Linking spatial monitors: Geospatial indicators as Linked Open Data

(A) Presenter

Anuja Dangol, SADL (KU Leuven)

(B) Category

Early-stage idea

(C) Partners needed

Mapping agencies: Private, government( regional, national and European level)

1 Objectives

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the power of linked open data (LOD) for supporting policy making. The objectives are twofold:
a cross-sectoral linking of city level geospatial indicators
a cross-scale data harmonization (city, regional, national and international level) 
The case study used for this demonstration focusses on the relations between aging and densification.

2 Need/rationale

Geospatial indicators are important for governments to monitor and support spatial planning policy and decision making. This project links relevant geospatial indicators of three spatial monitoring systems: ‘Spatial Monitor Flanders’, ‘Traffic Safety Monitor Flanders’, ‘Ecosystem services monitor Flanders’ as an aid to process the multitude of information in decision making [1]. These monitoring systems offer a multi-level, integrative framework for facilitating the collection, publication and management of relevant spatial indicators [2,3,4]. Data harmonization across regional, national and international levels is needed to ensure comparability of data and statistics from monitoring (INSPIRE Directive). The ‘looking around, looking up’ approach [5] requires modification and transformation of exiting data with data specifications, rules and new regulations that meet the European Objectives.

3 Preexisting results/points of departure

The three spatial monitoring systems ‘Spatial Monitor Flanders’, ‘Traffic Safety Monitor Flanders’, ‘Ecosystem services monitor Flanders’ are the first preliminary result. They are developed using the same 3-tier web architecture : 1. Data tier (PostGIS, MySQL), 2. Application Tier (Geoserver, Drupal, RDF) and 3. Presentation tier (Geoloket, GeoCMS , LOD). The three monitoring system can be accessed via: 
1. Spatial Monitor: http://www.ruimtemonitor.be ,
2. Traffic Safety Monitor: http://www.verkeersveiligheidsmonitor.be and 
3. Ecosystem services monitor: http://ecosysteemdiensten.be/. 
The next step is to develop the case study by publishing the geospatial indicators as LOD, enabling geospatial queries. The case study focusses on the relationships between aging [6] and densification (smart growth, new suburbanism,…) [7, 8], two trends that pose current and future challenges for policy making at different scale levels. The geographic focus lies on Flanders (the northern part of Belgium). Flanders, a highly urbanized region [9, 10], is characterized by a high degree of low density urban sprawl and residential allotments. Insights in: 
if and how elderly people (under)use single family dwellings with a garden 
traffic safety issues for children and elderly
the need for housing by young families
ecosystem services delivered by domestic gardens and spatially related green
will offer inspiration for the development of new housing and densification strategies. Such strategies could be the subdivision of garden parcels for the development of new housing (e.g. garden grabbing) [11, 12], or the development of service flats bringing the single family dwellings back on the housing market for young families with children. The mapping of synergies and trade-offs of different strategies supports decision making. This mapping requires the linking of data from several policy domains and policy levels, present in the existing spatial monitoring systems. 
Future work involves making these monitoring system accessible to national and international level. Cross-scale data harmonization would allow to compare different European regions for the same case study by using international open data sources. 

4 Methods

The geospatial indicators are made interoperable using the concept of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Web services are used for the discovery, viewing and exchange of the indicators’ (meta-)data. 
The existing metadata are stored in a Resource Description Framework (RDF) triple store and is published in the web using a web server or via a Linked data interface.
The exiting vocabularies are re-used to meet the requirements of an indicator based monitoring system. Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) ontologies are extending as DCAT-SM (for Spatial Monitoring) which includes addition information on Policies, Spatial characteristics, provenance and measurements. The triples created are stored in Virtuoso triple store.
Some geospatial indicators that could be linked together from three different monitoring system are:
Monitoring system------>Geospatial Indicators
Spatial Monitor-------->Per municipality 65-plussers, families with children, residential parcel surfaces
Traffic safety monitor--> Risk of accidents, accident statistics, road and cycling infrastructure
Ecosystem services monitor--> Air quality, carbon storage in biomass and soil in gardens 
The client (policy makers) access the linked open data through geospatial content management system (CMS) or other client applications for linked data such as ‘Information Workbench’
The further step is to enable geospatial data query using OGC GeoSPARQL standard .
The translation of sites in  English to make it accessible to non-Dutch speaking people.
Comparison of the similar geospatial indicators at the European level

5 Resources mobilized

The monitoring systems were developed within the context of three separate policy supporting research projects that will end Dec 2015. The work needed for translation and upscaling started in Jan 2015.

6 Expected result

This project puts the first essential step in the cross-sectoral integration of geospatial indicators at regional level. The cross-scale data harmonization ensures comparability of data and statistics between different regions and at higher scale levels. 


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