Mar 212011
 

This blog post provides an overview of the work that will be undertaken, and is structured into a series of interdependent work packages (WPs). They indicate the main areas of work that are being proposed. It should be noted that output from WP3 and WP4 will be shaped by the iterative nature of WP2.

The geoservices team at EDINA have recently been trialling SCRUM based approaches to Agile development. This has received positive feedback from the development teams and has also been well received by project management staff. Building on these successful experiences we would plan to adopt a SCRUM methodology in this project with a focus on short sprint and iterative
deliverable runs.

STEEV Project Gant Chart
(Note: Zoom to view)

Workpackages:

WP 1 – Project Management and Programme Engagement

Description of Work – This work package covers all aspects of managing the project, from initiation, through managing project stages and stage transition to closure. Initiation will include the setting up of project website, blog and wiki as required, tools for managing scheduling, risks and communication. This Work Package also includes reporting and Engagement (aligned with WP5) throughout the project, including input into the Community Synthesis. This ensures the Project Manager has control of required reporting from each work package, as well as the holistic project reporting required at initiation and closure and a facility for wider dissemination of activities.

Outputs

· Project website; wiki and blog
· Input into Community Synthesis.
· Programme reporting and project management documentation

WP 2 – Data Modelling, Data Preparation and Data Import

Description of Work – This WP will focus on generating the individual building-level energy efficiency estimates on an annual basis for the regional area forming the Cardiff research teams area of study. Each building (which will be mapped to an individual Ordnance Survey feature via a Topographical Object Identifier (TOID)), will have a number of estimated values based on variable parameter inputs (e.g. dimensions of the property, thermal efficiency of the building construction, the type of heating systems used, and renewable energy technologies) and these will provide the basis for generating the regional visualisations under different policy assumptions. It is these raw values that will provide the capacity to undertake subsequent sensitivity analysis investigating the regional impacts of varying input assumptions and forecasts. The modelled data will be supplied by Cardiff to EDINA for import and validation into a database schema designed to allow the establishment of temporal Web Map Services (WMS-T). WP3 and WP4 will then exploit the modelled data to provide a user client that allows interactive visual data exploration.

Outputs

. A database (EEP) of building-level energy efficiency coefficients for 2000-2050 for a large sample area within South East Wales.
· A database schema for exposing the EEP model outputs via a WMS-T (see WP3)

WP 3 – Establishment of Temporal Web Map Services and Memento geo-Timegate

Description of Work – The purpose of this work is to create the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Services (WMS) required to support the development of the web client at WP4. The standard WMS configuration (of which EDINA has significant and relevant experience in building and operating – see e.g. OpenStream4), will need to be extended to handle the temporal aspects of incoming requests. A WMS server can provide support to temporal requests by providing a TIME parameter with a time value in the request. We will use an open source WMS implementation of the web map server technology (probably Mapserver5) in order to add temporal support. This WP will work in close conjunction with WP2 as the optimal data configuration for the EEP data will need to be iteratively determined. Once a WMS-T has been established we will then produce Tile Cached versions of the data which are capable of having a URI assigned to them. Tile Caching provides a way to constrain WMS requests to a predefined grid, so that clients can
request data that has been pre-rendered or rendered on the fly and then cached. Delivering cached map imagery can reduce image load times by as much as one or even two orders of magnitude. Rendering map imagery on the fly for every WMS request typically requires profound hardware resources to scale well and additionally by Caching we are able to use the Cached image location as a URI through which Memento mediated time requests can be resolved.

This WP also deals with developing the Memento server implementation, extending it to incorporate a ‘geo-Timegate’ that is capable of handling what may be termed ‘Web time ‘ and ‘Content time’ requests (Van de Sompel 20106). Memento proposes a technical framework aimed at better integrating the current and the past Web. The framework adds a time dimension to the HTTP protocol and introduces the notion of transparent content negotiation in the date-time dimension. The framework also suggests a generic approach for versioning Web resources that could help bootstrap a variety of novel, temporal Web applications such as is being proposed here. Memento has thus far remained in the domain of ‘Web time’, meaning it refers to the state of resources on the web as is and is logically restricted to ‘near contemporary’ resources. Content time is conceptually different and e.g. allows us to talk about the City of London in 1645 or in 2050. Memento has as yet not explored application to ‘Content time’. Therefore, another novel feature of this proposal is that it will investigate the conceptual and practical issues between ‘Web’ and ‘Content’ time views.

