OpenGovIntelligence Pilot Showcase: The Marine Institute

A sample of a device for marine renewable energy source. Image courtesy of the Marine Institute.

The OpenGovIntelligence Project is running six pilot projects on different aspects of improving public services with multidimensional statistical data. This is the first of a series of interviews with partners involved in each pilot; aimed at showcasing the vision of the pilot and its focus audiences. Here I speak with Trevor Alcorn, Data Analyst and Information Management Specialist at the Marine Institute about the Irish pilot.

Hi Trevor. Can you tell us a bit about your role in the project?

My work for the Irish pilot is as a data expert in marine open data. The Marine Institute are partnered with Insight, who are producing the linked data technology and platform. My role is to provide system and data user feedback; knowledge on vocabularies and ontologies and information about which data we want to use.

What do you feel are the key aspects of your pilot in the project and which audiences do you want to reach?

The Irish pilot is a system that can be tested, delivered and workable for different audiences. Fortunately, there are few issues around accessing marine data so we can make our focus going from non linked to linked formats for this data. The three scenarios the pilot targets are:

1: Search and Rescue. This audience focus is on implementing successful search and rescue in realtime. So, for example, if someone is seen entering the water, search and rescue groups may be able to recover them using linked data to help. This audience includes local authority fire and rescue, civil defence, Irish lifeboats, local coastguards and Galway waterways patrol.

2. Renewable wave energy. The pilot’s linked data system is also aimed at supporting industry to test devices in the water. The Irish Wave Energy Developers Association are the target audience for this aspect of the pilot, as well as the Marine Institute itself.

3. Maritime tourism and leisure. This audience for the pilot includes bodies such as Irish tourism; Galway Bay sailing club; Galway university surfing and water clubs and a number of private companies in the bay area who provide hiring activities. The Met Office and Marine Institute also fall under this umbrella.

Search and Rescue image courtesy of Galway RNLI.

How are you going to reach your target audience for the pilot?

In June 2016, Insight organised a workshop in Galway, Ireland. Twelve expert Marine sector stakeholders from the fields of public administration, open government, technology, and academia attended, including us from the Marine Institute. We made a number of contacts there that we’re hoping to contact in the future.

How are you going to ensure user engagement?

We’re planning on publishing tools as prototypes and advancing them onwards afterwards. We’re targeting the audiences mentioned above and plan to do that via a combination of workshops, demos and potential training since I am an Open Data registered trainer through the Open Data Institute which is based in London.

How are you going to publicise it?

We’ll publish our pilot through the OGI Twitter account, the OGI website, the Marine Institute website and events in the office. Insight will be doing the same.

What do you feel are the main advantages of using multidimensional statistical data?

The Irish pilot is looking at what linked data can do for us with dashboards. I’m happy with the data cube approach: Insight are working on converting csv to rdf and are using Tarql and a fuseki database for storing data. My role is to provide feedback on visualisations and I’ve been looking at charts and graphs that have an influence on the data. An example of this would be finding out the average wave height over six months so someone can look at that and couple it with a device.

In a non linked world you can create visualisations but with linked data there’s no ambiguity in the meaning and, to me, that’s the main advantage: if it’s sea temperature, wind conditions etc they’re all correctly described. The other main advantage is the 5 star data publishing aspect, which links the data into completely different worlds that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

The Irish pilot has a whole marine ecosystem approach. It’s not just oceanographic. The co-creation aspect of the pilot is important and he dashboards will be put up following engagements with other users.

For timely updates on the project head to the twitter account @OpenGovInt or sign up for the project newsletter here.
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