On September 19th 2012 the RAGLD team hosted two workshops at the Association for Geographic Information annual conference to demonstrate the crucial role that simple tools and services can play in the development of web-based Linked Data applications. The workshops presented interesting challenges for the team – we had no idea who might sign up, or indeed if anyone would sign up at all; and how should we pitch such a new subject to users in the existing GI market, and get across the fundamental aspects of our emerging technologies in little more than 35 minutes?
The team, consisting of John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey ), Hugh Glaser (Seme4) and Ian Millard (University of Southampton), took the challenges in their stride and presented high impact workshops that not only outlined the aims of the RAGLD project, but which were also valuable in forming connections with members of a diverse and growing Linked Data community.
John ran with the baton first and, with contributions from glamorous assistant Hugh, gave a whistle stop tour of the world of Linked Data in less than 5 minutes. Ian followed with an introduction to the RAGLD environment, starting with the reconciliation service and how it can be used to find appropriate matches to keywords, moving seamlessly on to the SameAs service and how it can resolve connections between items, before delving deeper into the other services that are currently available through RAGLD, or which are soon to be developed. (Have a look at our services page for more about the sort of tools that we are developing).
It was a breakneck journey across the surface of the RAGLD world and, although really just a taster of what the tools and services could offer, there was a vast amount of information for the audience to take on. The presentations and practical demonstrations prompted a lively debate and many attendees were keen to share their views on the trials and tribulations of working with Linked Data. They universally agreed that a set of simple tools and services would be extremely valuable in opening up the Linked Data world for their organisations and customers.
It was a busy two day conference and provided a high profile platform for promoting the RAGLD project. We did, of course, manage to find time for a couple of beers outside of the conference – it’s always wise to embrace the social aspects of a major industry gathering such as this. After all that hard work, the RAGLD team returned triumphant and inspired to add even more tools and services to enable Linked Data consumers to select, filter, manipulate, visualize, transform and communicate data more easily, and in ways that more closely match their specific decision-making processes.
Try out our services at http://beta.ragld.com/
These are early versions of the RAGLD services and data sets, and will be subject to change and further development. However we welcome feedback, so please try them out and tell us what you think.
RAGLD will be hosting a hands-on workshop at AGI GeoCommunity ’12 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham (Sept 18-20).
The workshop will provide an introduction to linked data, and will give people the chance to get to know more about RAGLD tools and services. There will be a practical demonstration of a simple RAGLD-based application, which will show how developers might use the toolkit to combine information from multiple linked data sources.
AGI GeoCommunity is the largest and most comprehensive independent conference in the UK digital mapping and geospatial calendar, attracting delegates from Central and Local Government, Utilities, Health, Emergency Services and many other sectors. The RAGLD workshop will explain the potential of linked data, and the need for tools to work with it, to delegates from the broadest range of industries.
As always, we will be welcoming comments and feedback, and look forward to posting up some results from these discussions.
The RAGLD project team have produced some high level designs for tools and services which we presented at a workshop at HCC (Hampshire County Council) in April. A version of the presentation that we gave can be seen here. The purpose of the presentation was to get some feedback on the designs with relation to the linked data trials that are being planned at HCC.
We were also interested in finding out more about the linked data trials from a requirements point of view, as the stakeholders of the trial who attended the workshop were from various departments within HCC, other Local Authorities, ONS (Office of National Statistics) and DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government).
As a part of our project plan to iterate between components and services designs and potential users, further consultations are planned with other organisations that are currently engaged in linked data activities. Meanwhile development of the RAGLD tools and services is ongoing.
The questionnaires that we received by close of play in January have now been analysed.
Many thanks to everyone who took the time and trouble to fill them in and provide such detailed and informative responses.
A brief summary of the findings will be posted on this website here.
The results have already been instrumental in guiding the design phase of the project, and have given us valuable pointers as to what tools and services would be of most assistance to developers and policy makers using linked data.
The next phase of the user requirements analysis will be to conduct interviews with key players in the world of digital data to explore further the challenges met by organisations or projects in using linked data. We would also like to obtain feedback on the first stage of high-level tool and service designs that have emerged from the results of the questionnaires and the combined experience of the project team.
As part of work package one we have released two questionnaires to gather information on requirements for linked data tools and services.
One questionnaire was aimed at developers who work closely with data, and the second questionnaire was aimed at people implementing data policies.
Please feel free to complete either of these questionnaires according to your role.
The closing date for completion of the questionnaires is January 6th 2012.
RAGLD: Rapid Assembly of Geo-centric Linked Data
October 2011 — March 2013