Thomas Thurner

Energy Buildings Performance Scenarios as Linked Open Data

The reduction of green house gas emissions is one of the big global challenges for the next decades. (Linked) Open Data on this multi-domain challenge is key for addressing the issues in policy, construction, energy efficiency, production a like. Today – on the World Environment Day 2014 – a new (linked open) data initiative contributes to this effort: GBPN’s Data Endpoint for Building Energy Performance Scenarios.

gbpn-scenariosGBPN (The Global Buildings Performance Network) provides the full data set on a recently made global scenario analysis for saving energy in the building sector worldwide, projected from 2005 to 2050. The multidimensional dataset includes parameters like housing types, building vintages and energy uses  - for various climate zones and regions and is freely available for full use and re-use as open data under CC-BY 3.0 France license.

To explore this easily, the Semantic Web Company has developed an interactive query / filtering tool which allows to create graphs and tables in slicing this multidimensional data cube. Chosen results can be exported as open data in the open formats: RDF and CSV and also queried via a provided SPARQL endpoint (a semantic web based data API). A built-in query-builder makes the use as well as the learning and understanding of SPARQL easy – for advanced users as well as also for non-experts or beginners.

gbn-filter

The LOD based information- & data system is part of Semantic Web Companies’ recent Poolparty Semantic Drupal developments and is based on OpenLinks Virtuoso 7 QuadStore holding and calculating ~235 million triples as well as it makes use of the RDF ETL Tool: UnifiedViews as well as D2R Server for RDF conversion. The underlying GBPN ontology runs on PoolParty 4.2 and serves also a powerful domain-specific news aggregator realized with SWC’s sOnr webminer.

reegle.info-trusted-linksTogether with other Energy Efficiency related Linked Open Data Initiatives like REEEP, NREL, BPIE and others, GBPNs recent initative is a contribution towards a broader availability of data supporting action agains global warming - as also Dr. Peter Graham, Executive Director of GBPN emphasized “…data and modelling of building energy use has long been difficult or expensive to access – yet it is critical to policy development and investment in low-energy buildings. With the release of the BEPS open data model, GBPN are providing free access to the world’s best aggregated data analyses on building energy performance.”

The Linked Open Data (LOD) is modelled using the RDF Data Cube Vocabulary (that is a W3C recommendation) including 17 dimensions in the cube. In total there are 235 million triples available in RDF including links to DBpedia and Geonames – linking the indicators: years – climate zones – regions and building types as well as user scenarios….

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Andreas Blumauer

The LOD cloud is dead, long live the trusted LOD cloud

The ongoing debate around the question whether ‘there is money in linked data or not’ has now been formulated more poignantly by Prateek Jain (one of the authors of the original article) recently: He is asking, ‘why linked open data hasn’t been used that much so far besides for research projects?‘.

I believe there are two reasons (amongst others) for the low uptake of LOD in non-academic settings which haven’t been discussed in detail until today:

1. The LOD cloud covers mainly ‘general knowledge‘ in contrast to ‘domain knowledge

Since most organizations live on their internal knowledge which they combine intelligently with very specific (and most often publicly available) knowledge (and data), they would benefit from LOD only if certain domains were covered. A frequently quoted ‘best practice’ for LOD is that portion of data sets which is available at Bio2RDF. This part of the LOD cloud has been used again and again by the life sciences industry due to its specific information and its highly active maintainers.

We need more ‘micro LOD clouds’ like this.

Another example for such is the one which represents the German Library Linked Open Data Cloud (thanks to Adrian Pohl for this pointer!) or the Clean Energy Linked Open Data Cloud:

reegle-lod-cloud

I believe that the first generation of LOD cloud has done a great job. It has visualised the general principles of linked data and was able to communicate the idea behind. It even helped – at least in the very first versions of it – to identify possibly interesting data sets. And most of all: it showed how fast the cloud was growing and attracted a lot of attention.

But now it’s time to clean up:

A first step should be to make a clear distinction between the section of the LOD cloud which is open and which is not. Datasets without licenses should be marked explicitly, because those are the ones which are most problematic for commercial use, not the ones which are not open.

A second improvement could be made by making some quality criteria clearly visible. I believe that the most important one is about maintenance and authorship: Who takes responsibility for the quality and trustworthiness of the data? Who exactly is the maintainer?

