Visualizing and Animating Large-scale Spatiotemporal Data with ELBAR Explorer

Visual exploration of data enables users and analysts observe interesting patterns that can trigger new research for further investigation. With the increasing availability of Linked Data, facilitating support for making sense of the data via visual exploration tools for hypothesis generation is critical. Time and space play important roles in this because of their ability to illustrate dynamicity, from a spatial context. Yet, Linked Data visualization approaches typically have not made efficient use of time and space together, apart from typical rather static multivisualization approaches and mashups. We developed ELBAR explorer that visualizes a vast amount of scientific observational data about the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. The core contribution is a novel mechanism for animating between the different observed values, thus illustrating the observed changes themselves.

ELBAR-explorer will be demoed at ISWC2014 in October, 2014. The following paper will give more details:

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An award for The Triangle of Sustainability project

The Triangle of Sustainability (in German “Dreieck der Nachhaltigkeit”) by  Thomas Bartoscheck and Tomi Kauppinen and their big team from the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster was  awarded 8000€ and a second place in Wissenschaft interaktiv 2012 organized during June 2–6, 2012, Lübeck, Germany.

The Triangle of Sustainability is an interactive show to explore observations about deforestation of rainforests and related phenomena such as road networks, political situation, and market prices of agricultural products on maps and timelines.  The Triangle thus connects three important aspects–ecological, economical and social–of sustainability. By doing this the Triangle serves as a show of what is achievable by  interconnecting different scientific assets via the Linked Science approach. The goal is to raise the awareness, and understanding of different factors of sustainability. The Triangle thus serves as an example of how the research field of Geoinformatics, and more generally Geographic Information Science can serve the society in these tasks.

The resulting information can be explored on three screens (see the figure above). The interaction is made extremely simple yet powerful, no additional tools are required for the participants. All the spatial and temporal information can be zoomed and panned simply by making gestures using hands.

The video below gives the idea of how the interaction works.

The technological basis is built on the power of Linked Data techniques for interconnecting these very heterogenous data about different environmental and social phenomena. The data used by the show is the Linked Brazilian Amazon Rainforest published at LinkedScience.org.

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Geosensor Networks in IRTG Virtual Seminar Series on GIScience

As part of the IRTG Virtual Seminar Series on GIScience – Bridging Theory and Application there will be a talk on June 8th by Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Monika Sester from the University of Hannover to give a talk about Geosensor networks. The talk will be published online as a podcast later in June.

Abstract of the talk:

Geosensor networks for the observation and monitoring of environmental phenomena are a recent trend in GIScience. What is new – as opposed to traditional geodetic networks – is the fact that different sensors act independently, have the capability to communicate and thus the network is able to operate beyond the individual sensors’ capabilities. In this way, the network as such is more than the sum of the individual sensors. Besides their own position, geosensors capture information about the environment, such as temperature or humidity. In the context of engineering geodesy, sensor networks are used for monitoring purposes, e.g. to observe and monitor georisks such as landslides. In the talk, different aspects of geosensor networks are presented using examples from research at the institute of Cartography and Geoinformatics (ikg).


During summer semester 2012 the IRTG Joint Virtual Seminars will focus on stimulating local and international  collaborative efforts in Geographic Information Science, Computing Technology and Engineering. 


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The Triangle of Sustainability Awarded

 

The Triangle of Sustainability (in German “Dreieck der Nachhaltigkeit”) by  Thomas Bartoscheck and Tomi Kauppinen from the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster was  awarded 8000€ and a Finalist Position and is competing for the first prize  in Wissenschaft interaktiv 2012, June 2–6, 2012, Lübeck, Germany.

The Triangle of Sustainability is an interactive show to explore observations about deforestation of rainforests and related phenomena such as road networks, political situation, and market prices of agricultural products on maps and timelines.  The Triangle thus connects three important aspects–ecological, economical and social–of sustainability. By doing this the Triangle serves as a show of what is achievable by  interconnecting different scientific assets via the Linked Science approach. The goal is to raise the awareness, and understanding of different factors of sustainability. The Triangle thus serves as an example of how the research field of Geoinformatics, and more generally Geographic Information Science can serve the society in these tasks.

The resulting information can be explored on three screens (see the figure above). The interaction is made extremely simple yet powerful, no additional tools are required for the participants. All the spatial and temporal information can be zoomed and panned simply by making gestures using hands.