Outputs

· A WMS delivering the EEP/OS MasterMap data visualisations;
· A WMS-T allowing temporal navigation;
· Tile Cached versions of the above allowing direct URI mapping to resources;
· A Memento geo-Timegate and proxy allowing translation of Memento requests into WMS-T ones.
· An evaluation report detailing our experiences with ‘Web’ and ‘Content’ time.

Note: After discussion Herbert van de Sompel Herbert didn’t see any purposeful use case involving STEEV and Memento which could add to the functionality of the visualisation tool. Memento can be implemented (by linking to unique or presistent URIs generated by the tool) however this will not however showcase Memento’s temporal sweep through web-content (as highlighted on BBC/CNN content) as intended by its originators (for further information see blog posting: http://steev.blogs.edina.ac.uk/2011/08/09/project-update/).

An additional workpackage (WP6) has been proposed in lieu of WP3.


WP 4 – Development of Web Client

Description of Work – The primary purpose of this WP is to draw the outputs from earlier WPs together into a user presentation layer. We envisage an OpenLayers based mapping client that is routed via the geo-Timegate to access the WMS-T. The job of the client is to marshal, in a user friendly manner, the various request parameters needed to allow users to stipulate queries of the sort ‘ visualise me the consequences of making assumptions X about energy efficiency policies at time Y in the geographical extent of Z’. Our client will allow access to the various modelled outputs and may also (resource permitting) allow for some form of user defined portrayal and/or annotation of the results so that stakeholders can experiment with alternative visualisations and exchange views on the presented scenarios. If resources permit we would also look to investigating how to expose the WMS-T into Google Earth directly and being able to capitalise on the use of the GE time-slider.

Outputs

· A Web Client (OpenLayers based) allowing user interaction and visualisation of the modelled outputs under variable input scenarios
· Potentially, demonstration of the outputs, visualised and temporally query-able in a Google Earth client.

WP 5 – Outreach, Evaluation and Reporting

Description of Work – the purpose of this WP is initially, to crystallise the user requirement needs of the research group and stakeholder community prior to commencing development. Whilst the research problem is already specified, the intent is to have independent validation from a larger stakeholder community to ensure that deliverables meet the expectations of as wide a user community as possible. To conserve resources, this engagement will be via virtual means and will exploit social media channels. Secondly, to inform the development of the client in light of comment and feedback from end-users and interested stakeholders. We anticipate at least three distinct audiences – (i) the conventional ‘geo’ community, familiar with web mapping (but likely less familiar with temporal WMS); (ii) the growing community interested in use cases for Memento; and (iii) the specific research group (Cardiff) and the wider energy efficiency research community (RETROFIT) to whom the project is likely to have a novel appeal.

Outputs

· User needs requirements/ problem and issue refinement.
· Feedback on the demonstrator and associated deliverables
· Workshop and conference attendance to elicit stakeholder feedback
· A critical appraisal of the approach from each of the three audiences listed above

WP 6 – Establishment of Small Area Data Viewer
Description of Work – the purpose of this workpackage is to implement a ‘feature return’ functionality at the polygon level as part of user presentation layer.

Outputs

. A configuration file for STEEV WFS in order to query individual buildings.
. Compilation of WMS to accommodate functionality.

 March 21, 2011  Posted by at 1:52 pm Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 182011
 

Project Team

EDINA:

External project partner:

Senior Research Associate, Cardiff University:  Simon Lannon (email: lannon@cardiff.ac.uk)

Project Advisor

Digital Library Researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory: Dr Herbert Van de Sompel (email: hvdsomp@gmail.com) – Workpackage 3


Engagement with the Community

EDINA has an existing community consultation and briefing process as well as research relationships through various projects and presence at strategic forums reaching the broader geospatial community such as GISRUK / OSGIS which are key events for the target community envisaged for this proposal. STEEV will also engage with the Memento Development Group (via Herbert Van de Sompel and Rob Sanderson who will act as advisors to the project) and of course JISC through representation to the Geospatial Working Group and at programme engagement level.

