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OKCon 2008 - Lessons from Environmental information

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The presentation covers several areas of open information and access to environmental information, starting with a short overview of the background, followed by some examples of environmental ...

The presentation covers several areas of open information and access to environmental information, starting with a short overview of the background, followed by some examples of environmental information over the internet from the past 14 years, then a few examples of recent development, and a discussion of the work that we’ve been carrying out at UCL recently. Finally, there are observations on access to information in the environmental field .

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OKCon 2008 - Lessons from Environmental information OKCon 2008 - Lessons from Environmental information Presentation Transcript

  • Open Knowledge - Learning from environmental information Muki Haklay Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering UCL UCL Source: iMP
  • Content
    • Open information and environmental field
    • Environmental information on the Internet
    • Web 2.0/NeoGeography and Environmental Information
    • Community data collection – noise
    • Observations
  • Environmental information – open before you’ve been born ...
    • 1972 Stockholm declaration, Principles 19 & 20: “ It is also essential that mass media of communications … disseminates information of an educational nature on the need to protect and improve the environment” “ In this connection , the free flow of up-to-date scientific information and transfer of experience must be supported and assisted , to facilitate the solution of environmental problems”
    • 1992 Rio declaration, (Principle 10): “Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens… At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities … and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available . Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings… shall be provided.”
    Access to information, participation and justice
  • And on and on ...
    • 1998 ‘Aarhus convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters’
    • 2003 – EU directives 2003/35/EC, 2003/4/EC
    • 2004 – UK Environmental Information Regulations 2004 - SI 2004/3391
  • ArcInfo 7 SAS CIESIN, EPA, Environment Canada 1994 1997 version, Archive.org
  • 1995 Sun Sparc 20 ArcInfo 7 (donated by ESRI) Oracle 6 Susan Pipes, Leslie St. James
  • 1998
  • http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/ 2008
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  • 1997
  • Open, but useful?
  • http://www.naei.org.uk/emissions/postcode_2003.php 2008
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  • Remains open, but is it more useful?
  • http://www.londonnoisemap.com/ 2004
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  • Does Web 2.0/NeoGeography provides better information?
    • For :
    • Bottom-up, User led
    • Strong interest in user participation
    • Against:
    • Analysis of environmental information is non trivial, thus adds to the noise, not the signal
    • Too much focus on technology and information, not action
    • Motives?
  • http://www.geocommons.com/
  • Source: mapperz
  • Community participation and data collection
    • Work carried out in collaboration with London 21 Sustainability Network (+ Planning Aid for London, London Sustainability Exchange & London Thames Gateway Forum)
    • Focusing on Environmental Justice and support for community-development pressures conflicts
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  • “ My Hackney Wick”
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  • Scrap yard Community Centre School
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  • Observations
    • Long history of open information
    • Open information is not enough – making sense of it, spatial literacy (map reading), technology literacy (using computers) are more important
    • Information need to be linked with action, but even that does not guarantee usefulness due to power relationships
    • Too many times, environmental information is used to demonstrate some innovation in technology, but without much substance
  • Open tools for Open information?
    • It’s not about the tools, but about the skills, ability and knowledge of the users and the organisations.
    • Ease of use is very significant (Google Maps) and currently, usability of open tools (e.g. GRASS) is severely lacking .
    • Technological development are conversely disempowering small organisations and groups rather than empowering
    • Web 2.0 is over focusing on individuals and not groups
  • Contact and acknowledgment
    • Muki Haklay – [email_address]
    • The work reported here is supported by UrbanBuzz, LSx, London 21, ESRC and UCL
    • Many thanks to Louise Francis, Colleen Whitaker, Claire Ellul, Alethea Kimmel-Guy, Sarah Theakston, Gemma Moore and Christian Nold