Monthly Archives: November 2018

New tool for evaluating your RDM offering launches

Institutions now have a new means at their disposal to aid them in assessing their research data management initiatives, the Evaluating RDM Tool.

A collaborative creation, the tool was developed using the SPARC Europe How Open is Your Research service and the Digital Curation Centre’s RISE Framework.

“We wanted to create something that would go beyond providing initial RDM guidance,” said SPARC Europe Director, Vanessa Proudman. “This tool should help with the next phase, aiding institutions as they continue to improve and evolve their RDM programmes and practices.”

As for how it works, users are invited to answer a selection of questions. Based on their responses, three downloadable radar charts are generated providing insights into: the breadth or range of RDM services provided by the institution; the degree to which RDM services are being tailored to specific users; and lastly, whether or not the initiatives are “sector leading”.

Marta Teperek, Data Stewardship Coordinator at TU Delft, described the Evaluating RDM Tool as a “quick and easy means to help assess RDM readiness at your institution and to visualise gaps.”

The tool is free to use. Any question regarding its use may be directed to info@sparceurope.org.

Try out the Evaluate your RDM Offering Tool

Humans of Data 28

“I‘m an ethnographer.  Well, I’m not only an ethnographer, but the heftiest part of my dissertation work was ethnography.  And as one who also has rigorous training in engineering and other natural science fields – I was surprised at how much of my research design required transformational change.

While I did the research – as I collected data – I changed what my hypotheses were, what I’d use the data for and what outcomes I’d obtain from analysing the data.  It was simultaneously confusing and exciting, but eventually I was much prouder of the outcomes than I would have been had I stuck to the plan.

It was a lesson in valuing methodological adaptation and change.  As researchers, we don’t know everything, and more people in science should have, and value, that experience.”

A milestone in the history of science based on work of the CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council

CC BY-ND 4.0 BIPM

The General Conference of Weights and Measures will meet in Paris to vote on whether to re-define the International System of Units (SI) for the kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole based on fundamental laws rather than measurement.

A unique event in the history of science is scheduled for Friday 16th November when a meeting in Versailles, France, will vote whether to re-define the International System of Units (SI) based on exact values of the fundamental constants. This would mean, for example, that the International Prototype of the Kilogram – a lump of metal which has been used to determine measurement of the kilogram since 1889 – will be replaced by a precise value deduced from fundamental laws of science.

CC BY-ND 4.0 BIPM

The values are the work of the CODATA Task Group on Fundamental Physical Constants, which, every few years since 1969, has summarised and evaluated the cumulative work of scientists and technologists in publishing a recommended set of self-consistent values of the fundamental constants of nature. Their most recent work[1] has been to determine the exact values of the Planck constant h, the elementary charge e, the Boltzmann constant k, and the Avogadro constants NA, so that the value of four of the SI base units — the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole (measures of mass, electric current, temperature, and amount of substance, respectively) — are no longer fixed by measurement, but are deduced from fundamental laws. They will join the other three base units — the second, metre, and candela (a measure of a light’s perceived brightness) — that are already defined in this way. The change will make the units more stable and allow investigators to develop ever more precise and flexible techniques for converting the constants into measurement units.

The decision will be made by the General Conference of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures,  an inter-governmental organization, established in 1875, as the supreme authority through which member states (60 member states + 42 associate states) act together to agree the values of the fundamental constants. Does this matter? Yes, it matters profoundly. Since the earliest human civilisations, precise measurement has been a staple of honest trade and exchange, and as science and technologies have advanced, has been vital to science’s understanding of the universe, to the precision and utility of technological devices, to the terms and trustworthiness of trade and commerce, and to the everyday lives of citizens.

Geoffrey Boulton, retiring President of CODATA and member of the ISC Governing Board, commented that

“it is important that we scientists recognize the magnitude and potential significance of this achievement, as one of CODATA’s proudest moments in its 50-year history, and to applaud not only the members of its current Task Group, under its co-chairs David Newell and Barry Wood, but all their predecessors since 1969. In recognition of their achievements, the General Assembly of CODATA, held last week, agreed, by unanimous acclamation, to award the 2018 biennial CODATA Prize to the Task Group.”

The prize rewards outstanding achievement in advancing data for science. It is the first time that the prize has been awarded to a group rather than an individual.

