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The advent of big data heralds huge opportunities

This article was first published by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Prof. Muliaro delivering his public lecture presentation

The advent and emergence of “Big Data” and its related technologies has brought with it immense opportunities which can be seized if a new era of openness that leverages on various technologies, institutional and organizational frameworks that are critical in harnessing data are developed.

This was revealed during a public lecture titled: Openness in Data, Science and Governance,  delivered by Muliaro Wafula, an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing, School of Computing and Information Technology and Director of the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Monday, April, 15, 2019.

Addressing the audience that included the President of CODATA, Prof. Barend Mons and the Executive Director, Dr. Simon Hudson, Prof. Muliaro gave an exposition on the concept of Open data, Open science, and Open governance.

Prof. Mons makes his brief remarks

Characterizing open science as a combination of concepts, tools, platforms and media to promote creation and dissemination of knowledge in free, open and more inclusive ways Prof Muliaro stated that “the goal of open science is to accelerate scientific progress and discoveries to benefit all, guaranteeing that scientific outputs are publicly available and easily accessible for others to use, re-use, and build upon.

He identified what he termed as key open science challenges namely; lack of established best open science practices, competition among scientists, existing credit systems that favour closed science, non-disclosure agreements and copyright laws and intellectual property guidelines as some of the drawbacks against full realization of open science.

Citing the partnership that brings together Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, JICA AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project, IBM East Africa, CODATA and the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI), Prof. Muliaro said, the parties were working closely to promote the value of open research data through organizing hackathons on selected datasets of interest to the public in disciplines such as public health and agriculture.

Leveraging on their synergies, the initiative seeks to build, among others, “innovative mobile and web applications that make access and consumption of research data easy for the benefit of the society; encourage scientists to open their research data for public consumption and use, showcase open data capability in providing innovative solutions to societal challenges,” Prof. Muliaro stated.

Prof. Abukutsa delivers the opening remarks

He mentioned Smart Health Application based on indigenous vegetables data, Children Food Nutrition Formula Application based on local Kenyan foods, and Effects of Mugukaa on Health, as some of the key outputs under the initiative.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, in her opening message said, the journey towards embracing open data at JKUAT began five years ago when the institution established the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD) – which is expected to serve Kenya and Africa as a region, adding that the Centre had already taken its strategic role seriously, making contributions at the national and global level.

Prof. Ngumi further observed in the remarks read on her behalf by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, that “JKUAT is among few leading universities that have taken a bold step towards creating an enabling environment for open data by formulating and adopting an Open Data Research (JORD) Policy in line with the CODATA – led Nairobi Open Data Principles of 2014.”

She however decried insufficient and poor public sensitization on issues such as open data, open science and open governance, arguing that “the tradition and culture for most people has been to be private by default.” Prof Ngumi called for a deliberate strategy to towards changing that mindset.

A section of the academic community including guests
who attended
the public lecture presentation.

The President of CODATA, Prof. Barend Mons, said Africa could lead the initiative to use data at the global level noting,  “data or knowledge is the new oil or gold and it could be more useful if it is shared,” while CODATA Executive Director, Dr. Simon Hudson, underscored the importance of data in implementing sustainable development goals by “creating and measuring data to make meaningful, mindful informed decisions.”

Present at the public lecture included; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Bernard Ikua; Principal, College of Pure and Applied Sciences, Prof. David Mulati; Deans of Schools including the Dean, School of Computing and Information Technology, Prof. Stephen Kimani,  Heads of Departments and Faculty and students.

Tracking the impact of the CODATA/RDA data science schools: the case of the OSG

The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Schools provide Early Career Researchers with the opportunity to meet their colleagues and learn relevant Data Science skills. We actively encourage students to use their learning as an opportunity to create new collaborations and generate new research.

One spectacularly successful example of this is Oscar Arbelaez Echeverry from Colombia who, through links made at the schools, enabled approximately 1.2 million CPU hours [this is akin to having access to a 1600 core cluster for a month] to be run on Monte Carlo simulations. As a result of accessing the Open Science Grid resource, six publications [1-7] have been generated by his supervisor, in the best journals in the field and for wider audiences . By providing Oscar with the relevant skills, he has been instrumental to advancing research in his home institution.

