Dropedia

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Dropedia
Wiki of the Month October 2014
Image for Dropedia
Statistics (2014/09/22)
Pages: 227
Users: 29 (0 active)
Properties: 236
Categories: 84
Templates: 94
Forms: 94
Table of Contents
NoteNote:  This wiki is no longer available.

Dropedia is a wiki to help with a crucial problem - water scarcity in the Lower Jordan Valley. Dropedia encourages scientists to discuss and publish their research and stakeholders to make transparent their decision processes. For that it allows to describe the water domain with forms. Also, scientists can add results of data analyses in the form of numeric values and describe how the numbers were calculated.

Vision of Dropedia

In the region of the Lower Jordan River constantly decreasing natural freshwater resources are a big challenge. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) considers social, economical and ecological objectives when deciding over long-term strategies in a study area. IWRM is collaborative and knowledge intensive, but missing operational guidelines and data management challenges hinder decision makers and scientists to make the decision process transparent and research results comparable.

Dropedia describes the IWRM domain in an ontology and motivates scientists from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Germany to share research data and to model the water resources domain.

History of Dropedia

Dropedia was developed within the SMART research project supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project has the goal of developing a transferable approach for Integrated Water Resources Management in the water shortage region of the Lower Jordan Valley. The research partners are from Germany, Israel, Jordan and Palestine. The project started with phase I from 2006-2010 and elaborated work in phase II from 2010-2013.

Main design and development work was done by David Riepl in his PhD thesis on "Knowledge-Based Decision Support for Integrated Water Resources Management with an application for Wadi Shueib, Jordan" [1].

Typical pages on the wiki

The three main pages of Dropedia are:

  • Water System Knowledge Browser to explore the knowledge base by visiting catchments, water resources, demand sites and many other aspects of the water system in the Lower Jordan Valley.
  • IWRM Process Builder to find interesting use cases of applied IWRM studies in the Lower Jordan Valley, both on regional and local scales.
  • SMART - Innovative technologies and concepts to get informed about the activities of the SMART project for sustainable management of available resources with innovative technologies.

Example of how to edit Dropedia using forms for specific entities in the Water domain:

Example of how to edit Dropedia using forms for specific entities in the Water domain.

Example of page for a spring with climate data queried from the project-wide triple store (using SPARK):

Example of page for a spring with climate data queried from the project-wide triple store.

Example of page for a region with add numeric values as results from an analysis computing an indicator about water treatment:

Example of page for a region with add numeric values as results from an analysis computing an indicator about water treatment.

The community of Dropedia

Dropedia is intended to support researchers from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Germany to collaborate. For that, the wiki also provides a glossary of important IWRM and SMART terms and a collection of information resources used throughout IWRM and SMART.

Since mainly intended as a collaboration platform for the SMART project, Dropedia is write-open only for members and partners of SMART.

However, fostering transparency in research and development, Dropedia is read-open to the general public and explicitly targets the entire community of stakeholders in water resources management.

Aligning with the wiki philosophy, any user with write-access to Dropedia is able to contribute to any pages in Dropedia.

Since the project run out at the beginning of 2014, active contribution has stopped. Dropedia remains a useful reference of water-related information and 1) may be continued by a project continuing the important work initiated by SMART in the region and 2) works as a blueprint for scientific projects in arbitrary domains.

Why is SMW used?

SMW is mainly used for storing and querying of structured information about the IWRM domain, e.g., about streams, reservoirs/lakes, springs, wells, municipalities, and agricultural/industrial/touristic demand sites.

As an example, Dropedia contains comprehensive information about the geology, hydrogeology, climate, land use, and water resources of Wadi Shueib, an eastern side wadi of the Jordan Valley near the capital Amman.

Also, Dropedia contains an IWRM analysis of Wadi Shueib to decide between different possible strategies of water resources management in the region.

Other interesting MediaWiki extensions used

  • Semantic Internal Objects are used to store numeric values about regions, e.g., climate values for Comparison of areal rainfall interpolations and literature values for Wadi Shueib area. Such values would then be queried from other pages.
  • Spark was used to query a SMART project-wide triple store with climate data from a sensor database (only reachable from within KIT, the institution coordinating SMART). See in Appendix a SPARK query for the visualisation shown in the second figure above.
  • Confirm user accounts and ConfirmEdit is used to allow partners to register and get confirmed, at the same time hindering spam.
  • Widgets allow to embed analysis applications.
  • Rich Media Extension is used for file management.
  • The usual suspects: Semantic Maps, Semantic Result Formats, ...

Lessons learned with using SMW

Usability and Training

The usage of forms could not be avoided since researchers would not learn the wiki syntax. SMW showed sufficient flexible for administrators to implement all required functionality. For instance, templates and forms were strongly nested to allow users to change only specific parts using a form. However, the strong focus on forms let Dropedia evolve more to a content management system than a collaborative wiki. There is certainly an open question, about how best to combine structure and flexibility/"freedom".

To support pro-active evolution of wiki content, regular tutorials with specific cross-group analysis objectives seem a good idea. SMART members will get familiar with and continuously insert new information to the wiki. Also the benefits of operational guidelines and a way to make transparent SMART research results for IWRM will become clearer.

Complex Modelling

An initial working hypothesis stated that Semantic Web ontologies allow semi-automated IWRM analysis. Although we were able to represent and share measurements of environmental indicators using the RDF Data Cube Vocabulary, estimating indicators still requires mostly manual effort, e.g., copy-paste from publications and spread-sheet processing in Excel. A more automatic computation of indicators will require to formalise relationships between (collections of) measurements.

Import of Data

We decided to only allow manual import to the wiki and integration with other data sources indirectly. Thereby, the wiki's content is exported to RDF, with external data loaded into a triple store and queried. Visualisations (e.g., using SPARK) can then be created within the wiki, again.

Although this seems cumbersome, automatic inserts of data using bots proved difficult mainly because of round-tripping issues, i.e., keeping data in-sync with the external data sources.

Ontologies such as the RDF Data Cube Vocabulary (e.g., see import page [2], see [3] for documentation) were manually imported to the wiki so that the right URIs were used by the RDF export.

Further reading

Appendix

  • SPARK query in template at [4]
==Discharge-Timeseries==
This section shows the available datasets in the SMART-database at UFZ Leipzig ([https://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=16670 DAISY Database Browser])

<spark endpoint="http://agkwebserver2.agk.uni-karlsruhe.de:8890/sparql"
		format="http://agkwebserver2.agk.uni-karlsruhe.de/~dropedia/extensions/Spark/rdf-spark/jquery.spark.datechart.js"
		query="
PREFIX  smart:  <http://smartdbwrap.appspot.com/>
PREFIX  qb:  <http://purl.org/linked-data/cube#>

SELECT  ?entity ?series ?series_label ?time ?value

where {
?entity a qb:Observation.
?entity smart:project_Namedataowner ?DataOwner.
?entity smart:location ?StudyArea.
?entity smart:location ?series.
?entity smart:location ?series_label.
?entity smart:location ?LocationName.
?entity smart:analysis_Object ?AnalysisObject.
?entity smart:longdate ?time.
?entity smart:obsValue ?value.
?entity smart:analysis_Unit ?Unit.
?entity qb:dataSet <http://smartdbwrap.appspot.com/id/locationdataset/{{{ID-Code}}}/Q>.
}
">loading</spark>