Images are CC BY-ND 4.0 BIPM

[1] “The CODATA 2017 values of h, e, k, and NA for the revision of the SI,” Newell et al., Metrologia 55 L13-16 (2017)

Humans of Data 27

“I’m trying to create awareness for researchers on opening up their own data.  Before working [on open data] I didn’t know anything about it.  If people open up their data there is so much more that can be done.  You can share ideas, review someone else’s data and find something that they didn’t find before.  I feel that’s very important.

I feel when people open up their data, it’s no longer people competing with each other – they’re helping each other to make the world a better place.  If you keep something to yourself you might not see everything in it that might improve the world.  But if you share it with peers, someone else might discover something that might make the world a better place.

We have the data but [currently] we’re not the owners of the data.  Africa needs to step up.  We need to be partners in research.  We need to open up our data and also to own our data.”

VIZAFRICA SYMPOSIUM 2018

Data visualization uses uncomplicated language to simplify things into concepts that can be easily grasped in graphical format enabling easy understanding. It also can provide insight and ability to understand cross-cutting complex issues and identify patterns to inform formation of successful decision making in terms of strategies and solutions. Prior to the use of the current formal written language, pictures (a form of visualization) were the key medium for sharing history, plans and ideas.  Recognising the immense importance of data visualization, CODATA Kenya and the ICT centre of Open Data (iCEOD) under the leadership of its Director Prof. Muliaro Wafula in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who is also the Chair of CODATA Kenya and an elected member of the CODATA International Executive Committee, organised the first Data, Information and Scientific Visualization Symposium in Afriuca that was held from 20-21 August 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya (http://vizsymposium.jkuat.ac.ke) .

The ICT centre of Open Data (iCEOD) has as its sole purpose is promoting data publication and data reuse through development and implementation of Open Data management. Additionally, it links other global Open Data Centres and interested parties. iCEOD through the  iODaV (innovative Open Data and Visualization) sub-taskforce of the Africa-ai- Japan project whose main objective is to facilitate the African Innovation process through data management, analytics and visualization organised and hosted the VizAfrica symposium. The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), IBM, United Nations University Computing and Society, Kyoto University, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Cae21.org and Lagos State University were key sponsors of this international symposium.

The first VizAfrica symposium was a successful event with an impressive turnout as close to 200 participants from across the globe drawn from government ministries, universities, research organizations, corporate, small and medium scale industries (SMEs), policy makers in various sectors of the economy and from international organizations attended the event from 20th to 21st August, 2018. The symposium also included a pre-conference training from 13th to 17th August, 2018.  The theme of the symposium was “Advancing Multi-disciplinary Data, Information and Scientific Visualization for Strategic and Sustainable Development.”

Data visualization is conducted in various disciplines and to this end; the symposium adopted a multi-disciplinary approach involving the following six tracks:

  • Manufacturing and Industry
  • Policy Regulation and Strategic Management
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Universal Healthcare
  • Computer Graphics, Media and Animation
  • Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition

All the six sessions comprised of: research, industry, keynote speeches and panel discussions sessions.

Prof Muliaro Wafula made the following remark during the opening session There is need to cultivate a balanced ecosystem of data and information value chain. Data, Information and Scientific Visualization provides a mirror for the supply side and lens for the demand side. VizAfrica 2018 Visualization Symposium is the beginning of one of the best approaches to better understand causality in Manufacturing and Industry; Policy, Regulation and Strategic Management; Logistics and Supply Chain Management; Universal Healthcare; Media; Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security”.

Key note Speeches

Prof. Xiaoru Yuan, from the Peking University in China gave a keynote speech titled ‘Data visualization for Everyone’ which demonstrated how visualization is in the middle of technology and humans. He referred to data visualization conferences held in Kyoto, Beijing and now Nairobi to emphasize how visualization is happening globally. Data visualization is relevant to researchers example in dissemination of scientific work and is also relevant to citizens in traffic jam management, discussion maps, and flood mapping. The presentation noted the existence of data visualization for non-programmers.

‘Data Visualization in the Context of World Food Programme (WFP)’ by Adrian Van Der Knap analysed WFP’s experience with data in their various countries of operations alongside how WFP collects data. Adrian emphasized that better data fuels better decision making resulting into better relationships during operations; and to this end, WFP has developed a strategy to be data driven in their decision making. The presentation noted that WFP currently uses the Optimus system to help them optimize the food basket during planning and food distribution.

