L McGibbney Statement

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Back to Nomination_Committee/2019_Nominations_and_Ballot

Initially it's important for me to thank my colleagues at ESIP for the nomination to serve as the ESIP Semantic Technologies (SemTech) Chair. SemTech is a community I have grown to learn from, appreciate and very much enjoy working with and collaborating with over the last number of years. Although I would like to think I've learned a lot about the SemTech space (primarily outside of ESIP as an open source developer and enthusiast) over the last 10 or so years, I am always eager the learn from the wealth of knowledge present within the ESIP SemTech community. The nomination is something which I proudly and gladly accept.

I'll continue now by providing two strands of commentary:

  1. The first details what initiatives I involved myself with which aligned with the goals and aspirations of the SemTech Committee over the last number of years hence earning me some merit. This hopefully lays the essentially foundation for my qualification to act as Committee Chair, and
  2. The latter simply details what I aim to do as Committee Chair. This involves in which direction I intend to drive activity and most importantly how we can grow the SemTech Committee beyond what we have already achieved.

On #1 then, since attending my first ESIP Meeting in 2015 IIRC, I was immediately drawn to the SemTech Committee meeting where I found myself engaged in conversation with some of the existing community members. I later found out that these conversation would eventually lead into the establishment of an unofficial roadmap for the Committee at large. We discussed topics covering the establishment of an Annual GeoSemantics Symposium, of ESIP operating a Community Ontology Repository which should act as a hub for vocabulary and data providers. We spoke of the rejuvenation and development of core Earth science vocabulary such as the SWEET Ontology Suite.

Post meeting, when I joined the teleconferences, I recognized the requirement for action to be taken on the things we, as a community, had discussed at the prior meeting. I therefore took it upon myself to make positive contributions, including the joint-organization of the GeoSemantics Symposium. This coming January the symposium, co-located with the ESIP Winter meeting, will be in it's 3rd year an will hopefully build on last years success which attracted some 50 attendees.

To the best of my ability I have worked to advance and grow consensus around the establishment of a community ontology repository (COR) which leverages open source software and open development methodology to now provide a hub for the SemTech enthusiasts across ESIP and beyond. This has included a significant prior and ongoing degree of communication with ESIP Staff as well as core developers to ensure that we now have a stable service which we can provide education resources for in order to increase awareness and growth for the service.

I took leadership in the transition of the SWEET Ontology Suite from JPL to ESIP which has allowed community growth, use and uptake across ESIP members and further afield at the OGC. I have found this work to be very rewarding as it was all too often I used to hear that people wanted to use SWEET but they were apprehensive as it has tied to JPL. What we've achieved with SWEET has enabled us to attract and collaborate with partners from Australia, Europe and of course the U.S. by providing a stable Semantic Web resource for describing Earth and environment terminology.

On #2 my core plan would be to

  1. ensure more overlap with the OGC's active GeoSemanticWeb community. ESIP's activity in the SemTech area should be better communicated to that international audience
  2. ensure as presence at the U.S. Semantic Technologies Symposium 2019 which will bring together the U.S. Semantic Web community and begin forming a stronger research network
  3. continue community development and releases of the SWEET Ontology Suite such that we can grow it to the de-facto semantic web and linked data resource for earth and environmental terminology
  4. establish a SWEET Community Building Workshop; this will offer content from introductory level through to data mash ups, and development activities such as ontology alignment and the addition of documentation for SWEET
  5. continue to endorse and evangelize the use of COR as a top tier linked data server for the earth science community. A technology publication for this topic demonstrating use cases and uptake would be the initial step
  6. update the previous work undertaken by Peter Fox et al. on the Semantic Technologies Infusion Roadmap and Hype Cycle. This is a critical component of us ensuring that SemTech Committee remains relevant in todays technology space.