Enabling users to see the value of marine data
The blue economy is driven by the sustainable exploitation of our marine resources, and access to effective and appropriate data is key to its success. The European Commission is supporting marine policy and the blue economy by funding initiatives that make publicly funded marine data widely available. This data furthers our understanding of how the marine environment works, and it informs policies that support sustainable developments. It also allows commercial organisations to exploit marine resources for the benefit of society.
Several portals have already been launched that provide harmonised access to marine data across a number of themes. An audit of these services, as series of ‘check points’, is being carried out to objectively test these data services against real world challenges. HR Wallingford is leading the North Sea Check Point.
The challenges we are using will help reveal gaps in data collection and improvements needed in data policy, and cover:
The Check Points provide a way for users to value data and make informed choices about suitability of a dataset to solve their particular problem. Structured metadata takes users so far, but such metadata is ‘context neutral’ and doesn’t reveal the explicit value of the data to the user. The Check Points are signposting users to these existing services and, via the challenges, highlighting how the data they contain can (or cannot) be used.
Our project team is taking an innovative approach that uses linked data and semantic-web tools to allow data value to be made explicit. These approaches are routinely applied on ‘smart’ peer-to-peer websites where users provide their requirements and products/services meeting their requirements are returned with associated value scores. This will allow us to steer users towards the data most likely to support their marine project requirements.