The Open Data Revolution

On March 21, 2011, in Conference Session, GIS, by GIScience Research Group

A workshop on “Open Government: Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards” organized jointly by Dr Hanif Rahemtulla, Horizon Digital Economy Research and Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons in conjunction with the annual Open Source GIS Conference (OSGIS), June 21, 2011, Nottingham, United Kingdom. The workshop will be held at the School of Geography/Centre for Geospatial Science at the University of Nottingham. This meeting follows and builds upon “Law and the GeoWeb”, a workshop exploring intellectual property issues with geographic data in the internet era, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of Association of American Geographers, April 11, 2011 at the campus of Microsoft Research, Seattle, Washington.

The “Open Government” workshop will bring together speakers from across industry, research and academia to contribute towards some of the fundamental theoretical and technical questions emerging in the Open Data space (i.e., how to mark up and release open data; licensing models for governments; conflicts between data protection and transparency and structuring access to data by different groups). The session will be a series of presented papers with a lively explorative session which will inform, provoke and encourage discussion.

Proceedings of the Seattle and Nottingham workshops and selected longer papers will be published in a special issue of the open-access International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Registration for the OSGIS and workshop will commence shortly.  If you require any further information regarding the workshop please contact either Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla, Horizon Digital Economy Research at the University of Nottingham (hanif.rahemtulla[AT]nottingham.ac.uk) or Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons (punkish[AT]creative commons.org].

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The term “Open Data” refers to the philosophical and methodological approach to the democratization of data enabling citizens to access and create value through the reuse of public sector information. Today, Open Data is gathering momentum and forms part of a global movement linked to Open Access and comparable to other Open movements such as Open Source.

Today, the Open Data movement has created great excitement in the developer community with a seemingly endless stream of novel and innovative applications, tools and visualizations that repurposes and enriches public data.

However, while Open Data gives rise to many new opportunities it also poses many challenges. As Boyd (2010) states, access to public information to provide transparency represents only the first step to a more informed citizenry. The success of Open Data will depend in part upon addressing existing barriers to access which encompasses issues such as digital inclusion and information literacy. As such, there is much work still to do to make this promised future happen.

This special feature in the Journal of Spatial Information Science aims to bring together some of the key developers, academics and writers on Open Data to document its lineage, debate its philosophy and methods and to envision its future. Contributions are welcome from any source, and in any style appropriate to the arguments being made.

The deadline for the submission of full research articles is 30th June 2011.  Articles will be subject to the normal JOSIS peer review process. For more details of the submission process CLICK HERE.

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Abstracts are invited for a session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers conference 2011. The conference runs between 31st August – 2nd September 2011; the exact date of this special session is to be confirmed. The session is hosted by the GIScRG, and will be chaired by Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla and Professor Paul Longley.

More about the session:

“The term “Open Data” refers to the philosophical and methodological approach to the democratization of data enabling citizens to access and create value through the reuse of public sector information. Today, Open Data is gathering momentum and forms part of a global movement linked to Open Access and comparable to other Open movements such as Open Source. To date, this movement is being led by government institutions in the UK, USA and Australia through pioneering initiatives such as Data.Gov and the London DataStore. These initiatives, which are being replicated across cities, states and countries (i.e., Open Toronto and New Zealand Open Data Catalogue) provide access to “non-sensitive government datasets, at no cost, to citizens, citizen groups, non-governmental-organisations (NGOs) and businesses” (Lauriault, 2008).

The Open Data Initiative will, it is envisaged, support greater transparency and accountability within Government and create new economic and social value (see Oxera Study, 1999; Cambridge Study, 2008). Furthermore, as O’Reilly (2009) and others argue, the advent of Open Data will fundamentally change the nature by which citizens interact with government. Specifically, the release of public data online and public APIs (which is already underway in some places) will create a platform supporting the development of third-party communication applications outside of government (Headd, 2010). This it is expected will provide a vehicle for expanding public outreach and enhancing public engagement leading to “a more responsive and citizen-focused government” (Madera, 2009).

