Monday, 31 October 2011

Usability Results and Improvements

During October, we conducted a survey over the usability of the ELOGeo web interfaces. The result shows a relative user satisfaction, while it guided us to make some improvements on the system features.

The report here summarizes these findings.

ELOGeo in Brisbane!

Saw this info on OSGeo Community Blogs . We were pleased to see that ELOGeo is getting traction as far away in Australia! See the  details of topics for the meetup of Aust-NZ OSGeo Chapter on Nov 11th at

Friday, 28 October 2011

Open Nottingham Seminar

In implementing the Open Nottingham programme, the University of Nottingham has strategically embraced an agenda of open access to teaching. More details at  

Details of the next Open Nottingham seminar

Date - 1st November ,2011 (Tuesday)
Time – 11:00 – 12:00
Venue - A19, Nottingham Geospatial Building, Jubilee Campus

Speaker: Professor Andrew Long,
                   Dean of Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham

Presentation Title :  TexGen - an Open Source Story


The Polymer Composites Group in the Faculty of Engineering at Nottingham have developed software for modelling the geometry of technical textiles over the last 13 years. The software, known as TexGen, is used to generate numerical models to predict the mechanical and physical behaviour of textiles and their composites, and underpins a number of research projects funded by EPSRC, TSB and industry. A variety of collaborations are involved in this work, involving a range of universities and companies.

Due to increasing requests from external users to access the software, in 2006 we made the code available as an open source project via the Sourceforge website. Since this time over 7000 downloads of executable and source code have been registered, and a number of new collaborations have resulted. These include projects valued at around £500,000 that have arisen directly as a result of open source provision, with another £500,000 indirectly attributable to this decision. Most importantly for the group, dissemination of the code as open source was viewed extremely favourably by EPSRC, and this approach coupled with the collaborative research that resulted were major factors in the renewal of our prestigious Platform Grant in 2009.


Professor Andrew Long is the  Dean of Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham. He has published over 250 papers including around 80 refereed journal papers, and has co-authored/edited three textbooks related to polymer composites. He is Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites and of the University of Nottingham Institute for Aerospace Technology, which represents the Aerospace Priority Group. He is chairman of SAMPE UK & Ireland Chapter and co-organiser of several international conference series. In 2006 he was awarded the Institute of Materials Rosenhain Medal in recognition of distinguished achievement in materials science. He is also strongly involved with Open Nottingham.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

ELOGeo initiative in OSGeo-ICA MoU

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Cartographic Association (ICA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of developing on a global basis collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organizations in open source GIS software and data.

One aspect of the MoU is to provide support for building-up and supporting development of open source GIS training materials. For example through the ELOGeo  eLearning platform for the Open Geospatial Community.

Details at:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Tutorials in R

We have recently had an excellent contribution from EDINA to the ELOGeo repository, titled Data Handling in R: Practical Exercise by Duncan Smallman. This will be a useful resource for those interested in learning basics of spatial statistics.

Many thanks to Addy Pope, Robin Rice and other colleagues at EDINA.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

What Makes Spatial Special

Back in 2007, here in CGS (Centre for Geospatial Science) – which is now going to be merged in a new body called Nottingham Geospatial Institute- a blog was actively being updated called “GeoSoup”! I wasn’t here at that time but Mike, Suchith and Didier from the current ELOGeo team in addition to Kristin, Jerry and James were there as the early members of the new established CGS.

While I wasn't aware of this blog, Suchith told me that there was a similar “special-spatial” thread of discussion there (perhaps because at that time they were looking for the speciality of the CGS). Here is what he found:

At the first, Kristin and Didier start by saying that the speciality of spatial science looks like the speciality of any other branch of science, in the sense that it needs distinguished set of skills and endeavours, thus one may need to ask “What is SO special about spatial”? The special aspect may be found in the communalities of the way “spatial” is seen. Is it the way of finding the intrinsic characteristics of spatiality which is the mother of all specialities?

Mike believes that the most special thing about spatial is probably its “pleasing alliteration”! Besides that fact, he has brought ideas on the highlighted multi-disciplinary aspect of the geospatial science: What’s “special” is the community that has grown around the collection, processing and operational usage of geo-data. This community has a short-hand for discussing the issues and an awareness of the potential pit-falls in referencing and transforming data about the earth’s surface... All of this is clearly important but it is the concentration of knowledge within tight disciplinary boundaries where there is rapid technological/social/political change potentially creates blind-spots in terms of new ways of doing things or new opportunities... The best of what is “special” about spatial is a healthy mixture of synergistic expertise and people with different ways of thinking so as to create lateral and innovative ways of thinking.

I like Didier’s thoughtful view when he says: Epistemologically speaking, spatial acknowledgment of a phenomenon led to a specific branch of a particular domain e.g.  spatial statistics, spatial epidemiology, landscape ecology, biogeography, psycho-geography, and many more, so mentioning something particular forcing a different approach than the “normal” “usual” way.

My own view from reading the discussion is that a great speciality of the geospatial science is that it has provided one of the widest and most beneficial grounds for applying many other branches of science into the daily life. Multi-disciplinary of the geospatial has become evident by this point, since not only it can make practical application of many science domains, but also the practicality of it can be used by many domain experts (as well as public).

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Usability Survey

We are conducting a usability survey to help us get feedback on the E-learning for Open Geospatial Community (ELO-Geo) . The survey will take around 5-10 minutes and will make very useful information for us in order to improve the framework in the future. The survey link is at

Many thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Field Guide to Humanitarian Mapping

We have recently had a great contribution from MapAction ( to the ELOGeo repository, titled Field Guide to Humanitarian Mapping (2nd edn)

Many thanks to Nigel Woof, the chief executive of MapAction.