Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review of AGI Showcase: Cymru

Unfortunately with two events in one week and the awards write up this review has been pushed back a little bit. Still I think the last Showcase event of the year is definitely worthy of the last review of the year.

Setting Up
The latest showcase event saw the AGI team travelling down to the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff (which had very helpful staff and top notch cakes). Arriving bright and early after a very sensible pub dinner the night before we were soon set up alongside the 14 sponsors and ready for the delegates to arrive. The conference was well attended with the majority of delegates coming in a flurry of last minute booking (apparently this is normal for the Cymru event but is rather unnerving when you’re new).

And so it begins...
Anyway the conference soon got underway with opening statements from the AGI Cymru chair and keynotes from Ordnance Survey and Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Vanessa’s talk on building a geographic partnership with Wales was particularly interesting given the relatively recent change in the GI landscape in Wales resulting from the creation of NRW. Dr Roberts from NRW own talk was an interesting look at how evidence is used within an ecosystem approach to natural resource management.

After the break I was forced to flip a coin to choose between the two streams as both contained talks I was really keen to see. Anyway it came up tails and I duly trotted up the stairs to stream two. Stream two started with a presentation on ‘Delivering High Performance Open Source Based Spatial Data Infrastructures’ which was a client case study example. Unusually for a client case study however this was quite frank about the limitations and lessons learnt from the project which helped to make it interesting. Following this was a very speedy and succinct update on INSPIRE in Wales provided by Bill Oates. Finally the stream ended with ‘New Technologies for Visualizing Data in the Coastal Zone’ presented by Nicholas Holden. This presentation consisted of a passionate case for 3D and improved visualisation followed by a comprehensive demonstration of the capabilities of the technology including a seamless 3D dataset of all of SW England.
Sponsor Chat

After lunch (which as mentioned above was very tasty) we had the lightening talks. Unfortunately the audience started to thin after lunch; possibly due to travel times, it being December or a perception that the lightening talks were not as valuable. If it was for the third reason then people missed out, limiting people to six minutes really brings out the best in the presenter and we saw six great talks including two very different takes on good cartography tips. This was a really good format for waking people up after lunch and could perhaps be used as a bit of a morning icebreaker in the future. This was followed up by a discussion session on the challenges facing GI which I will not report in detail here as it will form the basis of a rant (ahem) informed observation on next week’s blog, not about the session but about one of the issues raised.
Discussion Time

The event ended with the afternoon plenary on the FishMap Mon project. This is an ambitious project gathering both quantitative environmental data on the seabed ecosystem and qualitative data on the activities of recreational and commercial fishermen around Anglesey. All this data has been overlaid to create a map of fishing type and intensity compared to the vulnerability of the sea bed ecosystem. The resulting data allows for better understanding and management of fishing activity in the region.

This brought the event and indeed the 2013 Showcase series to a close. Fear not we will be back in 2014 with another programme of events (bigger and better). In the meantime keep an eye on the AGI website for SIG events, Geodrinks and more.

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