Archive of posts

Using the Web in Earthquake Recovery

Some of the experiences gained and lessons learned in using the web to deliver interactive maps to the public following the 2011 Canterbury earthquake, based my time at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to from April 2011 to September 2012.

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Sharing across the ditch

The great thing about open government, is that it’s just that. Open. The opposite of closed and proprietary. The opposite of secret. Licenses allow for reuse, and data, information and knowledge is made to be shared.

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Open Government vs Government 2.0

Australia and New Zealand have a proud history of calling the same thing different names, for no reason other than etymological coincidence. Duvet vs doona, thongs vs jandals, togs vs cossies. These differences are defended fiercely, in a kind of friendly rivalry. It’s the same with open government.

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Christchurch 2.0

To build Christchurch 2.0, the legacy systems of the past, on computers, in organisations, and in people’s brains will not be adequate for the task. We have to upgrade.

At the TEDxEQChch event today, 3 months after the devastating earthquake in Christhchurch, Bjarke Ingels, an architect from Denmark, sent us a message encouraging us to build ‘Christchurch 2.0′. His architecture is based on thinking in new and very different ways.

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Data-intensive science

The reuse and management of research data is becoming increasingly important. Data-intensive science represents a transition from traditional hypothesis and experimentation, to identifying patterns, and undertaking modelling and simulation using increasingly massive volumes of data collected by thousands of researchers the world over. This means more breakthroughs across research discipline boundaries, and more bang for the research buck.

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The four noble truths of open data

In October this year Chris McDowall wrote a post called The Zen of Open Data. This got me thinking, somewhat quizzically, about the relationship between Zen thinking and ‘open’ thinking. In commenting on the post Chris and I came up with the somewhat tongue in cheek ‘Four Noble Truths of Open Data’. So, apart from a hilarious pun on the word ‘attachment’, what am I on about here? What does Zen thinking have in common with ‘open thinking’?

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Making sense of data management ‘landscapes’

There are some fantastic developments in visualising data. This excites me enormously. It is, however, the domain of people who are cleverer than I (or at least much more adept at programming and using databases and analytics tools). One of my major areas of work is on understanding and improving the whole of sector ‘landscape’ of data/information management in the environment sector, with a particular focus on information systems for biodiversity.
Recently the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information Systems Programme (TFBIS) asked me to help determine where the gaps were in the biodiversity information systems ‘landscape’ so I made a diagram to visualise this.

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The data deluge

Next week I’m facilitating the ‘Research Data Matters’ workshop for The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. One of my oft collaborators at MoRST last week asked me whether I’d seen any infographics that represented the ‘data deluge’. I’ve seen some excellent ones on the size of the Internet, and file storage volumes, but nothing of that nature, so I decided to make one.

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What is the (e) in your eResearch?

First eMail, then eCommerce, eBusiness & eProcurement, eGovernment, eDating, and now eResearch. Does simply putting an ‘e’ in front of an existing practice make it somehow sexier, and more now? I headed along to the Wellington eResearch Symposium last week to find out.

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The texture, sound and smell of the digital world – a tribute to @littlehigh

What I loved about Paul Reynolds was the way he brought texture and richness to the digital world. He had a unique way of connecting the beautiful, tactile, physical, and even musty nature of art galleries, museums, and libraries with the expression of knowledge in digital environments. He seemed to understand the innately human aspects of both, and bridge them in a way no one else could.

He understood the relationship between content, people, and place in the physical world, and effortlessly applied that understanding to technology, the web, and social media. He did so in a way that was wry, amusing, and both pragmatic and visionary. He explained new things in ways that were easy to understand, often simultaneously with the excitement of a 7 year old boy, and the wisdom of a 70 year old man.

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Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
Muhammad Ali