“Improving Transparency through Web Maps”, paper accepted for presentation at the 4th International Smart City Workshop.

The paper Improving Transparency through Web Maps (by Auriol Degbelo and Tomi Kauppinen) has been accepted for presentation at the 4th International Smart City Workshop, co-located with the Web Conference.

Abstract: Recent years have witnessed progress of public institutions in making their datasets available online, free of charge, for re-use. This notwithstanding, there is still a long way to go to put the power of data in the hands of citizens. This article suggests that transparency in the context of open government can be increased through web maps featuring: i) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which support app and data usage tracking; and (ii) `transparency badges’ which inform the users about the presence/absence of extra, useful contextual information. Eight examples of web maps are introduced as proof of concept for the idea. Designing and implementing these web maps has reminded of the need of interactive guidelines to help non-experts select vocabularies, and datasets to link to. The ideas presented are relevant to making existing open data more user friendly (and ultimately more usable).

 

GEO-C and Participation: Workshops on ‘Design Thinking’ with young refugees in Münster

Four participatory workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were conducted by the Geo-C team at WWU with over 18 young refugees and asylum seekers in Münster. Each of the sessions was half-day long, and they were done as extracurricular activities from the school. The workshops were held at the Institute for Geoinformatics from mid-October to mid-November, 2017. These workshops aimed to assess a set of participatory methodologies draw from a combination of elements from participatory design, participatory (action) research, and didactics to provide ‘safe spaces’ for learning and co-creation of technologies for them with young refugees and asylum seekers.

During these workshops, we also aimed to understand the awareness of young refugees and asylum seekers regarding the management of their personal and location data when they use digital services. Several exploratory methods were used for this, as well as for introducing, after the ‘exploratory’ assessment, the concept of personal and location data privacy to them. The goal of this exercise was to evaluate if such strategy modified somehow the way they ideate and design digital services to support them in their (re)settlement in Münster.

At the end of the workshops, attendance certificates for participating in the workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were provided to the young refugees and asylum seekers who participated. All of these activities were done with the collaboration of the school staff, mainly from the school administration and teachers.

GEO-C and Participation: Workshops with young refugees in Münster

From mid-September to mid-October, 2016, the Geo-C team at WWU in Münster, Germany conducted several participatory workshops and activities with over 50 students, ages 15-18, from the International and IT classes* at school in the city.
The overall goal of these activities was to generate participatory spaces in which it was possible to identify the challenges and needs of the group of young refugees and asylum seekers, as well as a potential ICT mobile tool to guide them when using open geospatial data to address their information needs during the initial stages of their resettlement in Münster. In total, we held five workshops, one field work, and one extra hands-on session at the school. All of these activities were done with the collaboration of the school staff, particularly from the school administration  and the IT teacher and coordinator.
Some of the preliminary results were:
A) Initially identified needs of the young refugees and asylum seekers related to 1) learning the local language upon arrival, 2) the urge for establishing social contact with people from the local community, and 3) the relevancy of ICT apps which are more ‘user friendly’.
B) A set of places of importance for the young refugees and asylum seekers in the city.
C) More than 13 mock-ups done by young refugees related to a potential geospatial application which supported them upon arrival.
*This classification of the classes is the official designation from the school. The international class is constituted by students at the school who are recognized as refugees and asylum seekers.

Career development session for GEO-C doctoral students: Suez Spain.

Recently (January 8th), GEOTEC hosted an industrial talk targeting our GEO-C doctoral students (link: http://geo-c.eu), and all GIS enthusiasts, given by representatives of Suez Water Spain (link: http://suez.es/). Suez is a multi-national company active in 5 continents, with over 80 000 employees and 400 000 clients, who mainly – but not exclusively – perform projects related to water treatment and management. Clearly, Geographic Information technologies and techniques play a central role in the developed solutions.
Suez gave an overview of the types of projects they are involved in, along with some concrete examples. They then summarised how projects are typically developed, the different roles in projects, how GIS professionals and geospatial technologies fit within a project, and how a GIS specialist fits in the workspace in general and may develop his/her career.

Framing your research to be the best story to tell. GeoC-UJI present in Agile PhD School 2017.

From October 30th to November 2nd, at University of Leeds – England, took place the 4th AGILE Ph.D. school.

AGILE PhD schools provide a forum for the next generation of scientists and research leaders to develop their own networks and to exchange ideas, as well as providing a set of core research skills. The Schools expose attendees to a diversity of leading-edge topic areas in GI and spatial information sciences and, critically, show them different experiences and expectations around supervision, prosecuting research.