Oscar attended the Trieste school in 2017 (#dataTrieste17). He has a background in Condensed Matter Physics and was working with Juan Alzate-Cardona at the Departamento de Física y Química, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales. Juan is working on computational studies of magnetic materials. This requires extensive Monte Carlo simulations of the materials and is highly computationally intensive, but allows insights into the nature of the materials such as the magnetocaloric effect – which in essence is how the temperature of a magenetic material changes when subjected to a change in the magnetic field around it.

As it was, the research team was highly limited in the work they could do because they didn’t have sufficient access to compute resource and were unaware of freely accessible services like the Open Science Grid (OSG) and how to apply them. During the school Oscar was introduced to the OSG in the Computational Infrastructures course run by Rob Quick. OSG scavenges computing cycles from the vast amount of grid computing clusters available worldwide and offers 1.5 billion CPU hours per year which is free and open to all researchers. Oscar described the problem he was having to Rob and they agreed to make use of the OSG.

Since being a student at the school in 2017, Oscar has gone to act as a helper in the school in São Paulo, Brazil. He is now in Switzerland completing research for his Ph.D. This success story is precisely why we work on these schools – the schools are not just about the materials; they are about building communities and creating connections. These connections are key in enabling these opportunities and successes for researchers in Low and Middle Income Countries.

If you give people access to tools and teach them how to use them, you can transform the research being generated. The CODATA/RDA schools are doing this across the LMIC, one student at a time. Well, 250+ now and counting… Just imagine the ripple effect all these individuals have had in their home communities!

[1] Pordes, R. et al. The open science grid. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 78, 012057 (2007)

[2] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Sabogal-Suárez, D., Arbeláez-Echeverri, O. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Vegas: Software package for the atomistic simulation of magnetic materials. Rev. Mex. Física 64, 490 (2018).

[3] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Sabogal-Suárez, D., Evans, R. F. L. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Optimal phase space sampling for Monte Carlo simulations of Heisenberg spin systems. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 31, 095802 (2019).

[4] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Salcedo-Gallo, J. S., Rodríguez-Patiño, D. F., Acosta-Medina, C. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Unveiling a Scaling and Universal Behavior for the Magnetocaloric Effect in Cubic Crystal Structures: A Monte Carlo Simulation. Sci. Rep. 9, 5228 (2019).

[5] Acosta-Medina, C. D., Alzate-Cardona, J. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Monte Carlo study of the magnetization reversal times in a core/shell magnetic nanoparticle. Comput. Condens. Matter 17, e00338 (2018).

[6] Sabogal-Suárez, D., Alzate-Cardona, J. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Influence of the shape on exchange bias in core/shell nanoparticles. J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 482, 120–124 (2019).

[7] Salcedo-Gallo, J. S., Rodríguez-Patiño, D. F., Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Barco-Ríos, H. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Magnetocaloric effect and magnetic properties in NdMnO3 perovskite: A Monte Carlo approach. Phys. Lett. A 382, 2069–2074 (2018).

Deadline for Applications for the 2019 Foundation School and Advanced Workshops is approaching: 18 April

This post is a syndicated copy of the one at

CODATA Update and Important Dates 2019

This document provides a quick and accessible list of CODATA activities, deliverables and impact from the past year. It then highlights some important upcoming activities and events for 2019:

The CODATA Prospectus: Strategy and Achievement, 2015-2018 summarises the most important activities, deliverables and impacts over that period:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Data Policy

The CODATA International Data Policy Committee has been reformed and invigorated.  Under the leadership of Paul Uhlir, the Committee now boasts participation from a team of global experts.  In 2018, the Committee explored a number of key policy areas, establishing sub-groups for the following topics:

  • Upstream-Downstream: Non-Profit Research Data and Commercial Innovation;
  • Data Diplomacy
  • Model Data Policy Training Module
  • Landscape Survey and Good Practice in Data Policies

Reports, White Papers or scholarly articles, as appropriate will be the major outputs from these groups.  In 2019, the Committee will also deliver the following:

  • The creation of the University of Arizona – CODATA Center of Excellence in Data for Society (formal announcement to follow)
  • International Workshop on Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice, Beijing, China, 16-17 September 2019
  • 20-Year Review of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Other important data policy related contributions of 2018 were:

  • Turning FAIR into Reality, European Commission Expert Group Report, chaired by Simon Hodson, Executive Director, CODATA.
  • SA-EU Open Science Dialogue Report, Report of the SA-EU Dialogue, Simon Hodson, Executive Director, CODATA, was a member of the Expert Task Group.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Frontiers of Data Science

2018 saw a significant milestone in the history of science when the General Conference of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures approved the redefinition of four base units of the International System of Units (SI) on values determined by the work of the CODATA Task Group on Fundamental Physical Constants.

