Brandon Whitehead Candidate Statement 2022

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Brandon Whitehead, Senior Researcher -- Environmental Data Science at Manaaki Whenua -- Landcare Research, Candidate for Semantic Technologies Chair


Brandon is a Senior Researcher in Environmental Data Science at Manaaki Whenua -- Landcare Research in New Zealand. His current work is focused on building vocabularies and semantic models striving to reflect domain knowledge of soil scientists as well as New Zealand land use and land cover categories and process models. He is passionate about capturing and applying rich Earth and Environmental domain models for machine aided reasoning and discovery, and feels oddly compelled to increase the utility of the SWEET ontology.

Statement of Interest:

I have been involved with ESIP since 2015 when I was a Semantic Web Cluster Fellow and have continued my involvement, as time permits, with what is now the Semantic Technologies Committee as well as Semantic Harmonization Cluster and lurking on several other clusters. I am one of the original founders of EarthArXiv, and serve as co-chair of the Soil Ontology and Informatics Cluster.

There is massive opportunity within ESIP to share knowledge and align seemingly disparate streams of work under a more holistic view, of which data and domain semantics and standards, as well as the semantic technologies that support them, are a crucial component. There is, however, a gap in some practical aspects of semantic integration. The engineering of artifacts which are both scientifically and technologically innovative hold obvious significance, but developing best practices, patterns, training and outreach are just as important. If I am able to continue as chair, I will build on the previous work laying the foundation for cross-cluster collaboration and building a searchable catalog of semantic resources for the Earth and Environment.