WP3: Resource facility


Enhance the resource facility on capacity building in the GEO web portal

The discovery of and access to capacity-building resources are essential to conduct environmental projects based on Earth observation resources, whether they are Earth observation products, methodological tools, techniques, organizations that impart training in these techniques or even projects that have shown practical achievements. The GEONetCab project was an initial endeavour to meet this need by providing, through a cataloguing system, the discovery of and access to resources. At present, it is accessible via the GEONetCab resources portal (url) and currently contains more than 300 references described by the previous consortium. It is based on MDweb, a generic and open source application.
Even though these results were appreciated by the international community, at present the main barriers remain the lack of adoption of the process, the limited richness of the inventory and its low visibility within the world of data access services. Tasks proposed in this work package are designed to remedy this situation. To this end, this work package’s aim is to extend this approach by:

  • Improving the capacity of the referencing tool to better meet the needs of target users, both experts and non-experts of the Earth observation domain,
  • Expand the existing inventory to include areas covered by the EOPOWER project and strengthen those of areas covered by the GEONetCab project,
  • Improve adoption of this approach by making referencing work methodologically and technically accessible to the different partners, thus ensuring an improved sustainability,
  • Share the work with the rest of the Earth observation community via the major international initiatives in the domain (GEO, CEOS, etc.).

Task T3.1 - Improve localisation and linking of CB resources to facilitate their discovery
Given the diversity of currently inventoried resources (tools, organizations, success stories, methodological toolboxes, image-access programs, access services, training organizations, technical manuals, etc.), it becomes necessary, during the discovery process, to provide non-expert users with the means to navigate these resources. This can take the form, for example, of linking images with tools to process them, linking to sponsorship initiatives to provide funding for resources, or even establishing a link between an offer for training and the tools necessary for carrying out a classification. This crucial aspect has been identified and addressed in part by the manual description of such relationships in the tool currently available. This has not proved satisfactory because the process of description is very tedious and the linking of resources remains uncertain. Moreover, the features implemented in the search module do not fully make use of these relationships during the search process. The objective of this task therefore is:

  • to offer the automatic construction of relationships between resources using deduction techniques originating from the semantic web. These techniques should be based on an ontology of the domain of capacity building for Earth observation
  • to incorporate new features in the current tool that can exploit these new search capabilities.

The goal is to provide users with a suitable search environment and a discovery process allowing easy navigation within various capacity building resources.
T3.1.1: CB ontology and reasoning rules (leader: ESPACE-DEV, with the help of all project partners)
This task will be organized around two actions:
a) Definition of the capacity building ontology and definition of rules by experts. It is a matter of creating an ontology of Earth observation CB resources. It will encompass the concepts and properties for describing knowledge in this area. Properties associated with these concepts will be identified and modelled. The process of formalization of this knowledge will be based on the OWL ontological description language. The identification of these concepts and their properties will rely on the thesaurus developed as part of the GEONETCAB project and will be complemented by expert knowledge of the domain, in particular to describe accurately the relationships between concepts. For this, expert partners in the field will be involved during dedicated meetings or during the different project workshops.
b) Ontology reasoning to infer relationships between inventoried resources. This work will ensure the validation of the created ontology and will permit the testing of its ability to build good relationships between the resources already inventoried. This work will build on a description set present in the GEONetCab catalogue.
T3.1.2: Incorporating the ontology and modifying the search interfaces (leader: ESPACE-DEV)
This subtask’s goal is to incorporate the CB (capacity building) ontology into the existing search tool and enhance the capabilities of the tool so that it makes full use of the capacities of automatic construction of relationship between resources. This work will be structured as follows:
a) Incorporation of the CB ontology and the inferring mechanisms for automatic construction of links between resources via metadata.
b) The design and development of the necessary search application features. This design will rely on the concept of faceted searching to suggest suitable resources based on the user’s profile.
T3.1.3: Proposals to improve the link between the EOPOWER resource catalogue with the portals for disseminating EO resources (leader: ESPACE-DEV)
This task’s objective is to improve the availability of inventory of CB resources to the Earth observation community. To do this, improvements have to be made in the possible exchanges between the various search systems and in the visibility of CB resources within these systems.
In this context, the GEO portal, which brings together and provides access to these resources, is targeted. The implementation of an inventory-harvesting capacity by using interoperability standards (OGC’s CSW cataloguing protocol) has made it possible to access the GEONetCab inventory and the GEO clearinghouse. It is proposed to concentrate efforts on the resource classification processes within these portals by developing and offering approaches for classifying CB resources – which in their current state leave much to be desired.
Carried out in conjunction with the GEO portal’s technical operators, this study will work on offering to GEO
a typology of CB resources and will propose metadata specifications for the best use of the typology in the presentation of results. Prospectively, a study of the various existing portals to access resources will be conducted to identify the links to implement in order to improve the dissemination of the inventory of CB resources to other resource-access portals of the major initiatives at the regional and international levels.

Task T3.2 - Updating the inventory of CB resources
The usefulness of offering an inventory of CB resources to the user community depends in part on the richness of the inventory and its frequent updates. Thus, the tools for cataloguing and discovery made available by the GEONetCab project will be effective if the inventory effort is extended and expanded to new areas covered by this project. This subtask’s objective is to update the previous inventories made (French-speaking parts of Africa, countries in Eastern European and those in the SADC region), to extend and expand to new regions of South America, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea region, Russia and Turkey and neighbouring countries. This effort will be based on:

  • Methodological support provided to partners so that they become capable of creating the descriptions of their resources on their own.
  • Monitoring inventory work and the inclusion of inventories in the catalogue,
  • Administrative activities to ensure validation, consistency, quality and relevance of the inventoried resources vis à vis the project objectives.

The first two actions can be undertaken by writing and distributing manuals explaining the approach, principles of description and the operations necessary to add them to the resource catalogue. The manuals can be complemented by technical sessions held during scheduled project meetings.

Task T3.3 - Uptake of the inventory approach by the partners and by the EO community
The success of this approach depends on continuation beyond the duration of the project. This raises the issue of the sustainability of the actions undertaken. It is essential that the project partners appropriate the approach to make it durable. Thus, this subtask’s are to:

  • Ensure that the project partners adopt the inventory approach,
  • Ensure that the partners promote the approach in order to establish the use of those practices within the community that are needed to improve access to resources. In this, we will rely on actors such as GEO and CEOS.

Consequently, activities are proposed at two intervention levels:

  • For internal adoption within the project:
    • Production of educational material on the approach, principles, implementation stages,
    • Organization of training sessions within the project.
  • For adoption by the regional and international community:
    • Adaptation of the project’s technical material for the Earth observation community,
    • Organization of training sessions at major regional or international events,
    • Presentation of the approach and of the portal to access CB resources at major regional or international events.


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