The Cardiff University research team will be engaging with stakeholders throughout the project as part of the EPSRC RETROFIT project. In addition, the outcomes of this work will be published in academic journals for example Computers, Environment and Urban Systems and disseminated to the academic community through international conferences such as IPBSA (the International Building Performance Simulation Association) conference series. Through ongoing activities and relationships with the broader EPSRC community, this project will gain synergy and additional dissemination channels for its deliverables.

Recognising that resourcing is at a premium, we will exploit social media channels in order to engender a ‘virtual community’ – both to engage users with the project and to elicit critical feedback. This blog will provide opportunities for connecting with stakeholders, engaging in discussion and sharing appropriate specialist knowledge, ideas or developments. Guest posts to
others’ sites, virtual meetings or events and other social media channels will be used, along with traditional communications channels, (as appropriate), for connecting with the various stakeholder communities. EDINA is fortunate to have a dedicated Social Media Officer who will be utilised in this capacity (and has successfully led community engagement through social media channels for the JISC-funded AddressingHistory project).

It is envisaged that other engagement opportunities will arise throughout the period of the project (e.g. the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, and local practitioners) as we seek to gain feedback about the applicability of the tool.

 March 18, 2011  Posted by at 4:54 pm Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  2 Responses »
Mar 172011
 

The project manager will be attending Innovation takeaway – lessons from the Information Environment INF11 Programme Meeting  on 7 April 2011 at Aston University, Birmingham.

This event will provide an opportunity to reflect on major lessons and how these can be applied to challenging institutional issues such as how to reduce or avoid costs in managing digital assets, how local innovators can benefit the institution, and how institutions can realise the value of an ‘open’ approach.

 March 17, 2011  Posted by at 3:09 pm General No Responses »
Mar 172011
 

As described in the JISC Generic Terms and Conditions of Grant, EDINA recognises that the ownership of intellectual property rights made, discovered or created during the period of project funding will be indicated to them in the letter of grant. Communicating these conditions to those involved with the project will ensure IPR issues are minimised. For project outputs including reports, JISC will be allowed to utilise, archive and disseminate the work in accordance with current JISC policy. Software produced will, as far as practicable, be open sourced in accordance with JISC OSS Watch guidelines.

Fireworks License
Image courtesy of Flickr by jcorrius (CC BY 2.0)

Energy efficiency variables generated from the EEP model are supplied by the Cardiff University without restriction. Open Layers (an open source mapping client) will be used as the basis for the user interface.

The STEEV Project Blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 March 17, 2011  Posted by at 2:13 pm Project Plan Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 102011
 

Space versus time versus energy – not the title of a long-lost Einstein thriller nor a football match played in the third dimension. But, on the subject of visualising space and time (date, if we’re being pedantic), some may use search engines to locate digital resources and media channels that pertain to a specific set of keywords for a specific subject area such as spatio-temporal visualisation! Far be it from me to deviate from that fine tradition. So here’s some links to resources which may have synergies with STEEV:

Energy and Environment Prediction (EEP) – a computer-based model, developed at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University,  that quantifies energy use and associated emissions for cities to help plan to reduce carbnon dioxide (CO2) and other emmissions.

RETROFIT 2050 – an EPSRC funded interdisciplinary project aiming to deliver a ‘step change’ in current knowledge and capacity to underpin the transition to urban sustainability.

7.5th Floor – a Lift Lab blog by Fabien Girardin

Bjorn Sandvik’s Thematic Mapping blog

PELAGIOS (Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems’) – a project funded by JISC as part of their #jiscGEO programme) WHICH aims to introduce Linked Open Data into online resources that refer to places in the Ancient World.

Connected Urban Development – an initiative of the Climate group. This links to an archive of urban visualisation tools.

The MUSIC project (Mitigation in Urban areas: Solutions for Innovative Cities) – a collaborative project between European cities and research institutes in Northwest Europe. MUSIC aims to reduce CO2 emissions with 50% in the partner cities Aberdeen, Montreuil, Gent, Ludwigsburg and Rotterdam in 2030.

EnergyCLUES (Challenging Lock-in through Urban Energy Systems) – an EPSRC-funded research project looking at urban energy initiatives and the decentralisation of energy systems. The project is based at the Bartlett School of Planning (UCL) in partnership with University of Exeter, Loughborough University, University of Manchester, University of Surrey and University of Sussex.

