Open geospatial science - vision 2030

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Open Geospatial Science - Vision 2030

It is nearly a decade since the initial ideas for Open Geospatial Science was started . In 2015, The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) setup a dedicated committee for Open Geosciences. Open Geospatial Science builds upon the idea of Open science that scientific knowledge of all kinds are able to be develop more rapidly and in a more productive manner if openly shared (as early as is practical in the discovery process). The key ingredients to make Open Geospatial Science possible is Open Principles (open source geospatial software, open data, open standards , open educational resources and open access to research publications) .

“Geo for All” [1] was initially started by scientists and research active academics to build strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science . We also wanted to create openness in Geo Education for developing creative and open minds in students which is critical for building open innovation and contributes to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations. Thanks to our colleagues globally, we now have dedicated research labs through Geo4All globally , dedicated journals etc [2],[3] in place to help advance the discipline for the future. It is this global research outlook that is fundamental to the success of any new discipline. It is now time for us to think and plan actions for the future and it is important that we bring together ideas/inputs from the wider community and harness the wisdom to help shape our vision for Open Geospatial Science for 2030 and builds synergies with the three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World [4].

This open consultation on the Vision 2030 for Open Geospatial Science will be a process .To start this process, Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and Geo for All organised a Think Tank meeting on 7th June 2016 at the University of Nottingham bringing together top scientists, academics and government agencies to discuss ideas forward. We chose the theme of Urban GeoBigData and OpenCitySmart to expand ideas on this.In true spirit of Open Science, we will make available a wikipage in Geo4All with the initial ideas generated after the Think Tank and welcome the community for inputs .Together we all can shape the research agenda for Open Geospatial Science for the future and help build more ideas to enable the creation of a sustainable innovation ecosystem for advancing the discipline and accelerating new discoveries to help solve global cross disciplinary societal challenges from climate change mitigation to sustainable cities.

Background

In May 2016, EC published a book titled - Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe , the extracts below

The way that science works is fundamentally changing and an equally important transformation is taking place in how companies and societies innovate. The advent of digital technologies is making science and innovation more open, collaborative and global. In this light Commissioner Carlos Moedas has set three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. These three goals were first discussed by Commissioner Moedas in a speech in June 2015, showing how research and innovation contribute across the political priorities of the European Commission. These goals do not represent a new policy initiative or funding programme as such, but a way to reinforce existing programmes such as Horizon 2020, and reinvigorate existing policies such as the European Research Area. The book Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World – a vision for Europe brings together some of the key conceptual insights behind the “Three Os” and highlights actions that are already taking place or are being prepared at time of publication in May 2016. It is hoped that the ideas and initiatives described in the book will stimulate anyone interested in European research and innovation, and encourage debate and lead to new ideas on what the European Union should do, should not do, or do differently.[4]

You can download the book from the EU Bookshop at http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world-pbKI0416263/

Extract from the book on Open Science below

A Vision of the Future

The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment, called The Lab. Open source communities and scientists, publishing companies and the high-tech industry have pushed the EU and UNESCO to develop common open research standards, establishing a virtual learning gateway, offering free public access to all scientific data as well as to all publicly funded research. The OECD as well as many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have adopted these new standards, allowing users to share a common platform to exchange knowledge at a global scale. High-tech start-ups and small public-private partnerships have spread across the globe to become the service providers of the new digital science learning network, empowering researchers, citizens, educators, innovators and students worldwide to share knowledge by using the best available technology. Free and open, high quality and crowd-sourced science, focusing on the grand societal challenges of our time, shapes the daily life of a new generation of researchers.

There is also lot of synergies and will add momentum for our vision for Open Geospatial Science [5],[6],[7].

Open Geospatial Science builds upon the idea of Open science that scientific knowledge of all kinds are able to be develop more rapidly and in a more productive manner if openly shared (as early as is practical in the discovery process). The key ingredients to make Open Geospatial Science possible is Open Principles (open source geospatial software, open data, open standards and open access to research publications) .

“Geo for All” was initially started by scientists and research active academics to build strong foundations for Open Geospatial Science . We also wanted to create openness in Geo Education for developing creative and open minds in students which is critical for building open innovation and contributes to building up Open Knowledge for the benefit of the whole society and for our future generations. We are grateful to all our colleagues globally for their help and efforts which enabled us to build this initiative http://www.geoforall.org/about/ .

So what is our Vision 2030

  • Science should always be fully open and inclusive
  • Transparency of research is fundamental (no black boxes or proprietary barriers).
  • Geospatial Science should be build fully on Open Principles (Promoting an open research culture)

* Geospatial Science = Open Geospatial Science

Overview slides at http://www.slideshare.net/SuchithAnand/open-geospatial-science-vision-2030

We welcome the wider community to contribute more ideas/inputs [8] to show us how we can together achieve this vision. We also welcome all those interested to join the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)’s Open Geoscience committee [9].


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Outcomes of the Think Tank discussions on Open Geospatial Science - Vision 2030

To start this process, Geospatial IG of the Research Data Alliance and Geo for All organised a Think Tank meeting on 7th June 2016 at the University of Nottingham bringing together top scientists, academics and government agencies to discuss ideas forward. We chose the theme of Urban GeoBigData and OpenCitySmart to expand ideas on this.

The participants were divided into two groups

Focussed Think Tank discussions (split into two topic groups  ) 


Group 1 – Open Data needs/requirements for OpenCitySmart and how it can contribute to Open Geospatial Science vision 2030 (Summary of notes by Peter Mooney)

What are our open data needs in this respect?