Today, the Open Data movement has created great excitement in the developer community with a seemingly endless stream of novel and innovative applications, tools and visualizations that repurposes and enriches public data – and has lead to some of the most exciting developments in mobile GIS, web-cartography and LBS in recent years.

However, while Open Data gives rise to a many new opportunities it also poses many challenges. As Boyd (2010) states, access to public information to promote transparency represents only the first step to a more informed citizenry. The success of Open Data will depend in part upon addressing existing barriers to access which encompasses issues such as digital inclusion and information literacy. As such, there is much work still to do to make this promised future happen.

This Special Session aims to bring together some of the key developers, academics and writers on Open Data to document its lineage, debate its philosophy and methods and to envision its future. Contributions are welcome from any source, and in any style appropriate to the arguments being made.”

The session will be a series of presented papers with a lively explorative session in which the four/five scholars will debate about alternative interpretations/methods/solutions within this emerging research area on Open Data.

For more information, please contact the session convenors, Hanif Rahemtulla (Hanif.Rahemtulla[AT]nottingham.ac.uk) and/or Paul Longley (plongley[AT]geog.ucl.ac.uk). Please send abstracts (350 words max.) and key words to Hanif Rahemtulla, by 20th February 2011.

Further details about the conference can be found here.

Abstracts are invited for a session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers conference 2011. The conference runs between 31st August – 2nd September 2011; the exact date of this special session is to be confirmed. The session is jointly hosted by the GIScRG and the Geography of Health Research Group (GHRG).

More about the session:

“This session is concerned with the research agenda related to the role natural, social and physical environments have on health related behaviours. The connection between these spatial and the social elements plays a vital role in developing more liveable, sustainable and resilient communities. We would like to call for papers in line with the following topics:

* Exploring the implications of current environments on the health and well-being of different groups and communities
* New methods for measuring and visualizing environmental indicators, people’s behaviour and the relationships between them
* Innovative methods for promoting healthy and active lifestyles
* Evidence based policy recommendations in relation to healthy living environments and behaviour.”

The session will take the form of 5 presented papers. Each will be 20-25 minutes including time for questions.

For more information, please contact the session convenors, Yi Gong (GongY2[AT]cardiff.ac.uk) and/or Catherine (Kate) Jones (Kate.Jones[AT]port.ac.uk). Please send abstracts (350 words max.) to the session convenors, by 20th February 2011.

Further details about the conference can be found here.

Abstracts are invited for a session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers conference 2011. The conference runs between 31st August – 2nd September 2011; the exact date of this special session is to be confirmed. The session is jointly hosted by the GIScRG and the Geography of Leisure and Tourism Research Group (GLTRG)

More about the session:

“With this year’s theme being “The Geographical Imagination” we invite papers and presentations from members who wish to present their work that links aspects of GIScience to conceptualising tourism in geographic space. Because tourists exist in space at a specific time, we are particularly interested in papers and presentations that address how tourists/visitors interact with their environment and how this can be modelled in geographic space. We welcome papers and presentations that employ GIScience to the study of geography of leisure and tourism, including:

* Geographic information systems and spatial analyses
* Remote Sensing
* Satellite Positioning
* Tourist mobility tracking and monitoring
* Wayfinding
* Web 2 technology and volunteered geographic information
* Geovisualising tourism landscapes.”

Format of the session should be 4-5 presentations of 20 mins with 5 mins of questions (and 5 min change-over).

For more information, please contact the session convenors, Steve Carver (s.j.carver[AT]leeds.ac.uk) and Colin Arrowsmith (colin.arrowsmith[AT]rmit.edu.au). Please send abstracts (350 words max.) to the session convenors, by 20th February 2011.

Further details about the conference can be found at: www.rgs.org/AC2011.

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The organising committee for the European Colloquium of Quantitative and Theoretical Geography (ECQTG2011) would like to invite submissions of abstracts for their 17th conference, to take place at the Harokopio University of Athens, Greece, from the 2nd – 5th September 2011. The conference is formally organised by the Greek Society for Demographic Studies.

