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Democratized Data: Geographical Information Understandable for Everyone


The interest in geodata is constantly growing, whether in the form of traffic data, road maps, air measurements or animal counts. These data are often collected and made available by volunteers. A new research project is investigating how these publicly available data can be evaluated and returned to the general public in an understandable form.

The main focus of the project is to investigate self-explanatory representations of geographical data. Professor Fabian Beck's research group intends to develop methods that automatically generate interactive reports from the data. They will contain understandable visual representations as well as linguistic explanations of the data. While a map, for example, shows current environmental data of a city, the attached texts indicate unusual measured values and explain the representation. In addition, the users themselves will be able to interactively refine and personalize the reports.

The scientists want to contribute to the democratization of the data. "The public availability of data is the first step," explains Prof. Dr. Fabian Beck. "But a genuine democratization of data can only be achieved if it is comprehensible to everyone.”

The project, entitled "vgiReports: Accessible Reporting of Spatiotemporal Geographic Information Leveraging Generated Text and Visualization", is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) over three years. It is embedded in a priority program on "Volunteered Geographic Information".

Further information can be found at: https://www.vis.wiwi.uni-due.de/en/research-projects/