The CODATA Data Science Journal continued its renaissance with rapidly growing citations and impact.  Two notable new Special Collections include Research Data Alliance Results and papers from the Göttingen-CODATA RDM Symposium 2018, which took place in March 2018.

International Data Week 2018, which took place in Gaborone, Botswana, 5-8 November, organized in partnership with the Research Data Alliance, the ISC World Data System and the African Open Science Platform was a major success with 850 participants from around the globe.  IDW combines SciDataCon with the RDA Plenary.  Papers from the conference will appear in the CODATA Data Science Journal.

The major data science activity in 2018 has been the piloting of the Data Integration Initiative, which addresses the fundamental challenge of data interoperability for major, global, interdisciplinary research questions.  In 2018, the initiative advanced with three pilot case studies, examining these issues in the context of infectious diseases, resilient cities and disaster risk reduction.  Major outputs include:

The event held at the Schloss Dagstuhl in partnership with the Data Documentation Initiative was particularly important in advancing the initiative’s approach and it will result in a series of articles about the pilot case studies and the data challenges involved.  CODATA is preparing for consideration by the International Science Council, a proposal for a major flagship programme to address the challenge for data interoperability and integration for interdisciplinary research.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Capacity Building and Data Skills Training

The African Open Science Platform project addresses a number of areas essential to building capacity in the use of data and Open Science.  Information on the project’s activities can be found at  Two stakeholder and strategy workshops (March and September 2018) led to the launch of the Vision and Strategy for the African Open Science Platform for the African Open Science Platform at Science Forum South Africa, in a presentation by co-chair Khotso Mokhele.  A founding members’ meeting will be hosted at the Biblioteca Alexandrina later in 2019.

The CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science have continued expanding: in 2018 schools were held in Brisbane, Australia (June; short version); Trieste, Italy (August; foundational school and advanced workshops); Kigali, Rwanda (October; foundational school) and São Paulo, Brazil (December; foundational school).  For 2019, Data Schools are planned for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (July), Trieste (August), Kigali (October), San José, Costa Rica (December) and Abuja, Nigeria (TBC).  Negotiations are underway with hosts for 2020 and, resources permitting, that year could see as many as twelve schools.

A video about the Data Schools initiative can be watched at; be sure to follow the CODATA website, lists and social media for announcements of application deadlines.

Building on this work, CODATA is a partner in the European Commission funded FAIRsFAIR project, playing a major role in the development of virtual competence centres for data skills.   CODATA is also leading the GO FAIR Training Frameworks Implementation Network which will leverage these activities to 1) refine a curriculum framework for data science and data stewardship; 2) develop a train-the-trainer programme; and 3) design a mechanism for endorsement and certification of training activities.

31st CODATA General Assembly (2018)

The 31st CODATA General Assembly was held at the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana on 9-10 November 2018.  The report and other materials from the General Assembly may be consulted here

The General Assembly elected Barend Mons as President and a new Executive CommitteeEight Task Groups were approved.  Also significant was that the General Assembly approved revisions to the CODATA Constitution designed to encourage organizations of various sorts to become CODATA members and to allow CODATA to function in a more effective, modern way.

Major Events for 2019

In addition to the activities noted above, CODATA will convene two major conferences in 2019.

CODATA-Drexel Workshop on FAIR and Responsible Research Data Management, 31 March-1 April will take place as a collocated event to the 13th RDA Plenary Meeting in Philadelphia, USA.  Like its predecessor in Göttingen, the workshop will feature invited talks and selected presentation on matters relating to FAIR and Responsible RDM.  It will result in a Special Collection of the Data Science Journal.  The deadline for papers is 18 February:

CODATA 2019: Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms, 18-19 September 2019 in Beijing, China:

The Call for Sessions has been released with a deadline of 15 April 2019.

