Its a bit early to be making predictions about how IGIBS might evolve, but a recent presentation to the EDINA geoteam followed by some discussion indicated some of the possibilities.
- The WMS Factory Tool.Â With the simple but effective styling capability that Michael Koutroumpas engineered, I think we have a prototype thats not too far off a production strength tool.Â There are loads of scenarios where its valuable to have access to a tool that makes it easy to see your “non-interoperable” data alongside the growing number of INSPIRE View Services (read WMS) from public authorities across Europe going online.Â So top of my list is improving this tools styling capability.
- Associated with this would be better understanding of necessary data publication infrastructure, eg, making it easy to use the other OGC Web Services.Â Something like the GEOSS Service Factory ideas emerging from the EuroGEOSS project.Â I think there is a real demand for tools to make it easy to use the OGC standards.
- In the immediate future, I think its likely that the IGIBS team will do some promotion of the project outputs, eg:
- presenting the project at relevant events, eg, Association GI Laboratories Europe conference, OGC Technical Committee meetings.Â This might cost as little as Â£500 depending on where the event is.
- use of social media to promote both the WMS Factory Tool and the report on “Best Practice Interaction with the UK Academic Spatial Data Infrastructure”.Â This too could cost as little as an additional Â£500.
- The latter report is worthy of a lot more investment.Â A major output from this project, possibly the single most important output, is the increase in use of UK academic SDI services within the Institute of Geography and Earth Science (IGES) at Aberystwyth University.Â IGES is acting as an exemplar for best practice research data management around geospatial data, the department is actively building on the IGIBS work and it will be interesting to see how it develops and if other departments in other institutions see the benefit and start to emulate what Aberystwyth is doing.Â More work promoting Steve Walsh’s report would help.
After some fantastic help from James Reid at EDINA we thought to put together a blog post summarising some of the conclusions we have come to over INSPIRE.
At this stage it may beÂ worth having a look at my earlier but less informed post regarding INSPIRE to understandÂ how my understanding of the issues has progressed.
For INSPIRE to be something that universities need to spend time and money complying with, then there are several questionsÂ needing an answer.Â We are not in a position to answerÂ all of them with 100% certainty but with the help of JamesÂ here areÂ some conclusions we have come to.
1. Are universitiesÂ “public bodies” or more accurately public authorities? This appears to be one area that the fog has lifted from. The INSPIRE Regulations will only applyÂ to public authorities and James has taken the trouble to check out this area with Edinburgh Â and is certain that universities are public authorities for the purposes of INSPIRE.Â So one “Yes” to INSPIRE
2. DoÂ universities hold and control datasets that match the data described in any of the INSPIRE data Annexes? After looking through the datasets collected for the IBIBS project I have found 11 (or about 5% of them) that match up withÂ some of theÂ data themes in Annex iii. The IGIBS data isÂ probably notÂ representativeÂ of the total extent of dataÂ held by Aberystwyth University and aÂ data inventory ofÂ data held by some ofÂ Â the academic staff would be needed to quantify the amount of INSPIRE data held. Â So another “Yes” to INSPIRE
3. What is the public task ofÂ a university?Â Here is where the situation becomes less clear. Â There appears to beÂ no public task defined for universities. The problem seems to stem from the fact the universities are not covered by the PSI Regulations and therefore have not needed to define a public task for themselves.Â Again James has made some progress on this and pointed to a publication from the National Archives that helps explain the process 0f defining a body’s public task.Â Â There has also been some slightly ambiguous advice from the Scottish Information Commissioner that includesÂ a suggestion that it mayÂ be relevant for a university to seek legal advice over theÂ issue. So there seems to be no clear answer to this question. AÂ case of Â “we dont know yet”
4. Do those data identified in 2 above relate to the public task of the university? Again until we know the answer to 3 above Â we can only guess at the answer to this question. Commonsense suggests that research and teaching must be part of the task if it is ever defined. So my guess would be a “probable Yes”
5. Will there be any attempt to enforce the regulations? Again no way of knowing the answer to this and it may even involve some judicial intervention to clarify the situation. Strictly speaking if Universities are public authorities for the purposes of the INSPIRE Regulations then they are already not complyingÂ with INSPIREÂ as they have not established a complaints procedure to deal with questions over INSPIRE data provision as required by the Regulations. So currently a “NO” but with the uncertainty surrounding public task it could be a complicated or impossible job toÂ enforce this regulationÂ at present. So this will have to be a wait and see area.
Last week at IGES we had a rebirth of the map library as it became digital. This probably sounds more dramatic than it was.Â What we did was to create a new drive on the public network for IGES staff and students Â Â with a structured directory and put on some spatial data that relates to the Dyfi Biosphere. We alsoÂ highlighted Â a few Web Map Services that you can access andÂ invited some staff along to talk about using the area and how to create metadata through Geodoc.Â There is also anÂ open invitationÂ to staff and students to store any spatial data they want to make available to others on the drive as long as they also give it a metadata file to keep it company.
Really none of that had to happen in the map library but I think that the physical space it provides is more important than you might think. Now we have a place that encourages access to data Â and metadata creation. This together with a map librarian who willÂ help people through the use of the resourcesÂ like Geodoc, makes it a place for spatial data management and access. The walls have posters espousing data sources,Â Gogeo and metadata creation and IGES has taken a step towards changing its culture of data management.
I like to think of theÂ map library as a locus of good practice that will spreadÂ the message of spatial data management.