[open-geodata] We need more actions in the open geodata movement

Lance McKee lmckee at opengeospatial.org
Tue Jul 19 12:54:41 UTC 2011


> I believe that the geo topic is very important and needs more  
> actions so
> we can have more open geo data.


Open geospatial data depends ultimately on diverse systems being able  
to publish, discover, assess, access and use geographic information of  
diverse types. See the work of the hydrology and oceans/meteorology  
domain working groups (http://www.opengeospatial.org/projects/groups/ 
wg) in the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to see how this is  
evolving in science. See Mike Jackson's comments below regarding open  
geospatial data in other domains.

Yesterday I sent Jenny Molloy "18 Reasons for Open Publication of  
Geoscience Data" (see below).

There's a lot of exciting work being done on this topic, and much more  
remains to be done. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) is  
beginning to look at geospatial as an important aspect of  
cyberinfrastructure (http://www.vector1media.com/spatialsustain/nsf-anticipates-16m-in-increased-funding-for-geo-cyberinfrastructure.html 
). Computer-mediated collection, exploration and analysis of  
geospatial data will become increasing important, and open data, for  
reasons outlined below, will be a necessary part of this. As in the  
non-geo neighborhoods of open science, progress depens on redesigning  
institutions, incentives, practices, business models and habits of  
mind that are artifacts of the pre-digital era.



Lance McKee
Senior Staff Writer
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
+1 508-752-0108
lmckee at opengeospatial.org

The OGC: Making location count.

18 Reasons for Open Publication of Geoscience Data

By Lance McKee
Senior Staff Writer
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
lancemckee at opengeospatial.org

Despite rapid advances in technical capabilities for data sharing,  
much of the data collected by Earth scientists (other than data from  
civil agencies'’ satellite-borne imaging systems) is not easily  
available to other scientists. There are at least 18 reasons for  
making Earth location-referenced data  discoverable, assessable,  
accessible and widely usable:

Reason 1: Data transparency
Science demands transparency regarding data collection methods, data  
semantics and processing methods. Data – and scientific rigor -- need  
to be documented! Subtending to this reason is another reason: cross- 
checking between data collections for sensor accuracy.

Reason 2: Verifiability
Science demands verifiability. Any competent person should be able to  
examine a researcher’s data to see if those data support the  
researcher’s conclusions.

Reason 3: Useful unification of observations
Being able to characterize, in a standardized human-readable and  
machine-readable way, the parameters of sensors, sensor systems and  
sensor-integrated processing chains (including human interventions)  
enables useful unification of many kinds of observations, including  
those that yield a term rather than a number.

Reason 4: Cross-disciplinary studies
Diverse data sets with well-documented data models or application  
schemas can be shared among diverse information communities. An  
information community is a group of people, such as a discipline or  
profession, who share a common geospatial feature data dictionary,  
including definitions of feature relationships, and a common metadata  
schema. Cross-disciplinary data sharing provides improved  
opportunities for cross-disciplinary studies.

Reason 5: Longitudinal studies
Archiving, publishing and preserving well-documented data yields  
improved opportunities for longitudinal studies. As data formats, data  
structures, and data models evolve, scientists will need to access  
historical data and understand the assumptions so that meaningful  
scientific comparisons can be conducted. Community standards will help  
ensure long-term consistency of data representation. (Subtending to  
this reason is another reason: support for study and advancement of  
scientific ontologies.)

Reason 6: Re-use
Open data enables scientists to re-use or repurpose data for new  
investigations, reducing redundant data collection and enabling  
science to be done more efficiently.

Reason 7: Planning
Open data policies enable collaborative planning of data collection  
and publishing efforts to serve multiple defined and yet-to-be-defined  

Reason 8: Return on investment
With open data policies, institutions and society overall will see  
greater return on their investment in research, most directly because  
of reasons 6, 7 and 17, but perhaps most significantly because of  
reason 15.

Reason 9: Due diligence
Open data policies will help research funding institutions perform due  
diligence and policy development because it will be easier to review  
researchers’ and research programs’ past performance with respect to  
data quality and metadata quality.

Reason 10: Maximizing value
The value of data increases with the number of potential users. This  
benefits science in a general way. It also creates opportunities for  
businesses that will collect, curate (document, archive, host,  
catalog, publish), and add value to data. (Similar to Metcalf’s law:  
“The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the  
square” [or, some would say, some positive exponent not always 2] “of  
the number of connected users of the system.”)

Reason 11: Data discoverability
Open data is discoverable data. Data are not efficiently discovered  
through literature searches or conventional search engines. Data  
registered in online Web service based catalogs using ISO-standard XML- 
encoded metadata and using services that implement Open Geospatial  
Consortium standards enable efficient and fine-grained searches.

Reason 12: Data exploration
Robust data descriptions and quick access to data will enable more  
frequent and rapid exploration of data – “natural experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_experime 
nt)” – to explore hypothetical spatial relationships and to discover  
unexpected spatial relationships.

