Getting Things Connected

EnviroInfo 2012

Session 3-4: Linking Open Data about the Environment 1

Thursday, August 30th 2012 11:00 - 12:30

Session Chair: Thomas Bandholtz

Open Data in Berlin

Evanela Lapi, Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS, Germany

Open Data is increasingly more and more important driving a fundamental change in the relationship between governments, citizens and businesses. Launched in September 2011, the Berlin Open Data portal ( is the first Open Data portal in Germany and a significant milestone for the German Open Data movement. By providing access to structured, machine-readable and open-licensed data, the portal enables further and easier use of public sector information for internet based applications and mobile apps. The portal is developed by Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS and BerlinOnline GmbH, based on an assignment of the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research.

Open Data! (German)

Joachim Hübener, Umweltbundesamt, Germany

Open Data! klingt wie ein Schlachtruf - endlich ergänzen die Ungeduldigen. Umweltdaten sollten eigentlich schon lange offen sein (Aarhus Konvention 1998). Doch die Verhältnisse sind (noch) nicht so. Wir haben große Sammlungen von Meta-Daten, die ja zumeist nur Daten über die eigentlichen Daten sind. Es gibt vermehrt Ansätze zu OpenData, auch im Bereich der Umweltinformatik.

Open Data! gilt auch für das UBA, das bereits in umfangreiche Berichtspflichten (z.B. Europäische Umweltagentur) eingebunden ist, die eigentliche Datenbereitstellung im Sinne von OpenData bisher aber noch nicht Standard ist.

In diesem Beitrag werden Ansätze zur Änderung der IT-Architektur aufgezeigt, die bisher relativ unabhängig voneinander betriebene IT-Anwendungen in eine Service-Orientierte-Architektur (SOA) einbinden und eine übergreifenden konvergente Datentransformation ermöglichen. Zielstellung ist eine Vereinfachung der Prozesse zur Datenbereitstellung im internationalen Kontext von SEIS, LOD / LED, INSPIRE / GDI u.a.

Grundlage ist eine private Cloud im UBA, die sich technologisch an den Erfahrungen großer Cloud-Anbieter orientiert und eine relativ einfache Verschiebung zwischen verschiedenen Clouds (private / hybrid / public) ermöglicht.

Sustainability through Open Data: Examples from Switzerland

Antoine Logean, Oleg Lavrovsky, Ralph Straumann,, Switzerland
Peter Gassner, Interactivethings, Switzerland

Although the term “sustainability” can be traced back to as early as 1761 in forest management, it was unknown to most of the wider public two decades ago. Driven by publications of scientific evidence showing the potential impact of greenhouse gases on global climate change as well as the prediction of the end of the oil age, popular awareness of ecological challenges facing our planet has increased – today, the topic of sustainability has arrived in the main-stream (with all the downsides, such as hijacking of the term).

While awareness alone is certainly not sufficient, it is a fundamental and necessary step towards the establishment of new models for economic, societal and ecologic development. In this paper we show how the Open Data movement can address some of the complex challenges that sustainable development needs to solve.

Examples of software applications (“apps”) and data analyses and visualizations developed in grassroots projects at so-called “ hackathons” in Switzerland will demonstrate how the Open Data movement can be part of the solution by bridging the realms of economy, ecology and society in sustainable development.

Open matters! The meaning of “open” in Linked Open Data about the Environment

Christian Pauschert, Open Knowlege Foundation (OKFN)

Open Data, Linked Data, Big Data, Data is currently a hot topic and having the ability to work with it becomes more and more important for governments, academia, media, civil society, and businesses the like. Linking and combining data from different sources is essential for analysis and better understanding of complex systems such as the environment or society. It is also key for the development of new products and services. But what happens if the data is not open? This presentation will explain what the “open” in Linked Open Data means and why it is of key importance for a sustainable open data ecosystem to keep data open as in the Open Definition.

Session 4-4: Linking Open Data about the Environment 2

Thursday, August 30th 2012 14:00 - 15:30

Session Chair: Søren Michael Roug

Publishing and Consuming Linked Data

Anja Jentzsch, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

(no abstract available)

Linked Data for a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS)

Søren Michael Roug, European Environment Agency, Denmark

Back in 2007 the Group of four (DG-ENV, Eurostat, JRC and EEA) launched the SEIS initiative. After a year of investigation we decided that SEIS for tabular data was best implemented by Linked Data. The task is huge. We need new tools to store, analyse, export and visualise data, but the initiative has great potential for productivity improvements. The presentation is an explanation of EEA’s rationale and a status report of the progress.

