Reading research to help improve the world's environmental data
Release Date 01 March 2011
The University of Reading is part of a European project to improve the use of environmental information to ensure the correct global policy decisions are made on issues such as climate change and catastrophic events.
The £3.5 million research project will ensure that the users of the data have the information they require concerning the quality of the various available sources. Thus, when a catastrophic event occurs, such as the New Zealand earthquake, users can make confident and properly-informed decisions about which information they should use to reduce the disaster's impact.
The three-year GeoViQua project is led by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) in Catalonia with partners in France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands as well as the UK, and the European Space Agency. GeoViQua will contribute to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), through which its results will be put into action.
The goal of GEOSS is to provide decision-support tools to a variety of users, through which decision-makers can access information from huge and diverse observing systems and data repositories around the world, directly addressing several areas of societal benefit, including climate, biodiversity, agriculture, energy and health.
Reading researchers are leading the visualization tasks within GeoViQua and will be surveying various end users in academia, agencies and industry to ascertain their requirements and provide them with the tools to gather and visualize information about data quality. Information about quality will be provided through a diverse set of end-user tools, from professional Geographic Information Systems, through ‘consumer' tools such as websites and Google Earth, to mobile devices, including tablets and phones.
Dr Jon Blower, Technical Director at the University's Reading e-Science Centre, said: "The results of the project will have a global impact, improving decision-making and helping to address global problems like climate change, catastrophic events or loss of biodiversity. Most problems in these areas rely on the synthesis of many diverse sources of data and it is extremely important that users are aware of the quality of the datasets, how they were produced, and what their strengths and weaknesses are for a particular situation. Unfortunately, this vital information is not currently always available and that is what we will address in this project."
For more information please contact Rona Cheeseman, press officer, on 0118 378 7388 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors
Reading e-Science Centre specialises in environmental e-science with particular expertise in geographical data visualization on the web. It develops and applies new and innovative tools for visualizing and fusing diverse sources of data using interactive techniques, helping to drive scientific discoveries.
The Reading e-Science Centre also represents Reading in the e-Research South consortium (with the University of Oxford, University of Southampton and the Science and Technology Facilities Council e-Science department) which is creating a sustainable e-Research platform across the South of England.