This brings me to the second and most important reason for the low uptake of LOD in commercial applications:

2. Most datasets of the LOD cloud are maintained by a single person or by nobody at all (at least as stated on datahub.io)

Would you integrate a web service which is provided by a single, maybe private person into a (core-)application of your company? Wouldn’t you prefer to work with data and services provided by a legal entity which has high reputation at least in its own knowledge domain? We all know: data has very little value if it’s not maintained in a professional manner. An example for a ‘good practice’ is the integrated authority file provided by German National Library. I think this is a trustworthy source, isn’t it? And we can expect that it will be maintained in the future.

It’s not the data only which is linked in a LOD cloud, most of all it’s the people and organizations ‘behind the datasets’ that will be linked and will co-operate and communicate based on their datasets. They will create on top of their joint data infrastructure efficient collaboration platforms, like the one in the area of clean energy – the ‘Trusted Clean Energy LOD Cloud‘:

reegle.info trusted links

REEEP and its reegle-LD platform has become a central hub in the clean energy community. Not only data-wise but also as an important cooperation partner in a network of NGOs and other types of stakeholders which promote clean energy globally.

Linked Data has become the basis for more effective communication in that sector.

To sum up: To publish LOD which is interesting for the usage beyond research projects, datasets should be specific and trustworthy (another example is the German labor law thesaurus by Wolters Kluwer). I am not saying that datasets like DBpedia are waivable. They serve as important hubs in the LOD cloud, but for non-academic projects based on LOD we need an additional layer of linked open datasets, the Trusted LOD cloud.

 

Martin Kaltenböck

GBPN Knowledge Platform using Semantic Technologies and Linked Open Data launched

The brand new web based GBPN Knowledge Platform has been launched on 21 February 2013. It helps the building sector effectively reduce its impact on climate change!

It has been designed as a participative knowledge hub and data hub harvesting, sharing and curating best practice policies in building energy performance globally. Available in English and soon in Mandarin, this new web-based tool of the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) aims to stimulate collective research and analysis from experts worldwide to promote better decision-making and help the building sector effectively reduce its impact on climate change. To sustain and accelerate change in the building sector, the GBPN encourages open and transparent access to good quality and verifiable data. The data can be used and re-used in HTML, PDF and machine readable raw data (CSV) formats – provided by a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 3.0 FR) license.

The GBPN Knowledge Platform is built on Drupal CMS and seamless connected with the PoolParty Semantic Information Management Platform of Semantic Web Company. Thereby this knowledge platform makes use of semantic technologies and Linked Open Data (LOD) principles and techniques under the hood. A lot of the available data of the various GBPN tools is provided as (linked) open data under a Creative Commons Attribution license. The Semantic Web Company is responsible for conceptual design and technical implementation of the GBPN Knowledge Platform.

As follows an overview and description of the most important features, tools and services of the information management system.

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Thomas Thurner

Quality energy data released: buildingsdata.eu celebrates International Open Data Day

In advance of the 3rd International Open Data Day (http://opendataday.org/) on Saturday 23rd February 2013, BPIE has now made its online knowledge assets “open data ready” by enabling downloads in raw data CSV format, as well as in PDF form.

The comprehensive open data portal presents facts and figures collected in the context of BPIE’s ‘Europe’s Buildings under the Microscope’ study released end of 2011 (see http://bpie.eu/eu_buildings_under_microscope.html). It includes a wide variety of technical data never before collected EU-wide.

The raw data export covers now:

  • 29 European countries
  • 10 building types
  • up to 18 climatic zones per country
  • a total building stock floor area nearly equivalent to the size of Belgium

The Open Data Portal provides data and statistics on:

  • Building stock performance (energy consumption, envelope performance, energy sources);
  • Building stock inventories reflecting floor area, construction year, ownership profile;
  • National policies and regulation;
  • Financial schemes (333 in total).

English: Open Data stickersIn addition, the user can access country fact sheets and definitions.

The data will be improved on an on-going basis and over time, the hub will get enriched with additional topics and information generated through data exchange projects and research partnerships.

BPIE now invites other organisations to add their data to the portal and grow www.buildingsdata.eu into the comprehensive knowledge hub on the energy performance of  Europe’s building stock.

more information

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