Session: Science Tools, technologies and applications in Citizen Science
First European Citizen Science Conference (ECSA2016)

Changes in the ICT landscape over the recent years such as the pervasive Internet, low cost sensors and mobile communication have had a big impact on how Citizen Science is carried out nowadays, facilitating the access and sharing of data and information and increasing enormously the potential for participation en masse in these activities. This session aims at presenting novel technologies, platforms,sensor toolkits andDIY (Do It Yourself) devices and web and mobile applications that are aimed at engaging citizens and communities in Citizen Science projects. The session intends to showcase the state-of-the-art in this domain from the user perspective and help initiate a discussion among all players involved in the development, share experiences and highlight common issues such as design and usability, interoperability and longer-term sustainability of these technologies. In order to have a more interactive session, speakers will be invited to carry out short live demos of their applications. A short summary report with all the information about the applications and technologies presented at the session will be delivered after the conference, which will help disseminate further these developments.

Organisers: Jose Miguel Rubio Iglesias (European commission), Jaume Piera (CSIC-ICM), Suvodeep Mazumdar (University of Sheffield), Max Craglia (European Commission – Joint  Research Centre), Arne J. Berre (SINTEF)

Session: Data, metadata, quality and visualisation of citizen science data
First European Citizen Science Conference (ECSA2016)

One session is proposed to focus on “Tools, technologies and applications in Citizen Science” from the user perspective, – with a focus of acquisition of observation data through sensors and apps. This session will focus of the observations themselves and how they are stored, shared, processed and visualised. This session will thus discuss various elements of data, metadata, quality and visualisation of citizen science data. Is it possible and useful to have one common data model for a number of different types of observations within and across different citizens science areas such as air quality, water quality, flooding, biodiversity, etc. ? How is it best to share observation data through a common infrastructures such as GCI provided by GEOSS. Data collected by citizens may contain a number of uncertainties that need to be identified, studied and documented throughout all processing steps, and eventually be made available as metadata. These elements become essential parts of all versions of citizen science data from raw observations and interpretations to heavily processed analyses. One important contractor to such element of the metadata is the quality assessment. Often, concerns are raised of citizen science sourced data are that, while there are large volumes of data, their quality is unknown, making them of limited use. Linking quality assessment to citizen science metadata allows greater confidence to be associated with such observations and their subsequent reuse. Various metadata elements describing the processing and quality control etc. applied to the citizen science data also need to be addressed when visualising such data. To support all this, there is a need to develop data and visual standards to maximise interoperability between systems and increase the immediate usefulness and ultimately the end user confidence of citizen science data.

Organisers: Jamie Williams (CSci Environment Systems), Suvodeep Mazumdar (University of Sheffield, UK),  Arne J. Berre (SINTEF, Norway)

Semantics and Analytics for Emergency Response (SAFE2015)
Co-located with the 12th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2015)

Emergencies require massive coordinated efforts from various departments, government organizations and public bodies to help and assist affected communities. Responders must rapidly gather information, determine where to deploy resources and make prioritization decisions regarding how best to deal with an evolving situation. Sharing accurate, real time and contextual information between different agencies, organizations and individuals is therefore crucial to developing good situation awareness for emergency responders. However, with the involvement of multiple organizations and agencies, each with their own response protocols, knowledge practices and knowledge representations, sharing critical information is considerably more difficult. Applying semantic technologies to represent information can provide excellent means for effectively sharing and using data within different organizations. Using highly structured, self-descriptive pieces of information, interlinked with multiple data resources can help develop a unified and accurate understanding of an evolving scenario. This provides an excellent framework for developing applications and technologies that are highly generic, reproducible and extendible to different regions, conditions, and scenarios. In addition, the semantic descriptions of data can enable new forms of analyses on this data, such as checking for inconsistencies, verifying developments according to planned scenarios, or trying to discover interesting semantically meaningful patterns in data. Such analytics can be performed either in real-time as the scenario unfolds, e.g., through semantic stream processing and event detection techniques, or as an after-action analysis to learn from past events.

SAFE2015 targets the intersection between Semantic Web and Linked Data, and the field of information systems for Emergency Response. The focus is on the use of semantic technologies to gather, share and integrate knowledge, as well as for supporting novel methods for analyzing such information, in order to provide better situation awareness, decision support, and potential for after-action reviews. This full-day workshop will be highly interactive, including presentations, demos, poster discussions, group work sessions, and road-mapping activities. We invite submissions in the form of research papers, demonstrations and poster papers, related to the workshop topics listed below.

Organisers: Eva Blomqvist (Linköping University, Sweden), Tomi Kauppinen (Aalto University, Finland), Vita Lanfranchi (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Carsten Kessler (Hunter College–CUNY, USA), Suvodeep Mazumdar (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom)

Realising the potential: Citizen observatories for social innovation and sustainability
Co-located with 2nd International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2014), 24-27 August 2014.

