On the 11th of April, on a fine Spring day, we had the kickoff meeting for this project at the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). Eight people attended:
- Chris Higgins (EDINA, Project Manager)
- Michael Koutroumpas (EDINA, Senior Software Engineer)
- Nicola Osborne (EDINA, Social Media Office)
- Richard Lucas (IGES)
- Becky Charnock (IGES, Research Assistant)
- Colin Chapman (WAG)
- Paul Guest (WAG)
- Simon Agass (WAG)
The basic structure of the day was as follows: some scene setting, a briefing from each of three partners and then discussion of the four Work Packages (more on these and the project plan in a later post).
Each of the partners had been asked to provide:
- essential background to this project from their perspective
- what others need to know to understand why they are in IGIBS.
- what they want and what they expect out the project
That was the morning, in the afternoon I tried to get people talking around the Work Packages (more on these in subsequent posts) with the aim of maximising the area of overlap between our different business objectives. If you are interested, here is a copy of the set of slides used to structure the day. IGIBS Kickoff Meeting Slides Apr2011
Reasonably successful, probably the most important outcome is that we have now all met each other and have a clearer idea where each is coming from. Here are the slides from WAGs Colin Chapman IGIBS_WAG_forWeb. We could have spent a lot longer working through the project but, given its only a 7 month project, that was probably not appropriate.
Over the last few months I have also met with each of the three partners separately (including a visit to EDINA in Edinburgh) and now; post kickoff meeting, post consideration of our proposal reviewers comments, I would tend to agree that we need more clarity on our main use cases.
This is the main meat of Work Package 2 (Stakeholder Engagement) led by IGES, but in general, I think we are looking at two main scenarios:
- A student wants to view his data alongside reference data from the public authorities, ie, WAG. The “WMS Factory” tool allows him/her to quickly generate a WMS so that he can visualise his data alongside the other INSPIRE type View Services from WAG. The distinguishing feature of this project is access control. The user will be able to restrict who can see their data to himself, the department, the university, etc. There are various reasons why this might be required, eg, it’s a work in progress, its sensitive, commercial, etc. Of course, from the UK National SDI side; WAG will have the ability, if required, to control access for some of their services: to the individual, dept, university, other public authorities, etc.
- A more general use case, where somebody simply wants to be able to publish their data in a standards compliant, ie, WMS, way, so they can view there data with other interoperability services. So far, questions that keep cropping are: how much metadata do we capture, and what about portrayal?
I have always had a nagging feeling with this project that a “WMS factory tool” is too obvious. Has it been done before? If not, why not? Is it too hard? Is the portrayal problem a showstopper?
Interestingly, I am writing this post from Utrecht where the AGILE 2011 conference has just ended. On Tuesday there, Sven Schade from the JRC delivered a paper on a “GEOSS Service Factory – Assisted Publication of Geospatial Content”. This is addressing a very similar or the same problem, but concentrating on the Web Processing Service (WPS). More information when I have it…
Finally (for the moment), WISE was a great place to hold the kickoff meeting. Neutral territory in the heart of the Dyfi Biosphere in surroundings imbued with a positive appreciation of sustainable development. The facilities (including accomodation) are first rate and the staff very helpful. I would urge anyone genuinely interested in working towards a balanced relationship between man and nature to visit CAT and consider using the facilities at WISE if possible.