Geo-spatial data is a term used to cover any data with a
geographic reference - for example, an Ordnance Survey
National Grid reference, a postal address, a place name or the
name of an administrative area.
Increasing amounts of
geo-spatial data are being created within Higher Education. At
the same time, demand for access to geo-spatial data is
growing, as tools, such as GIS, become more commonly
available. Two major barriers confront the potential user of
geo-spatial data: how to find out what data exist, and how to
ascertain their quality and suitability for use. To overcome
these barriers, comprehensive, standardised metadata,
available through a web-searchable database, is needed.
geo-data portal project Phase 1 was funded by the JISC to
investigate the demand for and the issues surrounding the
establishment of a Z39.50 compliant resource discovery tool
for geo-spatial data for UK academia. The project was a joint
one between EDINA, part of the Data Library, University of
Edinburgh and the History Data Service, part of the UK Data
Archive, University of Essex. MIMAS and the Archaeology Data
Service (ADS) were involved in an advisory capacity.
request of the JISC, the scope of the project was extended to
consider the requirements for a geo-data portal. At its core a
portal is a resource discovery tool that allows the
identification and retrieval of metadata describing the
content, quality, condition and other characteristics of
geo-spatial data. Phase 2 of the geo-data portal project, named
Go-Geo!, was a one year project between EDINA and the History
Data Service. The aims of the phase 2 project were: development of a demonstrator suitable for extension to full service; promoting the possibilities of a fully functioning service for integration in the JISC Information Environment (IE), and to act as a proof of concept.
The JISC has now agreed to provide additional funding to enable further development of the portal to take place during Phase 3, transition to full service. User trialing (at 6 institutions) will also take place to support this and test out the functionality of the portal. This project is a joint one between EDINA and the UK Data Archive (UKDA) with minor involvement of the Department of Informatics at City University.
Funding has also been awarded from the JISC for a separate metadata promotion
intiative to introduce the concept of geo-spatial metadata to
the UK academic community. The objective is to promote and encourage
metadata creation through a series of workshops to present the
HE/FE Metadata Application Profile, supporting guidelines and
Go-Geo! portal technology. Further information on this strategy
can be found at
A geo-data portal extends the geo-spatial
data discovery function by the addition of other functions
that add value to the data identified and retrieved. Primarily
this means providing the means to find other related resources
of use to the user. These resources can be either local to the
portal or found by searching the JISC Information Environment
and other online information services.
A key aspect of the
portal is that these resources can be found using spatial
searching as well as the more traditional topic or keyword
forms of searching. A gazetteer is therefore required to
support the portal, as most searches will involve spatial
searching and users will need a rich resource of place names.
The service that will be developed will use the gazetteer
which the sister project to this one, the geoXwalk
project, will establish.
documentation for Phase 1 of the project can be found at
Phase 2 project web pages and documentation can be found at http://www.gogeo.ac.uk/Phase2/Phase2Docs.htm