We live in the age of Big Data, yet many areas of environmental management are still suffering from a lack of relevant data and information that impedes sound decision making. A highly relevant phenomenon is therefore the so-called citizen observatories whereby the observations of ordinary citizens, and not just those of scientists, are included in earth observation and environmental conservation. The key aspect of observatories is the direct involvement of user communities in the data collection process: collecting data via an innovative combination of easy-to-use sensors and monitoring technologies as well as harnessing citizens’ collective intelligence, i.e. the information, experience and knowledge embodied within individuals and communities (e.g. using apps and social media). Advanced citizen observatories can even enable a two-way communications paradigm between citizens and decision makers, potentially resulting in true (e-)participation and profound changes to existing governance processes. As such, they can contribute to social innovation in terms of increased citizen participation in governance processes, strengthened community resilience as well as improved sustainability of distinct areas of environmental management.

In order to realise the potential of such ICT-enabled citizen observatories, this workshop examines emerging experience with setting these up. We will examine the need and the potential of the citizen observatories to increase (e-)participation in local governance processes, i.e. changes in the degree of citizen influence in the decision making processes of various areas of environmental management in their local community, and the extent to which this may lead to improved sustainability of the cities or regions in which the observatories are being set up. The objective of the workshop is to validate emerging approaches for realizing the potential of citizen observatories in terms of social innovation and sustainability, consolidate insights into concrete lessons learned, and to produce guidelines for future citizen observatories.

Organiser: Dr. Uta Wehn de Montalvo, UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education.

LD4IE – Linked Data for Information Extraction

Co-located with ISWC2013, date 21st of October, 2013

This workshop focuses on the exploitation of Linked Data for Web Scale Information Extraction (IE), which concerns extracting structured knowledge from unstructured/semi-structured documents on the Web. One of the major bottlenecks for the current state of the art in IE is the availability of learning materials (e.g., seed data, training corpora), which, typically are manually created and are expensive to build and maintain. Linked Data (LD) defines best practices for exposing, sharing, and connecting data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using uniform means such as URIs and RDF. It has so far been created a gigantic knowledge source of Linked Open Data (LOD), which constitutes a mine of learning materials for IE. However, the massive quantity requires efficient learning algorithms and the non-guaranteed quality of data requires robust methods to handle redundancy and noise. LD4IE intends to gather researchers and practitioners to address multiple challenges arising from the usage of LD as learning material for IE tasks, focusing on (i) modeling user defined extraction tasks using LD; (ii) gathering learning materials from LD assuring quality (training data selection, cleaning, feature selection etc.); (iii) robust learning algorithms for handling LD; (iv) publishing IE results to the LOD cloud.

Organisers Dr Anna Lisa Gentile, Dr Ziqi Zhang, Dr Claudia d’Amato, Dr Heiko Paulheim

MSM 2013 – Making Sense of Microposts
Colocated with World Wide Web Conference 2013, 13 May, 2013

Microposts (e.g. Twitter status updates, Facebook likes, Google recommends, Instagram photos, Foursquare checkins) are now primarily published from mobile devices using platform-specific applications — 2012 saw smart phone sales surpass personal computers worldwide for the first time. With increasing capability to interact with social media on the go (using also other small devices such as tablets and even feature phones), we anticipate the rate of publication of Microposts to continue to increase. The consumption of such data is spread across a range of use cases and needs, from emergency response and crowd tracking, to financial risk forecasting, political sentiment analysis, public opinion assessment, and e-Learning. In each case it is imperative that we can make sense of Microposts in order to extract and act upon this useful information. (more)

Organisers: Matthew Rowe, Milan Stankovic, Aba-Sah Dadzie

SMILE 2013 – Social Media and Linked Data for Emergency Response
Co-located with the 10th Extended Semantic Web Conference – May 26-30, 2013

Emergencies require significant effort in order for emergency workers and the general public to respond effectively. Emergency Responders must rapidly gather information, determine where to deploy resources and make prioritization decisions regarding how best to deal with the emergency. Good situation awareness [1] is therefore paramount to ensure a timely and effective response. Thus, for an incident to be dealt with effectively, citizens and responders must be able to share reliable information and help build an understanding of the current local and global situation and how this may evolve over time [2]. Information available on Social Media is increasingly becoming a fundamental source for Situation Awareness. During a crisis, citizens share their own experiences, feelings and often, critical local knowledge. Integrating this information with Linked Open Data, (such as geographic or demographic data) could greatly enrich its value to better prevent and respond to disasters and crisis. (more)

Organisers: Vitaveska Lanfranchi, Suvodeep Mazumdar, Eva Blomqvist, Christopher Brewster