Prof. Koji Koyamada from Kyoto University in Japan made a presentation titled ‘Data visualisation for Better Understanding of causality’ which acknowledged that we are living in an era of big data which demands utilisation of visualization research techniques like information visualization and graphic design including in causality which explain relationship between cause and effect, for example in the field of brain science, fluid science, communication, earth science etc. Prof. Koyamada noted that data visualization has been added to the traditional research methodology protocol.

Track Presentations

Manufacturing and Industry Track

‘A GIS based Intelligent Transportation System for Traffic Incident Management’ by Khadiala Ligono Lisah illustrated the mapping of traffic GIS data to automatically manage traffic as an efficient way of managing traffic incidents. Near real-time data was used for this research. Non-linear SVM was used for data transformation.

‘Driving Behavior Analysis Based on Vehicle OBD II Information and Location Analytics’ by Accadeius Benard Sabwa  involved a practical demonstration on how OBD devices are used to manage and clear engine errors through data provided by the different sensors, including information and location data. In China, OBD devices are used by insurance companies to rate drivers if they are good or bad. Most vehicles especially German cars collect 3D data, particularly when cornering for stability. Forecasting for a car has many variables that are not constant while predictive models are based on previous driving data. Solutions for rallying cars already exist.

‘Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry using Business Intelligence Technology’ by Barry Okwaro provided a framework for Business Intelligence (BI) using different technologies for different areas of the framework so as to provide more flexibility and avoid vendor lock in. This approach differs from integrated software solutions e.g. SAP as it discourages buying off-the-shelf software with full integration and develop customized approaches based on the customer needs and available open source software. He noted that the kind of visualization tools and applications required for BI in manufacturing often depends on the type and nature of applications and data e.g. Tableau, PowerBI, SSRS, Sisense, QLinkView. It was noted that the competitive advantage of BI in Manufacturing allows information gathered from competitors to be put in a data warehouse before performing analytics.

‘Collision Visualization of Laser-scanned Point Clouds presentation’ by Weite Li used the nature of Ofune-hoko procession simulation laser method as opposed to the polygon method. The approach compares with commercial software e.g. polygon technology used by commercial software as it uses polygon collision detection, the street data is a cloud based solution.  The presentation demonstrated how laser scanning can take data of a whole city, which is more accurate than polygon based methods.

Computer Graphics, Media Animation Track

Automatic Comprehension of Tweets Using Jumping Finite Automata’ by Stephen Obare,George Okeyo, Abejide Ade-Ibijola, Kennedy Ogala from JKUAT focused on the analysis, annotation and formalization of tweets using jumping finite automata specification and their importance with reference to finite automata to report on tweet variations.

‘Interactive Visualization System of Precipitation’s Probability by Using Percentage Area Graph’ by Lei Puwen  from Kyoto University, Japan delved in visualization of water level forecasting using deep learning with an aim of preventing the results of flash flooding in small rivers. Visualizing the results with time series of environmental factors were the main inputs. Linear regression was also used in the research. Real data was converted to binary data using Gauss distribution.

‘Separation of Overlapping Image Objects Using Morphological Operations’ by Patrick O. Ajwang – JKUAT focused on separating overlapping images using morphological operations and was aimed at mechanizing agriculture for identification of mature flowers through separation of overlapping objects through image acquisition- pre-processing-segmentation-feature extractions and classification. One defines the size and shape of extraction from source code, using neighbouring matrices, trial and error, however this is difficult for irregular shapes. The size of erosion for dilation can be automated instead of trial and error.

Constance M. Ngila and Catherine W. Wangari presentation titled ‘Color Impact on the Perception of the Emotions Portrayed in 3D Animations’ entailed capturing emotions from clients using colour intensities in videos thus different colours, contrasts and lighting. This was aimed at studying their effects on mood and emotion. It was suggested that cultural beliefs, gender and age should also be considered in the study alongside other data collection methodologies and try automating them.

Yuki Ueno from Kyoto University, Japan presentation on ‘Classification of Task Performance during an Evaluation of Visualization method based on physiological Signals’ considered EEG, pattern of brain wave and eye blink in young adults. Future work will include how heart rate is affected when a task takes very long or short time to complete.

‘Realtime DHIS2 Data Capture, Integration and Operability as a Potential Driver towards Health Data Analytics, Health Intelligence and Visualisation for Mother Child Health Data in Kenya’ by Sarah Waiganjo , Muliaro Wafula, Simon Karanja from JKUAT focused on challenges in capturing data at health facilities in public hospitals. Most data is keyed in registers and aggregated later causing delays in decision making. It emphasised the need to provide real time accurate data.