During two days 12 PhD students – from different countries and universities – met to discuss their ongoing research, current progress, and future activities. The main goal was to develop generic research skills related to how to effectively write and post research. Each attendant should consider an effective storytelling as part of the outcomes to properly “sell” the idea that is trying to solve, framing the research problem and intermediate results obtained as part of a good story.

Diego Pajarito and Fernando Benitez from GEOTEC (GeoC project) were part of this group. In only five minutes fellows should explain what is their research about, current outcomes and how to face next steps. Students received feedback from professor Alexis Comber – who was in charge of this year PhD school – and from the rest of participants.

The agenda of the first day also had a practical session about “Agent-Based Modelling” from Nick Malleson, Associate Professor in Geographical Information Science in the School of Geography at The University of Leeds. The second day, Ian Philips – from the Institute for transportation studies – presented his talk “Minister love maps” related to trials and tribulations for an early researcher.

This school was an excellent opportunity to wrap up the basics tips and trick related to writing and posting research. Learning the fundamentals about research paper structure, as well as oral presentations, explaining why the audience should be interested in your talk, and selection of useful literature required were also considered.

For more information, about the AGILE Ph.D. School, visit https://agile-online.org/index.php/initiatives/current-initiatives/phd-school

Publication accepted for UrbanGIS2017 – Linked Data and Visualization: Two Sides of the Transparency Coin!

The paper “Linked Data and Visualization: Two Sides of the Transparency Coin” by Auriol Degbelo has been accepted for presentation at the upcoming UrbanGIS Workshop on Smart Cities and Urban Analytics.

Abstract: Transparency is an important element of smart cities, and ongoing work is exploring the use of available open data to maximize it. This position paper argues that Linked Data and visualization play similar roles, for different agents, in this context. Linked Data increases transparency for machines, while visualization increases transparency for humans. The work also proposes a quantitative approach to the evaluation of visualization insights which rests on two premises: (i) visualizations could be modelled as a set of statements made by authors at some point in time, and (ii) statements made by experts could be used as ground truth while evaluating how much insights are effectively conveyed by visualizations on the Web. Drawing on the linked data rating scheme of Tim Berners-Lee, the paper proposes a five-stars rating scheme for visualizations on the Web. The ideas suggested are relevant to the development of techniques to automatically assess the transparency level of existing visualizations on the Web.

Feature-centric algorithms for georeferenced video search

The paper “Feature-centric ranking algorithms for georeferenced video search” (Authors: Holger Fritze, Auriol Degbelo, Tobias Brüggentisch and Christian Kray) has been accepted for presentation at the upcoming ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems!

Abstract: While it is commonplace to retrieve photos showing a particular feature (e.g. through tools such as Google Pictures or Bing Images), spatial approaches for retrieving videos showing a particular feature (e.g. a building) have yet to be established. This article proposes five ranking algorithms to query georeferenced videos for a specific feature based on the videos’ spatio-temporal metadata. 12 relevance criteria for feature-centric video ranking were compiled from a focus group discussion. From these, four criteria have been selected for implementation: “Feature Depiction”, “Feature Illumination”, “Feature Visibility Duration”, and “Distance to Feature”. These criteria were implemented in five algorithms and evaluated regarding efficiency and user perceived plausibility. The evaluation suggests that the “Feature Visibility Duration” of the video’s viewshed with the queried feature geometry offers a good trade-off between computationally performant and cognitive plausible ranking. The obtained results are relevant to user-centered approaches for interacting with georeferenced videos.

 

Publication accepted for SEMANTICS 2017!

The paper “A Snapshot of Ontology Evaluation Criteria and Strategies” by Auriol Degbelo has been accepted for presentation at the 13th International Conference on Semantic Systems.

Abstract: Ontologies are key to information retrieval, semantic integration of datasets, and semantic similarity analyses. Evaluating ontologies (especially defining what constitutes a “good” or “better” ontology) is therefore of central importance for the Semantic Web community. Various criteria have been introduced in the literature to evaluate ontologies, and this article classifies them according to their relevance to the design or the implementation phase of ontology development. In addition, the article compiles strategies for ontology evaluation based on ontologies published until 2017 in two outlets: the Semantic Web Journal, and the Journal of Web Semantics. Gaps and opportunities for future research on ontology evaluation are exposed towards the end of the paper.