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Ordnance Survey and Linked Data

Ordnance Survey and Linked Data



Presentation by John Goodwin at the Talis Event 'The Web's Influence on Your Data' in London - 20th September 2011

Presentation by John Goodwin at the Talis Event 'The Web's Influence on Your Data' in London - 20th September 2011



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  • Abstract: This talk will cover the various aspects of semantics research at Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency of Britain. Motivated by the need to make our data more understandable and more easily used by our customers, our aim is to develop an ontology that represents our organisation's knowledge of topography and the data in our spatial database, along with the tools and techniques to merge ontologies and query data through them. This will then allow the integration of our data with our customers' at a semantic rather than syntactical level, as well as enable us to produce customised data products using customers' specialised terminology. Our main areas of research are: Ontology authoring, knowledge modelling and the development of a controlled natural language allowing domain experts to author ontologies; Linking ontologies to databases, both through direct use of RDF data, and the creation of virtual RDF graphs from relational databases; Merging ontologies and data; and Semantic and Spatial reasoning.
  • Data in a number of formats – convert to RDF. Will still keep different formats though!

Ordnance Survey and Linked Data Ordnance Survey and Linked Data Presentation Transcript

  • Ordnance Survey and Linked Data Dr John Goodwin
  • Ordnance Survey
    • National Mapping Agency of Great Britain
    • Best known for paper maps
    • Digital mapping now 90% of business
    • Variety of applications for public and private
    • sectors
  • Ordnance Survey - Research
    • What we do:
    • Understanding and predicting user needs
    • Data capture methods, techniques and technologies
    • Spatial data modelling
    • Product and information derivation
    • Spatial data capture, management and delivery infrastructure
    • Information usability, Interoperability and the Semantic Web
  • Information usability, Interoperability and the Semantic Web
    • Three strands of research
    • Semantic Web (what’s it all about?)
    • Enabling semantic interoperability
    • Data integration
    • Convergence on the
    • use of semantic web technology
    • Rise of the Linked Data Web
  • Programmes of Work…
    • Spatial Data Infrastructures
    • Linkable data – use of unique identifiers
    “ There remains too much duplication, too little reuse and too few linkages across datasets which are required to support policy implementation in, for example, planning, housing, flooding, social exclusion and traffic management”
  • All Change…Encourage Open Innovation
    • As of April 2010 a range of Ordnance Survey mapping data available for free
    • Two aims: to foster innovation and encourage government transparency
    • Free for commercial and non-commercial use for anyone wanting to build applications underpinned by geography
  • Open Data and Transparency “ Our ambition is to become the world leader in open data, and accelerate the accountability revolution that the internet age has unleashed”, and “The benefits are immense. Not just in terms of spotting waste and driving down costs, although that consequence of spending transparency is already being felt across the public sector. No, if anything, the social and economic benefits of open data are even greater.”
  • “ revolution that the internet age has unleashed”
  • “ revolution that the internet web age has unleashed”
  • Ordnance Survey Linked Data
    • Code-Point® Open
    • Boundary-Line™
  • Towards a URI for every ‘place’ in GB
    • http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/id/ 7000000000037256
    • http://data.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/id/postcodeunit/ SO171DP
    Postcode Ward District European Region County ward district within within within within
  • A Big Bucket of Data – Hyperlocal Example
    • “Find me all GPs in my ward, and bus stops within a 100 metre radius of those GPs”
    Environment Transport Health Education Heritage Weather Crime Council
  • ≠ opendata
  • Where Next?
    • Improved settlements, localities, landforms gazetteers
    • Large scale – new opportunities, new business models
    • Self describing data
    • UK Location Programme
  • Getting Started
    • Identify core datasets
    • Start Small…think BIG…
    • Be Agile – incremental updates
    • Others can do the heavy lifting
    • It’s really not that hard (the easy bits are very easy)
  • Summary
    • Usability: Common data model and reference of common URIs (e.g. postcodes) allows for easy data aggregation and integration
    • Shift in focus from cartography and geometries to ‘things’ and the relationships between them
    • Spatial no longer special – part of the bigger information world
    • … but location and geography is a very important information hub bring many datasets together