The video below gives the idea of how the interaction works.

The technological basis is built on the power of Linked Data techniques for interconnecting these very heterogenous data about different environmental and social phenomena. The data used by the show is the Linked Brazilian Amazon Rainforest published at LinkedScience.org.

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Data Challenge Announced

There will be a Data Challenge as a part of the Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012 (GIBDA2012). The winner will be awarded a $250 price sponsored by 52North and will present at the workshop, in Columbus, Ohio, USA. September 18th.

Here is a description of the Data Challenge:

The website spatial.linkedscience.org/ contains a growing collection of metadata for proceedings of conferences on topics related to geographic information science. So far, it contains most of the metadata for the GIScience, COSIT, ACM GIS, and AGILE conference series. Within the GIBDA Data Challenge, we are looking for

  • innovative analyses of the data
  • interactive visualizations
  • approaches for cleaning the data up
  • pattern and topic mining
  • enrichment and interlinking with other datasets (e.g., from the Linked Data cloud)
  • insights into GIScience as research field
  • adding social roles and aspects

The raw data can be queried via SPARQL using the SPARQL endpoint  spatial.linkedscience.org/sparql. Submissions to the data challenge are to be submitted through EasyChair as a brief description of the entry, along with a link to the demo/analysis/dataset. Entries to the challenge will be evaluated by the program committee based on innovativeness and potential impact. The winner will be awarded a $250 price sponsored by 52North and will present at the workshop. Submissions due: 18. June 2012, see GIBDA2012 Workshop pages for more details.

Organizers of the Data Challenge

 

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Special Report on Extreme Weather Events

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)   released on 28 March, 2012 its Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).

According to IPCC, “the report assesses the evidence that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes and the extent to which policies to avoid prepare for, respond to and recover from the risks of disaster can reduce the impact of such events.”

Some comments about the report from the IPCC press release:

  • Chris Field, Co-Chair of IPCC’s Working Group II: ”The main message from the report is that we know enough to make good decisions about managing the risks of climate-related disasters. Sometimes we take advantage of this knowledge, but many times we do not.  The challenge for the future has one dimension focused on improving the knowledge base and one on empowering good decisions, even for those situations where there is lots of uncertainty. The most effective measures tend to be those that aid sustainable development, provide a diverse portfolio of options, and represent “low regrets” strategies in the sense that they yield benefits across a wide range of climate futures.”
  • R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC: “The report integrates these three areas of expertise as an IPCC product which has high policy- relevance to countries and communities across the globe. The authors assess scientific and technical information from around the world to provide and communicate knowledge on what we know with confidence, as well as identifying areas on which greater scientific evidence is essential to gain deeper understanding.”
  • Qin Dahe, Co-Chair of Working Group I: “The SREX provides an unprecedented level of detail regarding observed and expected changes in weather and climate extremes, based on a comprehensive assessment of over 1,000 scientific publications.”
  • Thomas Stocker, the other Co-Chair of Working Group I: “The report also provides improved differentiation of observed and projected changes in extremes of temperature, precipitation and drought across the continents of the globe.”

Download the report here:

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Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012

Workshop on GIScience in the Big Data Age 2012 (GIBDA2012) will be organized in conjunction with the seventh International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2012 (GIScience 2012) in Columbus, Ohio, USA on September 18th, 2012.

Workshop Description and Scope

The rapidly increasing information universe with new data created at a speed surpassing our capacities to store it, calls for improved methods to retrieve, filter, integrate, and share data. The vision of a data-intensive science hopes that the open availability of data with a higher spatial, temporal, and thematic resolution will enable us to better address complex scientific and social questions. However, on the downside, understanding, sharing, and reusing these data becomes more challenging. Big Data is not only big because it involves a huge amount of data, but also because of the high-dimensionality and inter-linkage of these data sets. The on-the-fly integration of heterogeneous data from various sources has been named one of the frontiers of Digital Earth research, Bioinformatics, the Digital Humanities, and other emerging research visions.