Digital Urban – ‘modelling, visualising and communicating urban environments’ – a blog by Andrew Hudson-Smith from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL.

SENSEable city laboratory – an MIT research initiative studying the transformations of the built environment

GECO (Geospatial Engagement and Community Outreach) – a project funded by JISC as part of their #jiscGEO programme and run by EDINA.

VisualEyes -

VisualEyes logo

VisualEyes screenshot

- a web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations.

UrbanTick – a blog by Fabian Neuhaus  (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL) who’s interests include “tracking individuals and relating their space time trajectories to their behaviours and the activities that they frequent and use is basic to the way cities are organised.”

InfraNet lab – a research collective probing the spatial by products of contemporary resource logistics.

As is obvious from any search strategy the results are by no means exhaustive. Should there be other initiatives, projects, blogs or related resources that deserve mention feel free to get in contact with further details.

Feeds from some of the resources above will be piped into the STEEV blog in due course.

 March 10, 2011  Posted by at 3:50 pm General Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
Mar 082011
 

Image by Cambodia4kidsorg courtesy of Flickr - CC BY 2.0
Image by Cambodia4kidsorg courtesy of Flickr – CC BY 2.0

Benefits to both host and wider community include:

The Cardiff University research group will benefit by having new means to visualise and expose their data to a broader community and range of stakeholders. The EPSRC/RETROFIT participants and larger stakeholder group will benefit by improved access to the Cardiff research teams outputs and the facility to conduct critical appraisal of research outputs. Community and stakeholder interaction with the various scenarios will be explored through guided EPSRC workshops.

EDINA will benefit principally through gaining experience with temporal Web Map Services and implementation of the Memento framework. The groundwork for future temporal facilities on, for example, archival copies of the large scale Ordnance Survey database, will also help inform future directions for the Digimap services. Additionally, the groundwork will provide a prototype exemplar capable of being readily extended more broadly to existing JISC geo-infrastructure.

The Memento Development Group will benefit by the addition of a new use case – an explicitly geospatial one. Additionally, the project provides a means to explore the issues related to ‘web’ and ‘content’ time and thus provides a valuable contribution to the future development of Memento.

Overall we believe the broader community will benefit by the innovative adoption of both WMS-T and Memento. In isolation both of these technologies have specific communities to which they are of immediate interest. Taken together they provide a vehicle for innovation and also provide a means for technology exposure into ‘non-traditional’ community spaces – in the case of the ‘geo-community’ this brings Memento to the fore and in the case of Memento it provides a challenging new domain area – geospatial.

Mar 012011
 

This project will build a stakeholder engagement tool visualising historic, current and future energy efficiency estimates at the level of individual buildings*. Researchers exploring and investigating policy options on possible future states of the built environment need a simple mechanism to visually analyse and compare outcomes of different scenarios of urban energy reduction policy.

This project will produce modelled estimates of building energy use for the period 1990-2050 for a sample geographic area in Cardiff, South Wales and provide a web based application that allows researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders the facility to explore varying spatio-temporal patterns of energy efficiency outcomes. We will also explore a novel usage of the Memento framework by enabling ‘time-travel’ both backwards (‘web-time’) and forwards (‘content-time’).

Further the work will provide insights into aspects of temporal modelling of the Ordnance Survey large scale geographic database, MasterMap. The latter will inform how adaptations to the JISC Digimap service might be best optimised to provide access to historic versions of this and similar resources.

Key deliverables:

  • A database of building-level energy efficiency coefficients for 2000-2050 for a large sample area within South East Wales
  • A database schema for exposing the model outputs via a WMS-T
  • A WMS delivering the data visualisations
  • A WMS-T allowing temporal navigation
  • Tile Cached versions of the above allowing direct URI mapping to resources
  • A Memento geo-Timegate and proxy allowing translation of Memento requests into WMS-T ones – Note: subsequently agreed to be outwith scope of project
  • A Web Client (OpenLayers based) allowing user interaction and visualisation of the modelled outputs under variable input scenarios
  • Potentially, demonstration of the outputs, visualised and temporally query-able in a Google Earth client
  • User needs requirements/ problem and issue refinement.

* A decision was most early in the project that in order to provide a more meaningful representation of the energy variables Output Area would be the geographic unit of analysis.