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Participatory Web


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Presentation given to MIMAS staff regarding open data visualisaiton utilities

Presentation given to MIMAS staff regarding open data visualisaiton utilities

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  • 1. The ‘Participatory Web’ and Data Visualisation Tools Stuart Macdonald EDINA National Data Centre & Edinburgh University Data Library
  • 2.
    • Context
    • DISC-UK DataShare
    • A JISC-funded collaborative project led by EDINA at the University of Edinburgh, with the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Southampton.
    • Explore new pathways to assist academics wishing to share their data over the Internet via Institutional Repositories (IRs)
    • Investigate alternative mechanisms for researchers to share data beyond the IR.
  • 3. Data Visualisation: The set of techniques used to turn a set of data into visual insight. It aims to give the data a meaningful representation by exploiting the powerful discerning capabilities of the human eye*. * Edinburgh Online Graphics Dictionary –
  • 4.
        • Programmableweb - http:// /tag/mapping - map or spatial mash-up ‘resource discovery tool’
        • GeoCommons – - ‘brings intelligence to the GeoWeb, unleashing tools and data’ (downloadable as CSV, KML, Shape)
        • OpenStreetMap – free editable map of the whole world - see also Platial, Mapbuilder, Mapufacture
        • BODC
        • SRON & KMNI
        • U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center
        • USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
        • UNHCR layer in Google Earth – mash together news, images, video, statistical databases relating to refugees across the globe via the “Google Earth Outreach programme” -
      • Spatial Data Visualisation
  • 5.
    • UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis -
    • develop computing technologies in several disciplines which deal with geography, space, location and the built environment -
    • GeoVUE – one of the 7 nodes of the National Centre for e-Social Science set up to develop ‘new kinds of virtual urban environments’ (VUEs) through which users can participate in furthering their understanding of cities
      • London Profiler - link publicly available datasets such as Population Census to non-proprietary mapping e.g. visualising a neighbourhood's geodemographic profile using different area classifications through Google Maps -
      • MapTube – a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online created by GMapCreator.
      • Engage in other forms of collaboration e.g. Virtual London (via Second Life)
  • 6.
    • … and there’s more
      • John Hopkins University’s Interactive Map Tool
        • Supports digital field assignments allowing users to create custom mashups using a variety of digital media, text and data – http:// www.cer.jhu/index.cfm?pageID =351
      • Minnesota Interactive Internet Mapping Project
        • A mapping application that provides maps and imagery similar to Google Maps – claims to be data rich, interactive, secure, easy to use, have analytical capabilities - http:// /
      • Research at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona
        • Researchers mining spatial-temporal data provided by geotagged Flickr photos of urban locations –
        • Thematic Mapping Engine (TME) enables you to visualise global statistics on Google Earth. The primary data source is UNData - http:// /
  • 7.
    • Numeric Data Visualisation Tools:
    • ‘ Open’ ethos – anyone can upload/download or use data
    • Commercial Services embracing Web 2.0 business models
    • Collaborative and participatory – “harnessing collective intelligence”
    • The Death of Distance
    • Easy to use
  • 8.
    • But …
    • Ephemeral nature of web
    • Not trusted repositories / archives
    • If it’s computer generated and looks good it must be right!
  • 9. Numeric Data Visualisation Utilities
  • 10.
    • Comparison of 8 Web 2.0 numeric data visualisation tools
    Upload data file
  • 11. Horizontal Bar Chart Pie Chart
  • 12.
    • Macro-data Visualisation
        • OECD Country Statistical Profiles – OECD statistics in SDMX (Statistical Data Mark-up eXchange) -
        • IMF Data Mapper -
        • Stat@tlas Europe - An online atlas of European statistical themes hosted by the Federal Statistical Office of Switzerland
        • Eurostat Tables Graphs Maps (TGM) - an interactive user interface to Eurostat data
        • UNData – http:// & UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Data Portal - - spatial and numeric data visualisation tools
  • 13.
    • The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) - promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age - .
    • Open Data Commons – set of legal tools to assist in provision and use of open data:
        • Public Domain Dedication Licence (PDDL) - public domain for data/databases
        • Open Database Licence (ODbL) – Share-alike for data/databases
    • Projects:
    • Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) - a registry of open knowledge packages and projects - http:// /
    • Weaving History - http:// / - spatio-temporal visualisation of events
    • Open Economics - provides open content, data and code related to Economics -
    • Working groups: Open Environmental Data, Open Geodata
  • 14.
    • Wolfram|Alpha & Google Public Data Project
    • Wolfram|Alpha – ‘Computational Knowledge Engine’ (or giant semantic calculator)
      • Data maintained by Wolfram Research – collection of curated and standardised datasets include: astronomical, chemical; geopolitical; financial; biomedical; meteorological
      • Deploy formulas and algorithms to compute answers for searchers
      • Not editable nor interactive – output semantically poor (pixel images)
      • Share prices / weather data delivered in real-time
    • Google Public Data Project – ‘ a new search feature that makes it easy to find and
    • compare public data’
      • Data from US Bureau of Labour Statistics & US Census Bureau’s Population Division
      • Deploy Motion Chart * plus other visualisation tools from Gapminder Trendalyzer
      • Results to search query as interactive and customisable graphs
      • Data import facility
      • Soliciting more ‘free, authoritative, high quality’ data from governmental agencies,
      • research institutions
    * Public use component of Gapminder – part of the Google Visualisation API
  • 15. Google Squared – a Google Labs project – looks for facts from webpages, pulls them together, and organises them into a table with rows and columns e.g. search for Scottish Islands
  • 16. Other Semantic innovations Powerset - (Microsoft) Hakia - Calais - (Reuters) AdaptiveBlue - Twine - Freebase - (Metaweb)
  • 17.
    • Are such utilities a flash in the pan or here to stay?
    • Are they more appealing for researchers than IRs?
    • Is such functionality desirable in IRs?
    • Do they lack gravitas for academic purposes?
    • Can/should institutions support the use of these tools?
    • Do such ‘open data’ resources contribute to the ‘Global Database’?
    Food for thought ….
  • 18. Thank You DISC-UK DataShare [email_address]