From a more technical perspective, a knowledge infrastructure is required to handle Big Data. Currently, the most promising approach is the Linked Data cloud. While the Web has changed with the advent of the Social Web from mostly authoritative towards increasing amounts of user-generated content, it is essentially still about linked documents. These documents provide structure and context for the described data and easy their interpretation. In contrast, the upcoming Data Web is about linking data, not documents. Such data sets are not bound to a specific document but can be easily combined and used outside of the original context. With a growth rate of millions of new facts encoded as RDF-triples per month, the Linked Data cloud allows users to answer complex queries spanning multiple sources. Due to the uncoupling of data from its original creation context, semantic interoperability, identity resolution, and ontologies are central methodologies to ensure consistency and meaningful results.

Space and time are fundamental ordering relations to structure such data and provide an implicit context for their interpretation. Prominent geo-related Linked Data hubs include Geonames.org as well as the Linked Geo Data project, which provides a RDF serialization of Open Street Map. Furthermore, many other Linked Data sources contain location references, e.g., observation data provided by sensors.

This full day workshop is a follow-up event of the successful first workshop on Linked Spatiotemporal Data at GIScience 2010. While this first workshop was centered around Linked Data and geo-ontologies, the GiBDA 2012 workshop takes a broader perspective by highlighting data-intensive science as the research vision and Linked Data as a promising knowledge infrastructure. We hope that the workshop will help better define the data, knowledge representations, infrastructure, reasoning methodologies, and tools needed to link and query massive data based on their spatial and temporal characteristics.

List of Relevant Topics

Topics of interest for the Linked Spatiotemporal Data workshop include (but are not limited to):

  • Mining Big Data

    • Learning geo-ontologies out of massive data
    • Abduction-based frameworks and systems
    • Mining Location-based Social Networks
    • Studying the geo-indicativeness of massive, semi-structured data
    • Analogy-based search in Big Data
    • Semantic heterogeneity and ontology alignment
    • Semantics-enabled geo-statistics
  • Retrieving and browsing of Linked Spatiotemporal Data

    • Learning Linked Spatiotemporal Data from existing sources
    • Spatiotemporal indexing of Linked Data
    • Harvesting Linked Data from heterogeneous sources
    • Spatial extensions to query languages (e.g., GeoSPARQL)
    • Visualizing and browsing through Linked Spatiotemporal Data
  • Big Data and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)

    • Spatiotemporal aspects of data quality, trust, and provenance
    • Tag and vocabulary recommendations for annotating VGI
    • Maintenance of outgoing links
  • Application of Linked Spatiotemporal Data

    • Linked Data and Sensor Web Enablement (SWE)
    • Linked Data and mobile applications
    • Linked Data gazetteers and Points Of Interest
    • Linked Data in the domain of cultural heritage research
  • Integration and Interoperation of Linked Spatiotemporal Data

    • Ontologies and vocabularies to support interoperability
    • Geo-Ontology Design Patterns
    • Identity assumptions and resolution for data fusion and integration
    • The role of space and time to structure Linked Data
    • Versioning of spatiotemporal data.
    • Semantic annotation and Microformats
    • Adding contextual information to Linked Data

Workshop Format and Structure

The full day workshop will focus on intensive discussions setting a roadmap towards publishing, structuring, retrieving, and consuming Linked Spatiotemporal Data and understanding how GIScience can contribute to the vision of a data-intensive science. The workshop will accept three kinds of contributions, full research papers presenting new work in the indicated areas, statements of interest, and data challenge papers. While the research papers will be selected based on the review results adhering to classical scientific quality criteria, the statements of interest should raise questions, present visions, and point to the open gaps. However, statements of interest will also be reviewed to ensure quality and clarity of the presented ideas.

We also welcome demonstrations of existing tools, applications, and geo-ontologies. Details for the data challenge are given below. The presentation time per speaker will be restricted to 5 minutes for statements of interest and 10 minutes for full papers. Based on the presented work, all workshop participants will decide on 2–3 research topics to be discussed in breakout groups. In a final session, the breakout groups will present their findings on research topics and challenges and try to integrate them across the discussed topics.

Submissions and Proceedings

All presented papers will be made available through the workshop Web-page, the electronic conference proceedings of GIScience 2012, as well as via CEUR-WS. Full research papers should be approximately 7-10 pages, while statements of interest and data challenge papers should be between 5-6 pages. Selected papers may be considered for a fast-track submission to the Semantic Web journal by IOS Press.

Please upload your submission using the workshop’s EasyChair web-page.