The colloquium is principally concerned with recent advances in the areas of Quantitative and Theoretical Geography, and welcomes the contribution of high quality, original submissions. Presentations may describe work of methodological theoretical interest, either recently completed or in progress. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Applications of spatial data analysis and geostatistics
  • Statistical inference
  • Space-time processes in regional science
  • Geographical flows and networks
  • Population dynamics
  • Urban dynamics and growth
  • Economic geography and the spatial economy
  • Natural resource management and risk analysis
  • Spatial processes related to Renewable Energy and the Green Economy
  • Climate change
  • Health geography and epidemiology
  • Cellular automata, multi-agent systems and cooperative phenomena
  • Spatial data visualisation
  • Innovative and inter-disciplinary methods for spatial data
  • Epistemological issues in quantitative geography

Proposals for special sessions, including named proposals among participants, are welcome.

Please email your abstract (as an e-mail attachment, 1 page maximum) to ecqtg[AT]gisc.gr by 30th March 2011. Abstracts for special sessions should also be submitted to the session organiser.

Further details about the conference can be found at http://gisc.gr/ecqtg11.

Call for Papers – RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2011

On November 20, 2010, in RGS IBG, by GIScience Research Group

Abstracts are invited for a session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers annual conference 2011. The conference theme is the ‘Geographical Imagination’, and will take place from 31st August – 2nd September, in London.

Sessions may take the form of presented papers, panels, practitioner forums, discussions or workshops. Innovative sessions and formats are encouraged. Sessions are 1 hour 40 minutes long. Most sessions will contain five 20-minute presentations, which includes time for questions, or four 20-minute presentations with discussion and questions at the end. Interactive short papers sessions (5 to 10 min presentations with plenary discussion at the end) usually accommodate up to 8 papers.

To apply for a GIScRG sponsored session, please send your session proposal (max 500 words), the name of the session convenor(s) and the session format (e.g. panel, paper session, discussion) to Yi Gong (Yi.gong[AT]manchester.ac.uk) by 24th November 2010.

More about the conference theme:

“Visualisation, mapping, environmental reconstruction, landscape symbolism, terrain modelling, place picturing, virtual worlds, visionary worlds, cultural ecologies,  climatic scenarios, patterned ground, sites of representation, image making, theory building, field observation…so many subjects and methods, topics and technologies, across the broad spectrum of geography, are powerfully shaped by a geographical imagination.�
The conference will explore many dimensions of the geographical imagination, including its histories and futures, meanings and materials, pleasures and politics, practices and effects.  We welcome sessions and papers on the place of the imagination in geography’s many fields of enquiry, including multi-disciplinary fields within and beyond geography, and those which engage with a wider public.�
Contributors are invited to address both traditional and experimental aspects of the geographical imagination, its down to earthness as well as its sense of adventure, its role in creating factual, measurable and practical knowledge as well as conjectural and speculative findings.  We also welcome contributions that explore the geographical imagination as a medium of communication and dissemination, crossing communities within and beyond geography, and its role in making an impact in a wider world.”

Further details about the conference can be found here.

GIS History from a UK/ European Perspective

On October 29, 2010, in GIS, by James Cheshire

Jack Dangermond and ESRI are sponsoring a survey of some early GIS pioneers, hoping to discover how much material they still hold on the early history of GIS and with a view to establish an archive that will capture this important legacy.  Somewhat indirectly, I have been asked if I know of anything of this nature happening in UK and if I can find materials (papers, correspondence, photos, card stacks, programs—anything “interesting”!) that would be appropriate for a history of GIS archive. A particular interest might be in early work in geographical computing and programming.

My own interest arises from the very partial picture of GIS history painted in Tim Foresman’s book that virtually ignored all the UK and European work that was going on at the same time but that, by and large, did not make it into commercial success. I think it important that this work does not get air-brushed out of any record that might in future be thought of as definitive.

So, does anyone in the group have materials that could be contributed to an archive? In no special order I’d be interested in things like John Tarrant’s list s of geographic computer programs, anything to do with Tom Waugh’s incredibly forward looking GIMMS system, the BBC Domesday project, and Birkbeck’s acquisition of Arc/INFO.