There is lots of Open Data published already isn't there? The problem is that Open Data is published along a spectrum of actionable open data – there is lots of open data published as PDFs containing summaries or synthesis of raw data. Why can the raw data not be made available? We then have examples in the UK such as the Ordnance Survey who publish a very large amount of Open Geospatial Data. ACCESS TERMS: For some large respositories of Open Data or Open Datasets the access terms are often very legally complex. For citizens and small scale users such as research groups or SMEs this is often a major challenge to understand what these legal conditions mean in practice. This can delay discovery and use of these datasets.

The FREQUENCY OF UPDATE of Open Data is also something which much be carefully considered as a requirement. For situations or use-cases such as Planning there is a slow refresh or update rate of data requirements. But for operational scenarios in a city such as transportation planning or optimisation (day to day services) more high frequency updates to Open Data are often required.

In the PROVISION OF OPEN DATA there is much emphasis in the discussions on services which make Open Data available to citizens. But what are the INCENTIVES to citizens to contribute their own Open Data? Some value must be given back to users – for example this might be in relation to privacy issues. Users could be given some flexibility or control over how their contributed data could be used.

The issue of PRIVACY was discussed several times during the discussion. Can the citizen who is contributing their social data, their movement data, etc have some control over the destiny of this information? Once this data becomes Open Data it is free to be used for any scenario. Very often it can be the case that the moment that a citizen makes their data Open Data they actually lose control over their data and find themselves in a scenario where they do not own their own data. This happens frequently for many web-based services and smartphone applications where the users data is what the company really wants and then claims ownership over this through user license and user usage agreements.

But can citizens CONTROL THEIR PRIVACY? There are two principal means by which citizens can contribute open data (and indeed open geospatial data) to a Smart City scenario – via PASSIVE or ACTIVE means. In the passive scenario a user may not actually know that they are contributing data or may not understand the level of detail of this contributed data. But in passive scenarios this personal open data can then become closed and proprietary creating an OPEN DATA DIGITAL DIVIDE. In the active scenario the user has much more control and if they are well informed about the types of data they are contributing they can make decisions about how active they wish to be.

A major RESEARCH CHALLENGE was identified in trying to consider the needs for the vision of Open Geospatial Science 2030.

We need to articulate and understand the types of open data that are possible? This understanding could be organised by considering the following characteristics: • Open Data availability • What are the actual sources of Open Data – this includes those sources of data which can fit into the API-centric OpenCitySmart platform • Who are the actual Open Data users? • Who are the actual Open Data generators? • What are the different levels of granularity for Open Data?

When these questions are considered across the scope of a city then this is a major undertaking. Considering this as a bottom up approach might make ths completely unfeasible. Therefore it is important to generate user cases and challenges which we want to tackle with Open Geospatial Data 2030. Each use case would define the metadata requirements for their datasets, data services or data sources. Some metadata requirements for specific use cases might be more detailed than others. The key strategy is to look at the questions we want to answer. What are the user's needs vrs the users actually knowing what they want from Open Geospatial Data. The idea of user here encapsulates the entire spectrum of users of Open Geospatial Data 2030 from individual citizens to governments to large corporations.

For the 2030 Vision what are the high level building blocks we must consider:

  1. ACCESS TO DATA
  2. DISCOVERY OF DATA
  3. VALIDATION OF DATA
  4. LEGALITY AND USAGE CONDITIONS
  5. SEMANTIC AND LANGUAGE

Consideration of the application of the FAIR principle – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. These building blocks must be dyamic – to change and move as technologies and societies change towards 2030. Example case-study: Vernacular terms in geospatial contexts. Have we got a handle on this? This needs to be done on a global scale. This is something a global initiative such as Geo4All could look at as a research question.

Group 2 – Open tools and infrastructures needs/requirements for enhancing Citizen Science contributions for OpenCitySmart and how it can contribute to Open Geospatial Science vision 2030 (Summary notes by Jon Corbett and Jeremy Morley)

Two key issues - both technical and social are key for framing the smart cities agenda for the future

  • How to contribute (Passive -> Active)
  • Ethics of contribution
  • Who contributes to Smart Cities dialogue - Macro level or Micro level?
  • Cant disregard the individual. It needs to encompass a range of engagement approaches
  • Range of stakeholders increases complexity
  • Need to consider the range of projects across different scales and different project outcomes
  • Proximity to the issue is important (conceptually and geographically)
  • How do you want people to contribute?
  • Not simply a user experience - Interface issue
  • People need to understand why they are contributing, how the data will be used , need to give feedback
  • Education to create normalcy in people contributing
  • Motivation remain a key issue (more we require from users - less likely to participate
  • Who decides what the problem is?
  • Are we overly limiting contributions by working in exclusively digital environments
  • What are the motivations to gather data
  • Data collection/ management /storage = Expensive
  • How does this impact sustainability of the system
  • Citizen Science sourced data and interoperability remain important


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REFERENCES:

[1] http://www.geoforall.org/ [2] http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijgi/special_issues/science-applications [3] http://opengeospatialdata.springeropen.com/about/editorial-board [4] http://ec.europa.eu/research/openvision/index.cfm [5] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/04/open-geospatial-science-2/ [6] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/05/open-innovation-open-science-open-to-the-world/ [7] https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/eventsarticles/urban-biggeodata.aspx [8] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/06/open-consultation-on-the-vision-2030-for-open-geospatial-science/ [9] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Open_Geoscience_Committee