Prosjektbeskrivelse i boks

Ting tar tid. I høst fikk jeg beskjed om at jeg måtte levere inn en formell prosjektbeskrivelse av PhD-prosjektet mitt til doktorgradsutvalvet ved IVT. Det endte opp med at jeg fikk levert denne 18. april, og 2. mai var den blitt behandlet. Hyggelig melding der:

Doktorgradsutvalget godkjenner den endelige prosjektbeskrivelsen for ph.d.-avhandlingen til Atle Frenvik Sveen

Men hva er en prosjektbeskrivelse? Det sier seg vel igrunn selv? Mer spesifikt er det en beskrivelse av bakgrunn, mål, omfang (og begrensninger), metode, etiske vurderinger, forventede resultater, og en plan for arbeidet. For meg virker det litt søkt å skulle svare så mye i detalj før jeg er skikkelig i gang, men jeg skjønner jo at man må reflektere litt. Jeg vet ikke helt om dette dokumentet regnes som offentlig materiale, men jeg tenker nå uansett å sakse det “viktigste” innholdet her, sånn for å gi en oversikt over hva jeg driver med.

I bakgrunns-delen går jeg inn på hva som har blitt gjort tidligere, og snakker om hva som gjør at dette arbeidet er relevant:

Geospatial Data has been created and managed since the first maps where made (Garfield, 2013). The impact of the digital revolution on this field have far-ranging consequences. A map is but one of several representations of the underlying digital data. The digitalization of the map-making process thus involves several shifts. One is the de-coupling of the printed map from the actual data, another is the fact that geospatial data can be used for more than printing maps.

Open Data is another consequence of digitalization. There is an increasing political pressure to make digital data produced and maintained by governments available to the public (Cox & Alemanno, 2003; Ginsberg, 2011; Yang & Kankanhalli, 2013). Political accountability, business opportunities, and a more general trend towards openness are all cited as reasons behind this movement (Huijboom & Broek, 2011; Janssen, Charalabidis, & Zuiderwijk, 2012; Sieber & Johnson, 2015). In practice this means that geospatial data from a range of sources are becoming available for everyone to use for whatever purpose they see fit.

A third trend is crowdsourcing, or Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) (Goodchild, 2007). This concept bears some resemblance to Free and Open Source Software. The underlying concept is that amateurs collaborate on tasks such as writing online encyclopedias, writing computer software, or, as in the case of geospatial data, create a database of map data covering the world: OpenStreetMap (OSM) (Haklay & Weber, 2008).

What is lacking is a combined overview and a set of best practices. What characterizes a system built to handle an automated gathering of geospatial data published in a myriad of formats, with different metadata standards (or no metadata at all), with different update frequencies, and different licenses? A thorough investigation of these problems will enable a better understanding of what data is of interest, how it should be shared, and how the promised value of Open Geospatial Data can be extracted.

Målene oppsummerer jeg ganske enkelt slik:

The overall objectives of this project are (1) to establish guidelines on how to store and manage geospatial data from disparate sources, with different structure and quality, and (2) to explore how this data can be utilized for value generation and decision support. The overarching theme of both objectives are how the Open Source mindset can be utilized.

Når det gjelder forventede resultater summerer dette det meste ganske greit opp:

There are two main results we hope to obtain from this project. The fist is a better understanding of how geospatial data can be gathered from disparate sources and stored in an efficient manner that can be utilized. The other main result is to find new areas, products, and methods that be carried out by using this data. Establishing systems for assessing quality and fitness for use of the data is also an important aspect.

Hvis du er interessert i å lese hele prosjektbeskrivelsen finner du den her: phd_prosjektbeskrivelse_atlefren.

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