Please email me if you have any such material so that I can compile a list. I am afraid that retirement and several office moves mean that, other than a valued copy of Dick Baxter’s book, I seem to have lost much of my own records.

Dave Unwin

david.unwin at onetel.net

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FREE Open Data Master Classes

On October 13, 2010, in Workshop, by James Cheshire

The past few months have seen a number of high profile announcements on the
release of central and local government data for free. The Prime Minister
launched the data.gov.uk portal to ‘open up data and promote transparency’
and the London Mayor announced the London Data Store to ‘give Londoners the
change to find out more about how the city is run’. There is great
excitement in the developer community and many new mash-ups and apps have
been produced from the released data already.

The Horizon Digital Economy Research and the Centre for Geospatial Science
at the University of Nottingham in partnership with data.gov.uk and
GeoVation is proud to announce a series of FREE one-day Open Data Master
Classes to reach a wide cross section of people (i.e., individuals,
communities, grassroots organizations, NGOs to civil servants and
professionals) who can benefit from a greater understanding of the
opportunities around open data. Specifically, the one-day master class will
provide individuals with the tools and techniques needed to use and analysis
a range of Open Datasets that are of relevance and interest to them such as,
for example, school census data, health care provision, crime statistics and
transportation data.

The Open Data Master Classes combine theory and practicals with guest
lectures from prominent members in the field from government, academia and
business. The Master Classes will provide participants the opportunity to
use and harness Open Datasets from various government departments and public
sector organizations including Higher Education, Health Care, Transport and
Environment – and in doing so, participants will learn a range of techniques
from data collection and processing to data analysis and map visualization.
The content of the Master Classes is suitable for a wider spectrum of
participants with various levels of IT experience, although some familiarity
with web browsing and Microsoft Excel is assumed.

The Open Data Master Classes series starts in November at the University of
Newcastle (8th Nov) before moving on to University College London (10th
Nov), Nottingham University (12th Nov), University of Aberdeen (17th Nov),
Royal Geographical Society London (18th Nov) and University of Southampton
(3rd Dec). We will be able to offer each master class to 30-40 participants.
We have secured use of purpose built facilitates within each university
including state-of-the-art lecture theatres and computer rooms.

To register visit http://bit.ly/opendataMC or for further information
contact Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla at hanif.rahemtulla@nottingham.ac.uk

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RGS Annual Conference: Recommended Sessions

On August 12, 2010, in Conference Session, by James Cheshire

Here are our recommended sessions for those who have an interest in GIScience and are attending the forthcoming RGS Annual Conference.

2011 GB Census: Planning Ahead.

Friday; Session 2231; RGS-IBG Drayson Room; Link to speakers.

Analysing and Visualising Social Change: Postgraduate research in GIScience.*

Thursday; Session 2143; Electrical Engineering, Room 509a; Link to speakers.

Distance, Speed and Time: The Fundamentals of Transport Geography.

Wednesday; Session 354; RGS-IBG Pavilion; Link to Speakers.

Enhancing Complex Social Simulations with Automata Systems.*

Thursday; Session 3175; Electrical Engineering, Room 509a; Link to speakers.

GIS for Environmental Modelling.*

Thursday; Session 4200; Electrical Engineering, Room 509a; Link to speakers.

Governance and the Geoweb.*

Friday; Session 1226; Sherfield Building, Room 7; Link to Speakers.

Postgraduate Research in Transport (1): Mobility, sustainability and behaviour of individuals.

Friday; Session 1219; Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Room 121; Link to Speakers.

Postgraduate Research in Transport (2): Infrastructure, development and urban form.

Friday; Session 2235; Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Room 121; Link to Speakers.

The Spatial Dimensions of Health.

Wednesday; Session 123; Sherfield Building, Room 7; Link to Speakers.

There is no place like home! – Why historians would want to use GIS.

Friday; Session 3252; RGS-IBG Lowther Room; Link to Speakers.

*GIScience Research Group organised sessiom.

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