The conference will follow a high-level workshop, 16-17 September 2019, on ‘Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice’ that will examine such challenges in China and elsewhere in the light of the emergence of data policies and in particular the China State Council’s Notice on ‘Measures for Managing Scientific Data’.

The newly-elected CODATA Executive Committee after the General Assembly in Gaborone:

Blog Posts on the Springer Nature Data Dialogues from Participants in the CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science

In 2018, the third year of activity, the CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science expanded to five events, with foundational data training in Brisbane, Trieste, Kigali and São Paulo and advanced workshops in Trieste.

SpringerNature is a committed and generous supporter of this initiative and part of our collaboration is that participants in the schools have written blogs about their experiences which appear on the SpringerNature Data Dialogues.  Three of these blogs relating to the São Paulo school in December 2018 have recently appeared.  These are direct and transparent accounts from three student helpers involved in the São Paulo school.

One of the approaches used by the initiative is to arrange for particularly able and enthusiastic students to return as student helpers: this provides invaluable assistance with pedagogy, enhances the experience of the returning student, helps build the social and skilled network around the schools, and creates a community of future instructors and hosts as the initiative expands.

Introducing the CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science

CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School Trieste 2018.

We have often heard wise heads in the Open Science and FAIR movements say things like the following:

  • the major challenge is human rather than technical;
  • the size of the data challenge is measured in people rather than in PB…

These student helpers are part of that human solution.

Please follow the links below and enjoy!

An old dog learning new tricks

An old dog learning new tricks

Attending the CODATA-RDA School in 2017 as a student was a breakthrough moment for me.

Juliano van Melis

Opening my head to FAIR science

Opening my head to FAIR science

My participation in the CODATA-RDA schools really improved my view regarding what is to be a good scientist. Openness and FAIRness should constantly and consciously be applied as a golden rule. He…

Caroline Franco

In this blog I discuss the benefits/truth of joining the CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science. Taking part of the school both as a student and a helper allowed me to see how the school helped…

Jose Lopez

Workshop “Digital Humanities – the perspective of Africa”, 9-12 July 2019, Leiden, The Netherlands

Workshop “Digital Humanities -the perspective of Africa”-
Digital Humanities – the perspective of Africa is a satellite workshop of DH2019, the international ADHO conference for the Digital Humanities in Utrecht (9-12 July 2019).
Call for Applications
In 2019 the ADHO Digital Humanities conference will take place from 9-12 July in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In the week before DH2019, i.e. 1-5 July 2019, the Lorentz Center in Leiden (also The Netherlands) will host a satellite workshop aimed at the articulation of the specific developments in the field of DH that are taking shape in Africa and their potential to enhance the global DH agenda. In addition, attention will be given to capacity building and the planning of initiatives along the lines of ‘science4development’. The programme will include introductions into the infrastructural support for DH and the most widely used data analysis methods with the Humanities and Social Sciences.  
Who can apply
The workshop will welcome students and early-career scholars from the African continent for a week of lectures, tutorials, presentations, networking and debate. The selected participants are expected to attend DH2019 in Utrecht as well.
Travel bursaries
Grants to cover the costs for travel and accommodation during the Lorentz workshop and DH2019, plus the conference fee for DH2019 can be applied for.
How to apply
Applicants are expected to prepare/collect the following:
  • curriculum vitae, including contact details (max 1 page);
  • letter of motivation (700-1000 words);
  • letter of support from their supervisor (max 1 page);
  • statement on the estimated height of the financial contribution by the participant and/or their institute.

These four elements are to be submitted as one PDF-file.

In their motivation letter applicants should indicate:
  • their research interests and/or current planned research;
  • their digital skills and the DH competences they would like to develop and/or to improve during the workshop;
  • their earlier involvement in DH events (workshops, etc.) as a participant or otherwise. 
Details on how to submit an application can be found on the workshop website:
Important dates
Deadline for applications: 31 January 2019
Notification of acceptance: 13 February 2019
Submission of participants’ profiles: 1 June 2019
Workshop dates: 1-5 July 2019
DH2019 conference: 9-12 July
Links to relevant information pages
Check  for the selection criteria, venue and other details.
DH2019 – Homepage:

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

Try out the Evaluate your RDM Offering Tool


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 ( .

