INSPIRE workshop – where do we go from here?
I think any attempt at blogging the actual events of the day here are rendered somwhat redundant by Nicola Osborne’s brilliantly comprehensive live blogging of proceedings over at GECO. Thanks Nicola!
In short though – the day was a great success. Getting people excited about metadata is not necessarily easy, but there was lots of interesting discussion among a group with pretty varied backgrounds and angles on geospatial issues. This included representatives from funders (JISC, ESRC), data and geospatial service providers (Swedish NDS, WISERD) and researchers.
The discussion ended up extending beyond just INSPIRE and more generally into the geospatial potential of social science data. I’ve extracted what for me were some of the key, take-home-and-act-on messages from the workshop below:
- Hazy legal obligations aside – INSPIRE provides a solid basis for geospatially useful metadata. To ensure compliance is just good data management practise, and not is necessarily very difficult to accomplish for those already using a good metadata schema.
- Confidentiality issues should be carefully considered by working groups when it comes to INSPIRE data specifications – of particular importance to social sciences i.e. dealing with micro-data.
- Generally, there is insufficient institutional expertise in GIS to assist users and ensure it’s being ‘done right’. Providing data and visualisation is great, but we need a skill base in order to use these resources properly.
- Metadata based web portals/ browsers are not only cool, but useful! We need more of these for the social sciences, while carefully considering users and potential extensibility along the way.
As an aside, I was particularly interested in the difference of opinion between the data infrastructure purists and those more inclined toward innovation and ‘public science’. I emphathise with both sides of the argument, and think that in our approach to the geospatial challenge a union of the two will be critical.