Jun 202011

Following our successful meeting with Simon Lannon from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University here are our first iterations of the user interface to the energy efficiency visualisation tool.

Our initial discussions regarding the user interface has separated out the policy scenarios from the ‘user generated’ interface features and options. Our first whiteboard draft (as captured by Fiona on her iPhone) is as follows:

Rough sketch of proposed STEEV tool user interface

Using Balsamiq this was tweaked to provide us with an interim overview (much disliked by graphic designers I’ve heard!) as below:

Further iteration of STEEV tool user interface using Balsamiq

Prior to handing over the interface to our software engineer (George Hamilton) our graphic designer mocked up the interface complete with EDINA/JISC branding. This will form the basis for which George will link into the back-end and his ideas for incorporating Memento functionality:

Mock-up of STEEV tool user interface

Over the coming weeks Simon will supply us with the raw data and text for the pre-defined policy scenarios (these will be ones that fit in with the Government’s described scenarios) as well as a simple description of the modelling process. We’ll be aiming to provide full metadata explaining all variables and scenarios (most probably via PDF, pop-up, or separate web page). The map window will have a number of different overlays to choose from representing different outputs from the energy efficiency model. Each output will be associated with several decades (1990-2050) allowing the user the option to ‘move through time’. How this is represented has yet to be decided (radio buttons, slider, dial etc). We’re also considering the option of including a facility to download an ASCII version of the output data dependent upon the model/scenario run. This may be useful should the tool be scalable to incorporate and deliver energy variables for the whole country.

A decision was made to expand the sample area to include all 55,000 properties in the sample area. Our initial ideas of visualisation at the ‘house-level’ however may not be realistic due the spatial granulaity being too fine for any meaningful representation of energy efficiency. Our thoughts are now turning to the use of Output Areas (a postcode-based geographic unit of approx. 125 households, used in the population census for statistical reporting – http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/census_geog.asp) as the mechanism through which we can thematically represent the energy variables with accuracy and meaning. Digressing from the use of TOIDs and MasterMap (i.e. the individual house) may have ramifications in terms of how we approach our interface with Memento and will require further thought.

 June 20, 2011  Posted by at 12:57 pm General 2 Responses »
Jun 012011

Tomorrow marks the visit of Simon Lannon, Senior Research Associate at the Welsh Scool of Architecture, Cardiff University. This follows the joint-drafting of the STEEV client-side web application functional specification and delivery of energy efficiency variables complete with policy scenarios (decarbonisations of the electricity supply & removal of gas from homes, and business as usual). Both datasets incorporate energy improvements and renewable technologies. There is much to discuss in terms of spatial referencing (TOID versus centroid), licencing issues (with respect to the OS Mastermap data and the street address files used licenced from the Post Office?), and the data schema and transfer. The CHEST-OS Licence is due to be reviewed and updated in August of this year and this may well have (positive) implications for delivery of licenced content over the internet.

The current OS licence agreement states:

“Open Access Services” means services provided by a Datacentre to other academic services and development projects allowing access through an In-Line Service to Existing Digital Maps and Digital Maps without Secure Authentication. Open Access Services include, but are not limited to, Go-Geo!, GeoXwalk and e-MapScholar.


An In-line service is defined as
““In-Line Service” means a set of functions, provided by a Datacentre, that controls access and execution of operations for the exchange of geo-spatial data and maps over the internet with other academic services and development projects. Requests and responses are structured according to ISO Standard 19119 or any other industry standards and enabled by a class of software known as middleware.

Our understanding is that the STEEV visualisation tool (as an In-Line Service) may allow us to use and display derived OS content over the internet without Secure Authentication (bearing in mind the actual geometries are neither available nor obtainable) as context mapping. This will have a positive bearing in terms of providing access to the tool for proposed demonstration purposes at RETROFIT50 and related workshops later in the project.

Our trusty GIS Analyst (Fiona) has also been experimenting with visualisation techniques such as heat maps (scoping the use of Acidmaps – http://acidmaps.org/ and the graduated colours/symbols functionality within ArcMap). Our initial thinking was that should there be licencing issues then an open tool could be built in parallel using open mapping products to visualise the energy efficiency variables however the fine spatial granularity of the said variables renders such an approach inappropriate. Ho Hum. Back to that particular drawing board!

 June 1, 2011  Posted by at 5:50 pm General Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »