For the Dyfi catchment, the main datasets acquired by satellite and airborne sensors have been collated and a description provided, including dates, with this undertaken to support, in part, biodiversity and land cover change projects being conducted through IGES. Satellite sensor data available include Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS), SPOT High Resolution Geometric (HRG), Landsat and Terra-1 ASTER. Airborne datasets available include LiDAR, hyperspectral data and aerial photography. Hugh Evans from Forest Research also visited to discuss options for postgraduate dissertation work in the Dyfi Biosphere over the next few months.
A number of datasets have now been identified and which may be put together within a centralised data store (where available). In particular, we have focused on the following:
a) Vegetation maps for the Dyfi catchment, within these including the Phase 1 Habitat Survey, the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), the Land Cover Map 1990 and 2000.
b) Soils datasets, including types.
c) Protected areas
d) Satellite sensor data, namely Landsat.
More datasets will be collated from other organisations and their accessibility to a range of users will be noted (e.g., students, academics, researchers, external). These datasets will, depending on permissions, be available to use within the project.
Information is now being collated on available data sets to incorporate in this project. We have identified a number of case study users from the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES), Aberystwyth University and Forest Research in Wales, Forestry Commission who have previously and are currently working on projects based in the Dyfi Biosphere.
As part of the process for gathering this information users are being actively encouraged to create dataset metadata using GeoDoc tool – found within the GoGeo area on the EDINA web site. This utility is used to create standards compliant dataset metadata for upload into catalogues, eg, GoGeo! so that the data can be discovered, evaluated and possibly reused. Note that you need to have UK Access Management credentials to use GeoDoc.
Users that we have identified so far consist of academics, researchers and students within IGES in Aberystwyth University, and from the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research (CCCR) which is a consortium of Aberystwyth University and Bangor University. Users will also include researchers from Forestry Research in Wales, Forestry Commission and staff from the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW). Within these bodies individuals have been identified and we will develop these as user case studies. We are currently collating their data sets and identifying their relevant uses and needs.
In the following weeks we will collate and input data sets some of which are complete whilst others are work in progress. These data sets will come from the individual user case studies. The user case studies will be something like the following:
• IGES Academic/Researcher
• IGES/CCCR Academic/Researcher
• IGES MSc Student
• IGES PhD Student
• IGES Digital Map Librarian
• Forestry Research Researcher
• CCW Senior Reserve Warden for Dyfi Biosphere Area
A ‘shopping list’ of data sets that are either not currently available to these users (and which they would like access to) or are difficult to find will also be identified and collated. Already we have had requests for biogeochemical data sets from IGES/CCCR, and for remote sensing data sets from Forest Research. It is hoped that Welsh Assembly Government may be able to help with some of these data and that, even if their use is restricted, we may be able to offer access to using web services secured using Shibboleth (the software underlying the UK Access Management Federation).
So far we have identified from the academic/researcher evidence that both academic staff and students would find the Web Map Service (WMS) “factory” application useful as a research and teaching tool. It has also been suggested by one of the academic users that an undergraduate module could be developed around the use of open geospatial standards. It was agreed that using the GeoDoc metadata input facility would generally improve data management practice for research projects.
Any comments from the user case study individuals or other potential users would be much appreciated to ensure the relevant uses and needs of all involved in this project are identified. The information will feed into the development of the mapping application and the identification of future requirements.
The purpose of this page/category is to gather input from the various stakeholders who will use the outputs from the project, or who have an interest in what the project delivers. Specifically, we want to gather user requirements to drive the direction of the project and any subsequent activity that follows on, eg, IGIBS Mark II, other JISC programmes/projects, NERC activity, etc. If you have an interest in seeing the emerging UK National Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and our Academic SDI better integrated, please tarry; comment and let us know what you think.
This is a big topic that is often neglected and often proves fatal for SDI initiatives meeting their ambitions. The reality is that much valuable data is restricted; this is true for the UK National SDI (UK Location Programme), the UK academic SDI and INSPIRE. A genuinely interoperable means of allowing OGC Web Service clients (like the one we are developing in IGIBS) to consume WMS (open and restricted) from multiple distributed organisations without having to provide multiple user credentials is difficult. Building on much prior work, we are going to try to demonstrate in IGIBS how Shibboleth – the open source SAML implementation that powers the UK Access Management Federation – can be used to allow protected public sector WMS can be made securely available to the academic sector. We will also demonstrate the converse, how users in the academic sector can securely publish their data and control who can see it if they need to. We will use this page to solicit comment and hopefully gather recommendations for further work.
As project manager of the Interoperable Geographic Information for Biosphere Study (IGIBS) project, the pleasure of the first blog post falls to me.
The project formally started 2 days ago (on the 1st of April) and is scheduled to run for 7 months up to the end of Oct 2011. Its a partnership between EDINA, the Welsh Assemby Government (WAG) and the University of Aberystwyth. The Kickoff meeting is being held next week (11th April) at the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education down the valley from where I am typing this at the Centre for Alternative Technology – a location central to Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere.
The original proposal (more information to follow) has left us with some flexibility around exactly what we implement in this short project and we intend that the Kickoff meeting helps drill down to the detail now the project is real and not just an idea in a few peoples heads. Again, more information in subsequent posts on this.
Basically, the overarching idea is to try to improve the connect between the UK’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) as manifested through the UK Location Programme and the UK’s Academic SDI. We want to do this by focussing on pressing use cases emerging from research and education related to a particular area – the Dyfi Biosphere. If you dont know where this is then shame on you, its a lovely area in mid-Wales around the River Dyfi (pronounced Dovey) estuary at the Southern end of the better known Snowdonia National Park.
The idea behind the UNESCO WNBR (World Network of Biosphere Reserves) is a network of exemplar areas exploring and showcasing how people can live in harmony with nature. This is often referred to under the umbrella term of Sustainable Development. For the purposes of this project, the definition of Sustainable Development we will be working to is that from the Brundtland Commission, ie, that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Research and education is a key element in achieving the UNESCO Biosphere designation and the project will benefit significantly from the involvement of the University of Aberystwyth’s Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences (IGES) – the main Higher Education facility within the Biosphere area.
Our area of expertise is interoperable Geographic Information (GI), and by that I mean GI served up over the internet in accordance with open geospatial interoperability standards from, primarily the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and ISO TC/211. The other major contextual initiative for this project is the INSPIRE Directive – Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe. In this respect, the involvement of WAG in this project is especially welcome and we hope to be able to begin enumerating some of the benefits of public authorities making their data access services interoperable in accordance with INSPIRE – at least, in so far as it relates to their relationship with the academic sector.
In IGIBS, we will investigate the practicality of creating a tool that enables users to upload and instantiate an OGC Web Map Service (or View Service if you are coming from the INSPIRE world) allowing users to view and analyse their data in combination with a range of other interoperable distributed data sources, eg, reference data from WAG. To enable a broader range of use cases, we will use Shibboleth to secure the WMS where appropriate. Much prior art being brought to this project, particularly in the area of access control from the ESDIN project and the UK Access Management Federation (EDINA provides technical and operational support for the UKAMF).
On the whole, I think this project is rich with potential. Having spent a few hours reading round some UNESCO web sites, my only regret is that the project is not 5 times longer in duration and 10 times better resourced. But then again, a short focussed project with a good team can sometimes deliver a punch way above its weight. More after the Kickoff meeting…