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 »
Jan 192011

Name of JISC SP or ‘sub service’: Infrastructure Call 15/10; Geospatial Strand

Name of Project: GECO – Geospatial Engagement and Community Outreach

Directly Incurred Staff[1]

Project Manager: 25% FTE


Project Office (INSPIRE focus): 5% FTE


Project Office (INSPIRE focus): 5% FTE


Promotion and Publicity Officer: 5% FTE


Project Office (Linked Data focus): 5% FTE


Senior Software Engineer: 5% FTE


Software Engineer: 5% FTE


Junior Software Engineer: 15% FTE


Administrator: 5% FTE


Helpdesk: 5% FTE


Social Media Officer: 20% FTE


Total Directly Incurred Staff (A)


Directly Incurred Non-Staff

User Support


Documentation & e-content


Promotion, T&S & Conferences

(includes UKLP engagement, INSPIRE outreach and EDINA travel to micro events plus funding for a series of local micro events, some reserved to fund guest speakers,INSPIRE domain experts + some contingency )


Technical and Operations: Equipment & Support


Staff Development


Total Directly Incurred Non-Staff (B)


Total Directly Incurred Costs (C)



Total Requested From JISC


No: Full Time Employed


(across 11 staff)

 January 19, 2011  Posted by at 9:37 am Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Project Plan Post 7 of 7: Budget
Jan 192011

Work Package outline

WP1 – Project Management (inc reporting etc) [JR]

Purpose: General oversight and project direction setting.

WP2 – Synthesis and collation [JR,AR,CH]

Purpose: To ensure that the primary aim of GECO is achieved – the wider promotion and engagement of ‘communities’ to utilise geospatial resources. Ensuring maximum exposure of project and aims to widest audience, focusing on ‘growing’ the community via the successful 15/10 projects by bootstrapping and ensuring synergy across and within disciplinary silos.


Bookend all-hands events


Social Media outreach [NO] NB JISC view this as principle means to reach a wider audience(s) so this is viewed as central to outreach activities


15/10 Project portfolio

Local Micro events

GWG,MRDP,RDTF and Linked Data Focus

Liaison with DFF / JISC synthesis work

WP2a – Logistical support [AB,JW,IE]

Purpose: to assist with admin for event organising/travel. Directing GECO related queries from the community. Promotion and usual ‘marketing’ (Newsline, conference stands etc)


Help desk [HMc]


Purpose: To ensure that EDINA takes lead in ensuring HFE readiness for INSPIRE. To better scope the problem and to brief the wider community – both at ‘coalface’ and senior institutional managers.

Baseline ‘info packs’ ; briefing

UKLP engagement/INSPIRE tracking

Legal/records management work inc data audit

Production of decision tree for institutions

WP4 – Technical Assist (inc LD) [BB,JW,SEx2]

Purpose: To ensure project outputs are integrated into EDINA services, that any new services interoperate with ours and to provide a ‘fall-back’ infrastructure for INSPIRE data publishing.

Fallback data publishing infrastructure (INSPIRE as Service)

15/10 outputs integration

WP5 – Eval & impact review [JR]

Purpose: To ensure project overall objectives have been met and that Programme level outcomes are communicated to broad audience. Critique may influence future decision on JISC ‘geo programme’ funding.

Best practice exemplars

Functioning demonstrators/services/data products

 January 19, 2011  Posted by at 9:36 am INSPIRE, Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Project Plan Post 6 of 7: Projected Timeline, Workplan & Overall Project Methodology
Jan 192011

The GECO Project Team consists of the following individuals at EDINA.

James Reid – Project Manager and principal contact

Role – primary interface to 15/10 funded projects, chief GECO blogger

Anne Robertson, Project engagement with INSPIRE focus, GECO blog contributor
Chris Higgins, Project engagement with INSPIRE focus, GECO blog contributor
Andrew Bevan, promotion, community liaison, GECO blog contributor
Jo Walsh, technical adviser with focus on linked data,GECO blog contributor
Ben Butchart, Senior software engineer, 15/10 project deliverables will require some integration with existing JISC infrastructure (e.g. dataset delivery, service integration)
TBC, Soft Engineer
TBC , Junior Soft Engineer
ADMIN, various for administration (time keeping, travel booking, finances)
HELPDESK, various, for front line support to users, channeling enquirers to relevant persons and ensuring all queries are logged and dealt with in  a timely fashion.
Nicola Osbourne, Social Media Officer, primary orchestration of ‘virtual community’ via social media channels (supplementing GECOblog)

In terms of end user engagement there are effectively two strands to this – the establishment of a ‘virtual community’ around the funded 15/10 projects (hence the prominence of blogs and social media channels) and the more old fashioned face-2-face, event based engagement (via what we term ‘localised micro events’). Our plan for the latter is to runs  a series of these over the coming year at geographically dispersed locations in order that the 15/10 projects (or logical groupings of them) might extol the virtues and benefits of geospatial resources to a local (and hopefully ‘non-trad’ geospatial) community.

Once the full list of 15/10 funded projects is announced  we can commence to establish synergies and connections between them and the micro-events as a way for individual projects to establish a rapport and dialogue that we hope will continue indefinitely…

I came across this image which in many ways encapsulates some of what GECO is aiming for (excluding the distance learners bit, although that would be a nice by-product if it transpired..)

 January 19, 2011  Posted by at 9:36 am INSPIRE, Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Project Plan Post 5 of 7: Project Team Relationships and End User Engagement.
Jan 192011

2011 and so to our fourth ‘project plan post’ on the delightful subject of licensing.

The underlying philosophy behind the approach to licensing in GECO is quite simple – make things as open, reusable, free from restrictions and domain agnostic as is practicable.

That said, it is recognized that under certain circumstances this is aspirational and it is just not always possible to live up to the democratic ideal. For example, in cases where there is licensed 3rd party content or viral licenses impose their own commutative restrictions. Derived data issues around Ordnance Survey data spring to mind.

Anyhow, the basic tenet is one which GECO aspires to and the funded 15/10 projects are all expected to pay more than lip service to the philosophy ion order that public monies benefit the broadest audience – a sort Benthamesque  Utilitarianism in the field of open data and services.

In practice, we will aim to use something like the Open Database License or Creative Commons to ensure that we aim for Bentham’s greatest felicity principle.

 January 19, 2011  Posted by at 9:31 am Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Project Plan Post 4 of 7: IPR (Creative Commons Use & Open Source Software License)