
xEvents will create, maintain, and support two related services: xEvents
and PhilEvents. xEvents will be a hosted online service a la Blogger
to build and maintain subject-centric and geo-aware calendars that
assist academics in keeping tract of talks, conferences and other
events of interest to them in their region or elsewhere. PhilEvents
will be one such service covering events in philosophy. The
overarching aim of this project is to facilitate and improve research
through a better coordination and dissemination of information about
academic events. This will be made possible by enriching conventional
event descriptions with geospatial information and making the
resulting data available both directly to end users through convenient
interfaces and in interoperable formats to enable third-party

GeoSciTeach aims to increase the use of geospatial tools in teacher training
education by designing developing, and evaluating an innovative application,
using the advanced sensing functionality of mobile smartphones. It aims to
provide a customisable template for teachers to develop and orchestrate
geospatial based science learning activities, that can be used within the
teacher-training curriculum, and be made available as a teaching tool with
associated educational resources.

PELAGIOS (Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems) is an
international consortium of leading research groups that are trialling a
method of linking open data to enable the discovery and reuse of information
related to ancient places. The core team is made up of the following projects:

•    Google Ancient Places (The Open University, University of Southampton)
•    LUCERO (The Open University)
•    Pleiades (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU)
•    Perseus Digital Library (Tufts University)
•    Arachne (University of Cologne)
•    SPQR (King's College, London)
•    Digital Memory Engineering (Austrian Institute of Technology)
 March 15, 2011  Posted by at 2:53 pm Misc. Comments Off on Projects Info
Mar 152011

ReadWriteWeb reports that Foursquare are aiming to create a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for location:

The Rosetta Stone

© Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0

"As location-based services continue to spring up, it's becoming increasingly important that these companies have access to correction location data. However, there's no one place where developers can go to access or verify this data, and there's no single database for location-based information.
But Foursquare has just announced an effort to move things in that direction:
a "venue harmonization map"  that it says it hopes can serve as a Rosetta Stone,
of sorts, for  location data.
Part of Foursquare's new initiative involves opening its Venues API and removing
some of the restrictions on access to it. The API will be  available at higher
rate limits, but more importantly, now developers  will be able to search
Foursquare venues and find associated data - such  as tips, photos, and trending
check-in information - without requiring  their end-users to authenticate via
 March 15, 2011  Posted by at 11:14 am Misc. Comments Off on Rosetta Stone for geo?
Mar 092011

Please note that today we will be in the process of giving the GECO blog a new look and feel so you may notice some disruption and tweaks throughout the day. When we have completed these we will update this post and would welcome feedback on the new look!


 March 9, 2011  Posted by at 10:39 am Misc. Comments Off on Blog Makeover
Mar 082011

I’ve wanted for a while to put up a list of things that might be of interest to others and have contemplated trying to do something clever with the proto mind-map (see earlier posts)… but I’m just not that clever. So, I’ve resorted to the tried and tested unordered list.

For your general delight have a poke about with:

The Big Data debate at Strata 2011 – Strata was an event dedicated to celebrating and advertising the latest tech trend: big data.

EpiCollect which “provides a web application for the generation of forms and freely hosted project websites (using Google’s AppEngine) for many kinds of mobile data collection projects.”

A nice infographic summarising the state of the Cloud.


 March 8, 2011  Posted by at 4:00 pm Misc. Comments Off on Muster point for interesting stuff
Mar 022011

Posts have been few of late as we move towards a revamp of this esteemed epistle.

Expect a more glitzy, eye-candyish blog in the not too distant future.

For now this caught our eye as an interesting geospatial app in the arts and humanities…

 March 2, 2011  Posted by at 4:02 pm Misc. Comments Off on All Quite on the Western front..
Feb 012011

I can now disclose the successful 15/10 projects which will form the focus for GECO. In alphabetical order they are:

  1. Bristol University is hosting the ‘Nature Locator’ project, tagged as #NatureLocator
  2. Edinburgh University is hosting the ‘Spatio-Temporal Energy Efficiency Visualisations’ project, tagged as #e3viz
  3. Edinburgh University is hosting the ‘Interoperable Geographic Information for Biosphere Study’ project, tagged as #iGIBS
  4. Essex University is hosting the ‘Unlocking the Geospatial potential of survey data at the UK Data Archive’, tagged as #?
  5. The Institute of Education, University of London is hosting the ‘Geo tools for Teachers’ project, tagged as #?
  6. Leeds University is hosting the ‘Exploiting geo-spatial datasets to enhance crime analysis and related research methods’ project, tagged as #geoCrimeData
  7. Leicester University is hosting the ‘Improving and Enhancing a Vital Spatial Research Asset’ project, tagged #?
  8. Nottingham University is hosting the ‘e-Learning Framework for Using Geospatial Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards’ project, tagged as #?
  9. The Open University is hosting the ‘Document and Integrate Ancient Linked Open Geodata’ project, tagged as #PELAGIOS: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems?
  10. The School of Advanced Study, University of London is hosting the ‘xEvents / PhilEvents’ project, tagged as #xevents
  11. The University College London is hosting the ‘Geospatial Engine for Mass Mapping Applications’ project, tagged as #gemma
  12. The University College London is hosting the ‘Bridging the Gap between the GeoWeb and GIS’ project, tagged #?

More on these soon but a good launching point (in fact the counterpart to this blog is) the jiscGEO blog maintained by the 15/10 Programme Manager.

 February 1, 2011  Posted by at 3:21 pm Misc. Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »
Jan 242011
the journey of a 1000 steps

its gotta start somewhere

Its almost time to start thinking of GECO as a process that’s underway rather than a prospective project that will happen in the future. Until the full list of 15/10 funded projects are in the public domain Ill keep things fairly general but hopefully shortly Ill be able to start integrating and commenting on the funded proposals. After all, these are at the core of GECO and will form the most visible corpus of work to showcase how relevant geospatial technologies are. Indeed something that was in today’s news and is geospatial in nature would seem to further underpin the view that geospatial technologies are moving into a new era of ubiquity, pervasiveness and (one hopes!) utility..

Ive also started the beginnings of a mind-map as I alluded to in an earlier post.

 January 24, 2011  Posted by at 2:22 pm Misc. Comments Off on Starting the thinking..