Linked Environment Data - Getting Things Connected

Joachim Fock, Federal Environment Agency, Germany
Thomas Bandholtz, innoQ Deutschland GmbH, Germany

After three years of discussion and early prototypes, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Germany, now has launched a two-year research & development project on Linked Environment Data (LED) with innoQ Deutschland GmbH as a contractor. This project will set up a core cloud of environment data with a well-elaborated domain terminology as its semantic backbone. Data will be taken from the “Environmental Specimen Bank”, the “German Metadata Portal on Soil” and further databases such as the “Joint Substance Data Pool of the German Federal Government and the German Federal States” as well as the environmental library and research databases. The infrastructure will support a sustainable process of keeping the data permanently up-to-date, and there will be a dynamic and intuitive user interface. All the work will be fully Semantic Web compliant, based on vocabularies such as SKOS, SCOVO or Data Cubes, and Dublin Core.

Annotation of Environmental and Epidemiological Systems: TaToo case study

Miroslav Kubásek, Jiří Hřebíček, Jiří Kalina, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

The synthesis of existing Persistent Organic Pollutants pollution monitoring databases with epidemiological data is considered for identifying some impacts of Persistent Organic Pollutants on human health. This task requires new, rich, data, services and models discovery capabilities from a multitude of monitoring networks and web resources. The FP7 project TaToo (Tagging Tool based on a Semantic Discovery Framework) is setting up a semantic web so-lution to close the discovery gap that prevents a full and easy access to web resources. The use of TaToo tools to-gether with the Global Environmental Assessment and Information System and the System for Visualizing of On-cological Data is discussed as TaToo validation scenario for anthropogenic impact and global climate change influ-ence on Persistent Organic Pollutants trajectory.

Session 5-4: Linking Open Data about the Environment 3

Thursday, August 30th 2012 16:00 - 17:30

Session Chair: Joachim Hübener

Evolving and Exploiting Domain Terminologies

Thomas Bandholtz, innoQ Deutschland GmbH, Germany
Joachim Fock, Federal Environment Agency, Germany

Domain terminology is a network of hopefully shared conceptualisations in the area of discourse, designated by hopefully un-ambiguous terms and labels or - in terms of data representation - identifiers. In most cases those terms and identifiers are not managed on the enterprise level which causes misunderstandings and mismatches in all areas of communication. This article drafts a roadmap of evolving and exploiting domain terminologies based on experiences of the authors and further thoughts about the next steps to go.

A Common Tool for Managing Environmental Monitoring Data

Maria Rüther, Federal Environment Agency, Germany
Thomas Bandholtz, Till Schulte-Coerne, innoQ Deutschland GmbH, Germany

This article gives an overview of a recent project of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) regarding the management of its data. It describes the user requirements, both from the perspective of the scientists as well as of application management, which have led to the development of a general tool for managing environmental data. Examples demonstrate the flexible structure of the new application and thus give an impression for possible use in other monitoring programs. Thereafter, we examine the German ESB’s open data, which is a part of the Federal Environment Agency’s Linked Open Data initiative.

Establishing and Operating a Metadata Portal for Soil Measurement Data

Jeanette Mathews, Federal Environment Agency, Germany
Thomas Bandholtz, innoQ Deutschland GmbH, Germany

Soil monitoring programmes in Germany are widely spread by location, scope of observation, funding and temporal extent. Citizens as well as professionals have difficulties picking up the “right” data for their needs, many times not even knowing that such data exists. The Federal Environment Agency in Germany, “Umweltbundesamt (UBA)” has commissioned an R&D project to establish and operate a Metadata Portal for Soil Monitoring Data on a national level. It will make structures descriptions of all the distributed programmes accessible on the Web, and searchable by various criteria. Embedded in a set of well-balanced open standards and specifications (such as OGC, W3C, INSPIRE, GS-SOIL or the national CSW profile) the portal will be built in close cooperation with the data providers and the owners of standards or re-used software components. Finally it will become a versatile information source either by itself or as a service to be integrated by INSPIRE, PortalU, and Linked Environment Data.

Generation of Multilingual Personalized Environmental Bulletins from an OWL-based Ontology

Nadjet Bouayad-Agha, Gerard Casamayor, Simon Mille, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
Marco Rospocher, Luciano Serafini, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy
Jürgen Moßgraber, IOSB, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany
Leo Wanner, Institucio Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avancats, Spain

In this paper, we tackle the problem of generation of user-oriented multilingual environmental information from ontologies in the context of a personalized environmental decision support service. We present a unified multiple layer ontology framework modeled in OWL that consists of three ontology layers: the domain ontology, the domain communication ontology, and the communication ontology. The domain ontology contains factual application-neutral concept configurations and relations. The domain communication ontology models data aggregation, qualitative interpretation of numerical data, user tailored warnings and recommendations triggered by an environmental condition given in a specific context, etc., while the communication ontology specifies knowledge needed for the tasks involved in the generation process, and is populated using a pipeline of SPARQL queries. We show how a large scale instantiation of this framework in the environmental domain serves multilingual NLG.

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