Reason 13: Data fusion
Open data improves the ability to "fuse" in-situ measurements with  
data from scanning sensors. This bridges the divide between  
communities using unmediated raw spatial-temporal data and communities  
using spatial-temporal data that is the result of a complex processing  

Reason 14: Service chaining
Open data (and open online processing services) will improve  
scientists’ ability to "chain" Web services for data reduction,  
analysis and modeling.

Reason 15: Pace of science
Open data enables an accelerated pace of scientific discovery, as  
automation and improved institutional arrangements give researchers  
more time for field work, study and communication.

Reason 16: Citizen science and outreach
Open science will help Science win the hearts and minds of the non- 
scientific public, because it will make science more believable and it  
will help engage amateur scientists – citizen scientists – who  
contribute to science and help promote science. It will also increase  
the quality and quantity of amateur scientists’ contributions.

Reason 17: Forward compatibility
Open Science improves the ability to adopt and utilize new/better data  
storage, format, discovery, and transmission technologies as they  
become available.

Reason 18: Timely intervention
“Changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three,  
one reason we need real-time science. ... Governances must be able to  
see and act upon key intervention points.”

	• Part One: 18 Reasons for Open Publication of Geoscience Data. By  
Lance McKee, posted on August 4th, 2010.

	• Part Two: Geospatial Standards: Opening Up the Geosciences. By  
Lance McKee, posted on February 2nd, 2011

	• Part Three: Standards Enable Open Geoscience Opportunities. By  
Lance McKee, posted on March 30th, 2011

On Jul 18, 2011, at 7:13 AM, Jenny Molloy wrote:

> Hi All
> Just a reminder for those interested in contributing to the Royal  
> Society 'Science as a Public Enterprise' Call for Evidence that I'll  
> be on Skype and Etherpad from 17:30 GMT (18:30 BST) this evening to  
> draft out a response. Please join me!
> If the timing is inconvenient please leave any comments you would  
> like included on the Etherpad http://okfnpad.org/sciencewg-RS-SAPE  
> at some point during the next week. These can be a stream of  
> conciousness if you like - they can always be edited :)
> The date for submission is 5th August and I hope we will have  
> something together by the end of July.
> Jenny.
> On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 11:19 AM, Jenny Molloy  
> <jenny.molloy at okfn.org> wrote:
> Dear All
> We have a couple of writing based projects on the go at the moment  
> so in an effort to get them well on the way and divide them between  
> people in manageable chunks, we'll be holding writing sprints for  
> the next two Monday evenings:
> Monday 11th July (17:30-19:30 UTC/GMT) - Panton Principles Case  
> Studies http://okfnpad.org/sciencewg-PPcasestudies
> (previous email http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/open-science/2011-June/000837.html)
> Monday 18th July (17:30-19:30 UTC/GMT) - Royal Society SAPE Call for  
> Evidence http://okfnpad.org/sciencewg-RS-SAPE
> (blog post http://science.okfn.org/2011/05/19/royal-society-townhall-meeting-on-open-science/)
> If you're interested in contributing, read the background before  
> dropping in, add your name to the Etherpad and we'll start off on  
> Skype to assign tasks before shifting  to Etherpad. Left over  
> sections will be divided up at the end for people to take away with  
> them - if you want to  :)
> If you can't attend on the evening, please still contribute comments  
> and suggestions to the pads at your convenience and if any sections  
> are left unclaimed on the night I'll email them out to the mailing  
> list.
> Thanks very much and I look forward to writing with some of you next  
> Monday!
> Jenny
> _______________________________________________
> open-science mailing list
> open-science at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-science

On Jul 19, 2011, at 6:19 AM, Mike Jackson wrote:

> Please see my talk related to this topic that I gave at the Third  
> Open Source GIS Conference (OSGIS 2011) University of Nottingham, UK, 
> 21-22nd June 2011. 'The impact of open data, open source software  
> and open standards on the evolution of National SDIs'  http://uiwapmds01.nottingham.ac.uk/QCSPlace/ondemand/Events11/a5a1e446858f4867b77716111a/run.htm
> I would be pleased to receive feed-back on the thoughts presented.
> Mike.
> Prof. Mike Director
> Centre for Geospatial Science
> The University of Nottingham
> The Nottingham Geospatial Building
> University of Nottingham Innovation Park
> Triumph Road
> Nottingham  NG7 2TU
> UK
> Tel. +44 (0)115 8468130
> Mobile +44 (0)781 0867674
> www.nottingham.ac.uk/cgs
> -----Original Message-----
> From: open-geodata-bounces at lists.okfn.org [mailto:open-geodata-bounces at lists.okfn.org 
> ] On Behalf Of Maurizio Napolitano
> Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 10:48 AM
> To: open-geodata at lists.okfn.org
> Subject: [open-geodata] We need more actions in the open geodata  
> movement
> When I speak about open data, one of the first things that is taken  
> into
> account is the geo data topic.
> They are often referred to as "magics", "specials", "importants" ...
> Despite this the talks at the OKCon conference about the geo topic  
> were few.
> Furthermore, in those few, the google map was present in 90% of cases.
> I believe that the geo topic is very important and needs more  
> actions so
> we can have more open geo data.
> This mailing list might help you grow.
> The traffic is very low.
> http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/open-geodata/
> I'm the only one who feels this problem?
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