Monday, 28 February 2011

ELOGeo at the end of the first month

Now it is a month after the project has started. Looking at the back, these are the activities in the "project initiation" task:

  • Initiating and updating of the project web resources: Website, wiki (to be updated soon) and blog.
  • Introducing the project to a wide community of interested people and organizations: During this month the project announcement has attracted many interests around the world from universities, institutions and individuals who are ready to share their experiences and knowledge in the development of ELOGeo. We have proudly found ourselves among tens of interested collaborators who are ready to be part of the e-learning community that will be developed in this project. Some of the main collaborators of ELOGeo that has been in contact so far are:
  • Collecting the available resources: As a part of the the first month's tasks, we have started collecting the available online and offline course materials that can be reused within ELOGeo. Some of the main reusable resources that can be adopted for ELOGeo are:
  • Open Source
  • Open Standards
  • Open Data

Project Plan Post 7: Budget

The ELOGeo budget mainly consists of the staff payments for 1.1 FTE (9 months research at the University of Nottingham and 4 months research at the University of Manchester over the period of 9 months between February and October 2011). Travel costs and other expenses will become about 2% of the whole budget. The partner institutions will participate by 20% of the project cost and JISC by 80%.

The grant will be managed by Prof. Mike Jackson at the University of Nottingham.

Project Plan 6: Projected Timeline, Workplan & Overall Project Methodology

  • This is written in Microsoft Project. It can also be seen freely by MS Project viewers like Moos Project Viewer
  • In the project plan, "AP" and "SA" and "KK" mean the three project actors: Amir Pourabdollah (the University of Nottingahm), Suchith Anand (the University of Nottingahm) and Kamie Kitmitto (The University of Manchester) respectively.
  • A pdf version of the plan is also available here. 
  • The management methodology to follow in this project is Prince2 

Project Plan 5: Project Team Relationships and End User Engagement

The existence of this ELOGeo will provide a ground for engaging experts from the geospatial community as well as users of the data by sharing their knowledge. Moreover, the engagement will also be supported by the CGS scientific and educational activities, including:

Conferences: As mentioned above, CGS has held the Open-Source GIS conference in 2009 and 2010 and is going to continue this in the coming years. Those conferences have a focus on open-source GIS research, on bringing together different stakeholders in open-source GIS from academic, governments and private sectors, as well as organizing workshops and short courses in teaching open GIS services. This can help promote this project to the geospatial community.

Courses: In addition to the Open Data Master Classes which have been organized by CGS (described above), The Centre is a partner of the Open-source Opportunities in GIS International Summer School 2010. This program acts as a platform for free and opens source geospatial teaching, learning and collaboration for students and provides practical and hands on experience to the participants in the use of free and open source geospatial software. This project can not only take the experiences of these courses into action, but also provide grounds for future similar trainings, in which Landmap will provide assistance with through supporting and marketing these training events.

Project Plan 4: IPR (Licensing for Content, Source Code and Data)

ELOGeo outputs are reusable under Creative Commons Licensing in order to support the open geospatial community. Moreover, ELOGeo project encourages using open resources (data, software and standards) and will itself reuse other resources that are freely published around the world.

Project Plan 3: Risk Analysis and Success Plan

ELOGeo main risks and how to manage them are as follows:

1- Licensing/Right Conflicts: ELOGeo has aimed using open (under creative-common license) resources to develop and/or adopt its e-learning framework. The risk is that some of the materials are mistaken from non-open sources, so the project must deal with this by eliminating whatever is taken wrongly and try to resolve the issue with the right owner. This may not affect on the project timing. The very unlikely case is when ELOGeo cannot access to enough materials just because they are not free to use. In this case the search for alternative open materials as well as trying to develop courses from scratch shall be emphasized. This may make the task 4 longer so the project has to be shorten in tasks 5 and 6 in order to meet the deadlines. (Prevention + Reduction)

2- Delayed Users Response: In task 2, if collecting some of the users' requirements takes more than the planned time, the project will not be delayed in the consequent tasks and the development will be started with whatever collected requirements are available at the end of task. The remaining requirements may arrive after task 2 and will be reflected while developing of tasks 3,4,5 and 6. (Acceptance + Reduction)

3- Mismatched Courses for Publishing: In the unlikely event of problems in adopting the developed courses in CGS to be fitted into Mimas/Landmap e-learning environment, the issue will be tried to be solved firstly by technical advice from both sides, and secondly by relying on the alternative consultancies (e.g. the University of Nottingham's el@n ) and alternative course repositories (e.g. Open-source Geospatial Foundation's Education Repository ) (Prevention + Acceptance)

Project Plan 2: Wider Benefits to Sector & Achievements for Host Institution

ELOGeo has targetted the promotion of using open data, software and standards in geospatial workers. This is a wide community of researchers, students, public sector services and policy makers that will benefit from accessing to open resources to accomplish their tasks and ELOGeo will provide a framework for increasing the skills of working with such resources.

CGS (from the University of Nottingham) and Mimas (from the University of Manchester) will also benefit from developing ELOGeo. CGS -by its past activities in open GIS field- has been already known to be a knowledge hub for open geospatial community and by this project, CGS portfolio in this field will be more strongly established. Mimas -together with Landmap activities- is also known for promoting GIS courses and providing distant learning so Mimas will benefit from ELOGeo development by enriching its e-learning knowledge repository and by extending its service to a wider range of audiences.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Project Plan 1: Aims, Objectives and Final Output(s) of ELOGeo

Today many aspects of geospatial science including information, standards and tools are created and developed as "open". The effect of this openness is not only the free access but also the spreading of knowledge and responsibility to the whole community: The users can also be creators and developers, thus the open geospatial community requires educated and informed users.

The objective of this project is to enable the wider community (not just GIS experts) to make use of open source geospatial tools for solving real world problems. Currently, there is a big learning curve for new users to understand and use these technologies and if a general take-up of them is to be achieved it is necessary that an open, interactive, user friendly learning framework is developed based on case study examples.

The outcome of ELOGeo is an organized collection of e-learning courses in different media types, adopted from the reusable materials of the project collaborators. We will collaborate with the Landmap Service - Mimas which has a well established Learning Zone for delivering the e-learning courses. Landmap will provide a hosting platform to maintain the materials a the new e-learning content to the wider community. So the additional longer term outcome will be an open virtual community of teachers/learners in the open geospatial science.

We will also be building OSGeo case studies -i.e. training examples- for open data, open standards building upon content available at Open-source Geospatial Foundation's Education Repository and making the content available to all and back to OSGeo Educational Repository. The project outputs are reusable under Creative Commons Licensing in order to support the open geospatial community.

What is ELOGeo?

ELOGeo is an e-Learning Framework for Using Geospatial Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards.

The ELOGeo project is a JISC-funded project based at the Centre for Geospatial Science, the University of Nottingham in partnership with the Mimas Centre of Excellence at the University of Manchester.
This project addresses the provision of infrastructure for education, transfer of knowledge and training users and researchers on the effective use of open geospatial services, by providing a set of methodologies, tools and materials. The courses target the researchers, non-geospatial experts and general public who want to use open data, standards and tools.

More details can be found on