October 1, 2010

New data.gov.au in November

Posted by josediacono @ 3:43 pm under Uncategorized

I asked Peter Alexander, Assistant Secretary at AGIMO (Australian Government Information Management Office)  about the future of the data.gov.au data portal used to supply data the MashupAustralia competition. This portal also has the url data.australia.gov.au.

I’m speaking on data portals and lessons learned from around the world on Wednesday afternoon  in the government 2.0 spatial@gov conference.

The data.gov.au  beta portal will be replaced by a  production version next month,  hosted in the cloud. First priority is discoverability because it doesn’t matter how good it is if you cannot find it.

Second priority is format.   The philosophy is to go with whatever is possible (it may be a table in a pdf initially), then improve on it  e.g. with web services.  AGIMO will be working very hard with agencies to get their data published.  Agencies are a lot more comfortable about sharing now they know the sky did not fall with Mashup Australia, on the contrary they saw  the benefits.

Agencies will self publish. There will be 5-10 attributes for every dataset, then links through to specialist portals for statistical or geospatial data (eg. Geoscience Australia). These will have more and different metadata.

We agreed on the  importance of resourcing the admin, blog etc. But there will be a ‘lag response policy’. If you jump in straight away with an answer it can kill the conversation. Better to encourage comments on comments and let conversation blossom.  That’s an interesting take.

Peter has had some discussions with ANZLIC and states. The same technology platform can be used by states.

May 24, 2010

Metadata conference

Posted by josediacono @ 12:32 pm under Uncategorized

I just heard Metadata 2010 is on this week in Canberra.

Sharing Data, Sharing Ideas

Canberra | 26-27 May 2010

This conference on metadata management brings together practitioners and managers to discuss issues related to metadata management, with particular emphasis on public sector data and metadata.

I followed the links and found another event on Friday (an “unconference”) covering the wider Information access policy side. Not a lot of notice but you may be able to get copies of the papers or follow the blog. At first I thought it was an online conference but then found it is at ANU


May 10, 2010

Metadata made easy

Posted by josediacono @ 5:46 pm under Uncategorized

Ever wondered what the Dublin Core was? Metadata doesn’t have the reputation of being riveting BUT the opportunities it gives for establishing the value of information as an asset are dramatic.  This document The Principles of Good Metadata Management from the UK makes a convincing case for putting effort into metadata and talks about the communications/cultural change needed to get EVERYONE in your organisation signed up to creating and maintaining it. For those of us who need reading glasses, the font is a very reader friendly size too.  It is available in spanish and I am trying track down a digital version in english.

It is on a website called IGGI which is a veritable goldmine of metadata and geographic material.  IGGI is the Intra-governmental Group on Geographic Information

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March 2, 2010

Good documentation in 15 minutes

Posted by josediacono @ 4:33 pm under Uncategorized

While the technicalities of metadata confound me I am interested in the people side and  processes required to create it – since it seems to be such a vexed area. Ross Johnson sent me this link. It took about 15 minutes to read and is well worth it.

My browser warned me that this site had a dodgy security certificate but I figured that if it is part of the US government it should be ok.


National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a US government agency. It is a veritable goldmine about the processes we should use to write documentation including metadata and the different types of people who need to be involved ie.

  • Users (current and future)
  • Data Collectors/Providers who collect and processing data. (the wiki talks about observations but I think we can substitute data)
  • Data Stewards who take long-term responsibility for sharing data often long after the Data Collector/Provider has moved on.  Chief communicators with users
  • Standards Experts who assist the above

I get the impression that in many jurisdictions it is the standards experts who dominate the discussion rather than playing a supporting role.

The wiki makes the point that all the above must be involved in an iterative process of collecting documentation, formulating it according to standards, checking back with data collectors that it is accurate and then with users that it is meaningful. It even weights how the tasks are split between the groups (60%/30%/10% etc ).   It also emphasizes the importance of consulting future users – don’t just assume that everyone will have the same level of knowledge as current ones – so important as we attempt to widen the use of spatial data.

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November 4, 2009

metadata – plain english

Posted by josediacono @ 9:10 am under Uncategorized

I’m updating a fact sheet explaining Metadata to non spatial people. A lot of Metadata discussions are full of confusing jargon but I found a wonderful ‘plain english’ explanation. To find out (or to help you explain to your boss) why metadata is important look at the University of Wyomings Metadata Education Project Step by step information with lots of examples of good and bad spatial metadata.

metadata nutritional facts

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