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), 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

Join the Eye on Earth Symposium online: All 36 sessions will be webcast globally

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), as co-founder of the Eye on Earth movement, in partnership with the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) and the Eye on Earth Alliance are delighted to invite all who support evidence-based decision making for environmental and natural resource aspects of sustainable development to Convene, Converge and Collaborate at an Eye on Earth Symposium.  The Symposium will be held at the Mina A’Salam Hotel in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 22-24 Oct. 2018.   Participation in the Eye on Earth (EoE) Symposium is free of charge.

The FCSA, with support from the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, under the guidance of the United Nations Statistical Commission and the High-Level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will concurrently be hosting the 2nd United Nations World Data Forum (UNWDF) also at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

Topics of common interest are listed in the outcome document of the preceding UNWDF (objectives 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 4.1 and 5.1)

Please note the UNWDF and the EoE Symposium are independently organised events.

The Eye on Earth Symposium Described

The Symposium comprises two ~50 person meeting rooms and an adjacent networking area.

The Symposium is a working/outcomes-focused event.  The focus is on progressing the EoE Vision by catalyzing and strengthening bilateral and multi-lateral partnerships.

The Symposium content is provided by members of the EoE Global Community.

The Symposium content is a mixture of presentations with Q&A, panel discussions, and in-depth, interactive, multi-hour workshops.

We plan to webcast the Symposium sessions for those unable to attend in person. Remote participants will be able to see, hear and speak.   Webinar details are listed below.

Symposium Programme

Start times are shown in UAE (UTC+4) time zone.    We recommend using an online timezone converter to accurately convert to your time zone.

Follow #EyeOnEarthSymposium  on social media for regular updates and Symposium news.

The Symposium Programme is subject to change.  Please revisit this page from time to time for updates.

Click Here to Download the Full Programme

Call for Paper International conference – Data Value Chain in Science & Territories

The International conference Data Value Chain in Science & Territories will take place onThursday 14 & Friday 15 march 2019 in Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University (near Paris): auditorium, multimedia library, 2 place d’Ariane 77700 Serris – City Center.


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One of the main challenges, in most fields, is to handle and process a huge amount of datacoming from a large spectrum of professional, scientific or open sources. This data, by nature heterogeneous and generated by people, systems, things (IoT) and intelligent networks, may be handled directly or transmitted by different remote operations.

This raises several technical and societal problems with respect to data coherence and quality, data privacy and protection, as well as the need to develop original techniques and powerful tools for collecting and processing large volumes of data.

In a multidisciplinary approach centred on Information and Data Science, the conference focuses on how to raise, retrieve, and build relevant datasets and knowledge from different fields to manage and optimise data evaluation and also aims at a transversal approach between different domains, techniques, processes, strategies and uses of data.

The contributions can report specific cases, generic models, constructivist and critical postures. Inter-disciplinary contributions, both in engineering or in human and social sciences are expected to discuss the paradigm of data as a source of information, knowledge, and various indicators.


Accepted articles will be published in Conference Proceedings with ISBN  by Comité Codata France in cooperation with University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and Cnam Paris.

Best papers may be published later in international specialised journals.

More information

Call for papers Data Value Chain in Science & Territories

Extended Abstract submission

Submission guide


Release/announcement of SA Draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation – 10 Sept. 2018

Science, technology and innovation enabling sustainable and inclusive development in a changing world

Also see the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (Please share news on adoption of strategies within tour countries with AOSP)

Twenty years after the adoption of the first White Paper on Science and Technology (DST) in 1996, the SA Department of Science and Technology began developing a new draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), which was approved by Cabinet last week. The new document will ensure a growing role for STI in building a more prosperous and inclusive society.  It focuses on using STI to accelerate inclusive economic growth, make the economy more competitive and improve people’s everyday lives.

The White Paper to be read in full, but for now, pages 44 & 45 of the White Paper speaks to Open Science and Innovation (attached for now, until full text becomes available). Two paragraphs from the two pages:

The public now has 30 days to give input, followed by a summit in November. Following final integration of comments, it will be submitted to the SA Cabinet for final approval.