Posts Tagged ‘sea’

Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea Dataset Released as Open Data

January 5, 2015 Leave a comment

The Environment Agency announced at the end of 2014 that it was releasing the Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea dataset (formerly known as the National Flood Risk Assessment dataset, NAFRA) as an open data resource. The flood data are to be made available under the Open Government Licence (OGL) and provide an indication of the likely flood risk (low, moderate or significant) from rivers and sea. The data are available to download from the site and the Environment Agency also plans to publish the data on their DataShare site ASAP.

Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea

Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea

Important as this latest open data resource is, especially given the extent and severity of flooding in many parts of England last winter, the usefulness of this type of flood data is often best illustrated in combination with other datasets such as flood outlines and  waste site boundaries; the factors contributing to flood risk are both complex and varied. However, many of these other datasets are not available under the same open licence agreement and are subject to restrictions on commercial use and re-sharing. This variation in licensing poses a number of issues for data analysts working to provide holistic interpretations of past trends and recent events, and potentially limits both the scope of the analysis and the audience for the results.

The release of the flood risk data under the OGL is a significant move for the Environment Agency; will this prompt the release of other related environmental datasets under the same open access licence?


Categories: Public Domain Data Tags: , , ,

Crowd sourcing coastal water navigational data

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

We’ve written a number of posts over the last couple of years on crowd sourced data collection initiatives, all of which have been land-based or involved aerial data (for example, UAV Imagery). The TeamSurv project takes crowd sourced data collection out to sea, enlisting the help of mariners to produce better maps and charts of coastal waters, where the amount of detailed survey data in many countries is low. Project participants will either receive a data logger to use with their existing equipment or be able to load data directly from their own navigation systems.

The data collected from a variety of volunteer vessels include bathymetry, surface currents, sea surface temperature and wind data. Once processed the marine GIS data sets are to be made available to any organisation or authority with an interest in hydrographic data (chart publishers, oceanographers and so on).  The charts are available to download from the TeamSurv web site in shapefile format, and the site promises that other formats will be supported soon.

Unfortunately the data are not being made available in the public domain. The conditions of use include the charts are for personal use only and they may not be distributed or reproduced for commercial or non-commercial purposes without written consent. Although this seems contrary to the ethos of crowd sourcing, given the amount of post-collection cleaning and correction the data are subject to, it is perhaps understandable that some restrictions on their use should be imposed. Is it better to have unrestricted access to a lot of data of variable quality, or are some restrictions a price worth paying if the quality of the data can be guaranteed?