‘A Computational Evaluation of Eye-track Measures in Group-in-A-Box’ by Nozomi Aoyama Yuki Ueno, Koji Koyamada from Kyoto University, Japan emphasized the need of effective use of good visualization although it is difficult to know if a good layout is good. The presentation aimed at making a guideline for referring to eye track measures effectively to enable researchers reach findings easily and quickly. The analysis is used for eye tracking data as a confirmation and requirement for further analysis- visual analytics, computational methods.

 ‘A method for Extracting Data Points from an Image of a Plotted Graph’ by Lincoln Kamau, Philip Kibet, Christopher Maina, Robert Macharia from JKUAT, Kenya noted that data in graphs can be deceiving. To address this data is converted to greyscale using a threshold value followed by detecting the value plot and scaling the detected values depending on the quality of the graph in use. Accuracy is tested through manual testing that involves use of original data and output data of experiment. This was done on black and white images.

‘Visualization of  Tsunami Simulation Data using Multi-dimensional transfer functions in HSVA Color Space’ by Ikuya Morimoto, Satoshi Nakada, Kyoko Hasegawa, Liang Li, Satoshi Tanaka from Ritsumeikan University, Japan aimed at finding ways to minimize effects of Tsunami through visualizing tsunami in the Nankai Trough earthquake using fusion visualization and the amount of salinity change and flow velocity to save aqua-culture. The method used was the multi-dimensional transfer functions in HSVA colour space thus hue saturation and brightness as compared to hue and brightness which gives clearer pictures about a tsunami. This simulation can also be applied to rivers and lake.

A Big Data Analytics and Visualization Model for Enhancing Security Within Smart Cities: A Case Study of Nairobi Metropolitan Area’ by Geoffrey Wekesa Chemwa from JKUAT focused on the need for automatic facial recognition to supplement human efforts in this era of terrorism using Hadoop framework which is efficient considering that facial recognition library has advanced and evolving quickly.

The Psychological Perception of Matatu Graffiti on Passenger Attraction’ by Michael S. Wafula and Joseph J. Musakali – Moi University, Kenya highlighted the impact of graffiti on our minds and the acceptance of graffiti as an art. Graffiti and psychology are linked in that people usually form an image out of an image. Graffiti is a concept of persuasion in the transport industry. Results from the study showed that youth loved graffiti that mainly contained celebrities, political and religious pictures. Public transport vehicles in Kenya known as Matatu, their owners spend a lot of money to put graffiti while people like or dislike graffiti depending on their age, beliefs and the likes. Graffiti is a source of livelihood but can also be a menace hence the need for institutionalizing graffiti policy/law to promote graffiti in a regulated format.

Panel Discussions and Way Forward:

The VizAfrica symposium concluded with a closing ceremony in which it was agreed by acclamation that:

  • Visualization is diverse and we should all be part of it and nurture it so as to make each other better.
  • The VizAfrica symposium will be held annually.
  • A summer program for visualization lasting 2 to 3 weeks should be instituted. This can then progress into certificate, diploma, degree, post graduate and exchange programs.

Program Booklet

Keynote speakers booklet

Combined abstract

Vizafrica booklet

Virginia Murray: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

This is the seventeen in the series of short statements from candidates in the forthcoming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 9-10 November in Gaborone, Botswana, following International Data Week. Virginia Murray Chuang is a candidate for the CODATA Executive Committee as an ordinary member. She was nominated by USA.

I qualified in medicine and joined Guy and St Thomas’s Hospital Poisons Unit and was appointed consultant medical toxicologist. In 1989 I started the Chemical Incident Research Programme and from 1995 was Director of the Chemical Incident Response Service. Here we supported emergency services and other partners for acute and chronic chemical incident response and developed evidence informed guidance for preparedness and incident management. In 2011 I was appointed as Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, Public Health England and developed evidence base information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events following being a first author of one of the chapters for the special IPCC report on extreme events and disasters [i] Currently I am  the Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction (GDRR) for Public Health England, which has supported my role as a member and previous vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Advisory Group from 2008-2017 where she was actively engaged in supporting the negotiations

Data is critical for the implementation of the recent synchronous adoption of the 2015 landmark UN agreements of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030[ii], the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [iii], and the COP21’s Paris Climate Conference[iv]. It also imperative for the use of the WHO’s International Health Regulations 2005[v] and has created a rare but significant opportunity to build coherence across different but overlapping policy areas.  In my GDRR role  I have engaged with many science and technology partners in supporting the UNISDR STAG/ ICSU/IAP partnership to make the Sendia Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 very reflective of data needs.