Data Challenge

The website spatial.linkedscience.org/ contains a growing collection of metadata for proceedings of conferences on topics related to geographic information science. So far, it contains most of the metadata for the GIScience, COSIT, ACM GIS, and AGILE conference series. Within the GIBDA Data Challenge, we are looking for

  • innovative analyses of the data
  • interactive visualizations
  • approaches for cleaning the data up
  • pattern and topic mining
  • enrichment and interlinking with other datasets (e.g., from the Linked Data cloud)
  • insights into GIScience as research field
  • adding social roles and aspects

The raw data can be queried via SPARQL using the SPARQL endpoint  spatial.linkedscience.org/sparql. Submissions to the data challenge are to be submitted through EasyChair as a brief description of the entry, along with a link to the demo/analysis/dataset. Entries to the challenge will be evaluated by the program committee based on innovativeness and potential impact. The winner will be awarded a $250 price and will present at the workshop.

Important Dates

  • Submission due: 18. June 2012
  • Acceptance Notification: 6. July 2012
  • Camera-ready Copies: 16. July 2012

Organizers

Programme Committee

  • Benjamin Adams, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • Boyan Brodaric, Geological Survey of Canada, Canada
  • Oscar Corcho, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain
  • Isabel Cruz, University Of Illionois, USA
  • Mike Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • Willem Robert van Hage, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL
  • Pascal Hitzler, Wright State University, USA
  • Werner Kuhn, University of Muenster, Germany
  • Jens Lehmann, , University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Matthew Perry, Oracle, USA
  • Simon Scheider, University of Muenster, Germany
  • Christoph Schlieder, University of Bamberg, Germany
  • Claus Stadler, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Kristin Stock, University of Nottingham, UK

Related Activities

Please feel free to contact the organizers for further questions at jano @ geog . ucsb. edu.

 

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The Vespucci Summer Institute 2012

The Vespucci Initiative 10th Annual  Summer Institute on Geographic Information ScienceThe Vespucci Initiative for the Advancement of Geographic Information Science is announcing the 10th Annual Summer Institute on Geographic Information Science in Florence, Italy, 2012.

The first week’s (June 3 to 9, 2012) topic is “Interoperability 360″. Facilitators for this week are: Harlan OnsrudIoannis  KanellopoulosStefano NativiMax CragliaMichael Gould and Werner Kuhn. Interoperability 360 intends to discuss the theoretical and practical aspects of the interoperability of systems, services, data, organisations, people, and disciplines from a holistic perspective. Traditional notions of syntactic and semantic interoperability offer only a limited view of what is needed in practice, and do not prepare you for applications in the real world. To fill this gap, the week draws on real-life experience in a global setting, contrasting an approach backed by legislation (INSPIRE), with one based on voluntary contributions (the Global Earth Observatons System of Systems or GEOSS).

The second week (July 1 to 7, 2012) will give attention to the relevance of “Spatial Information in Science and Society”. After ten successful years of Vespucci Institutes, we invite all alumni for free and newcomers with a 50% discount on the regular rate to join us in exploring the growing role of spatial information in the sciences and in society at large. Please apply by submitting a short position paper (max. 2 pages) on where you see the biggest potential for spatial data and models, what the role of spatial information is in your own work, and how your participation at one or more Vespucci Institutes has influenced your career. The week will consist of keynote addresses by invited speakers (to be announced), short presentations from participants, and ample discussion time. We are targeting a special issue of an international journal or a book as an archival outcome and “guide” for the next decade of Vespucci. Facilitators are: Cristina CapineriMax CragliaMichael Gould and Werner Kuhn.

More information and registration: http://vespucci.org/presentation

 

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The SEnsing Geographic Occurrences Ontology (SEGO)

Sensors observe certain properties, and their observed values reflect geographic occurrences and their interactions with the environment. The Sensing Geographic Occurrences Ontology (SEGO) is developed to formally capture the relations between these. The ontology elucidates the key concepts associated with geographic occurrences that are particularly significant from a sensing point of view.

SEGO is available for download as OWL, and it is presented in more detail in the following publications:

Figure 1. An example on how occurrences related to observations. A stream gauge provides sequences of observations of a water level property. These observations are produced when an amount of water flows through a certain observation point along a river. A precipitation run-off within a catchment influences the occurrence of water flow.

 

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