The metadata crisis: Can geographic information be made more usable?
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The metadata crisis: Can geographic information be made more usable?

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Barbara Poore's presentation in the 2nd Workdshop on usability of geographic information, 23rd March 2010 at UCL, London. See details at http://www.virart.nottingham.ac.uk/GI%20Usability/index.html

Barbara Poore's presentation in the 2nd Workdshop on usability of geographic information, 23rd March 2010 at UCL, London. See details at http://www.virart.nottingham.ac.uk/GI%20Usability/index.html

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  • 1. The Metadata Crisis: Can geographic information be made more usable? --Barbara Poore --Eric Wolf U.S. Geological Survey
  • 2. Excavating a politics of repair and maintenance “..perhaps we have been looking in the wrong place. Perhaps we should have been looking at breakdown and failure as no longer atypical and therefore only worth addressing if they result in catastrophe and, instead, at breakdown and failure as the means by which societies learn and learn to re-produce.” --Graham and Thrift 2007
  • 3. Metadata • Metadata — describe the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data. • Major uses of metadata: – organize and maintain an organization's investment in data. – provide information to data catalogs and clearinghouses. – provide information to aid data transfer.
  • 4. GSDI Cookbook, 2009
  • 5. Context of Use
  • 6. Crenulation techniques from BLM Field Manual, 1999
  • 7. Fundamental Problems of Traditional Metadata • Tied to datasets • Hard-coded • Static snapshot • No way to retrieve supplementary material
  • 8. From Wikipedia: Folksonomies
  • 9. How does OpenStreetMap work? <node id="616567366" lat="40.1484299" lon="-105.140716" user="GPS_dr" uid="117055" visible="true" version="1" changeset="3656332" timestamp="2010-01- 19T06:52:38Z"/> <way id="48533088" user="GPS_dr" uid="117055" visible="true" version="1" changeset="3656332" timestamp="2010-01- 19T06:52:39Z"> ... <nd ref="616567366"/> ... <tag k="name" v="Dry Creek"/> <tag k="waterway" v="stream"/> </way>
  • 10. Move a node slightly <node id="616567366" lat="40.1484596" lon="-105.14072" user="ebwolf" uid="33916" visible="true" version="2" changeset="4093629" timestamp="2010- 03-10T21:21:57Z"/> <way id="48533088" user="GPS_dr" uid="117055" visible="true" version="1" changeset="3656332" timestamp="2010- 01-19T06:52:39Z"> .. <nd ref="616567366"/> .. <tag k="name" v="Dry Creek"/> <tag k="waterway" v="stream"/> </way>
  • 11. Add a node to the way <node id="663883362" lat="40.1484084" lon="-105.140932" user="ebwolf" uid="33916" visible="true" version="1" changeset="4094413" timestamp="2010- 03-10T23:11:02Z"/> <way id="48533088" user="ebwolf" uid="33916" visible="true" version="2" changeset="4094413" timestamp="2010- 03-10T23:11:02Z"> .. <nd ref="663883362"/> .. <tag k="name" v="Dry Creek"/> <tag k="waterway" v="stream"/> </way>
  • 12. History in OSM
  • 13. Some rules for Metadata Rule #1: Metadata should be Object-based. Rule #2: Metadata should link out. Rule #3: Metadata leave breadcrumbs or a history. OSM doesn't link out - the user ID and user name can link into the Wiki where users are encouraged to create profiles. The profile is an extension of the metadata that can change as needed.
  • 14. Metadata Squared • Data and metadata interchangeable • Multiple linked ways to get information, all socially mediated, produced by community, accessible to any user – Computer programs – Tiling schemes – Web pages – Wiki pages – IRC chat rooms – Youtube videos – Tweets
  • 15. The Before and After of Metadata • Made by professionals • Made by users • Process of subtraction • Process of addition • Structured (Hierarchies) • Miscellaneous (Tags) • Implicit links • Explicit links • Metadata travels • User travels
  • 16. Everything is Miscellaneous • 1st Order (organize things in space) • 2nd Order (separation of description from object) • 3rd Order (everything digital, data not distinguishable from metadata)
  • 17. Metadata Alternatives • Ontology-based precise organizations • Topic maps • Semantic Web (RDF) • Linked Geodata • Folksonomies fuzzy users
  • 18. iLOE, An OpenStreetMap editor for the Iphone