Disaster risk reduction requires a multi-hazard approach and inclusive risk-informed decision-making based on the open exchange and dissemination of disaggregated data, including by sex, age and disability, as well as on easily accessible, up-to-date, comprehensible, science-based, non-sensitive risk information, complemented by traditional knowledge;”

When considered together, these frameworks make for a more complete agenda to build resilience and take action in areas including health, climate and disaster risk reduction.  This integrated thinking will serve to strengthen existing risk frameworks for multi hazard assessments and aim to develop a dynamic, local, preventive and adaptive urban governance system at global, national, and local levels.

To do this we need to measure and manage data. The frameworks must be ‘strengthened [by] effective implementation and monitoring’ calling for ‘a data revolution, rigorous accountability mechanisms and renewed global partnerships’.[vi]

The benchmarking of countries’ performance against indicators linked to global agreements is a powerful way to engage governments and mobilise resources—no country wants to fall behind.[vii]

During 2017, CODATA initiated and led a discussion with data science groups and international scientific unions and associations about the timeliness of a major initiative on interdisciplinary data integration.  Meetings at the ICSU HQ in Paris in June 2017 and at the Royal Society of London in November 2017 produced a report and communiqué supporting a long-term initiative and outlining some of the essential issues to be addressed.   The key priorities for this initiative are to address data integration in support of major global challenges and to develop relevant data capacities across all the disciplines of science.

The CODATA initiative on interdisciplinary data integration is seeking to explore these challenges and opportunities in relation to three specific case studies in interdisciplinary research: infectious disease outbreaks, disaster risk and resilient cities.  I am the lead for the disaster risk case study and work very closely wiht the infectious diseases and Resilient Cities programmes and 1 want to continue to advocate for the these case studies as we move into the development of this programme over the next three years – and these developments are best summarised in this figure below:

To me these case studies provide a concrete focus for exploring the potential of interoperability and data integration through metadata alignment via CODATA. The Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross-Domain Science, Health, and Social Science Applications  has shown that standards are a vital tool enabling integration and semantic linking of data within and between disciplines.

However, standards tend to get developed and adopted within disciplines or application domains with little consideration of cross-discipline requirements and technologies, so data integration can often only be easily achieved within and between closely allied fields. For example:

  • Addressing global scientific challenges that depend on cross-discipline integration remains difficult. The challenge is to make cross-discipline data integration a routine aspect of data-driven science.
  • Metadata support data discovery, selection, access and use, and are critical for data integration.

I believe the commitment to the delivery of these pilots would benefit from active CODATA executive committee engagement.

More widely my current roles include being a member of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) scientific committee,  co-sponsored by the International Science Council (ISC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)  and Co-Chair of IRDR’s Disaster Loss Data (DATA),  and  currently co-chair of CODATA’s  Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research . I am a member the UNSDSN Data for Sustainable Development, co-chair of the recently developed WHO Thematic Platform Health and Disaster Risk Management Research Network  and a visiting/honorary Professor at several universities including University College London (2013) and at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health  (2017)

[i]     Murray, V., G. McBean, M. Bhatt, S. Borsch, T.S. Cheong, W.F. Erian, S. Llosa, F. Nadim, M. Nunez, R. Oyun, and A.G. Suarez, 2012: Case studies. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 487-542.

[ii]    United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. 2015 www.wcdrr.org/uploads/Sendai_Framework_for_Disaster_Risk_Reduction_2015_2030.pdf.

[iii]    United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. 2015. www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals.

[iv]    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Paris Agreement. 2015. http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php .

[v]    World Health Organization International health regulations (2005) http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/43883/9789241580410_eng.pdf;jsessionid=CEE24A3C20CA531AF6EC44F2586BA885?sequence=1

[vi]    United Nations – The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General On the Post-2015 Agenda December 2014 http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/reports/SG_Synthesis_Report_Road_to_Dignity_by_2030.pdf

[vii]    Maini, R., Law, R., Duque III, F., Balboa, G., Noda, H., Nakamura, S. and Murray V. Monitoring progress towards planetary health – International agreements must include appropriate indicators, published regularly. BMJ 2017;359:j5279