As can be seen from the few previous posts on this blog, one of our main focus at the moment is, in addition to trying to handle with all the data that we still have to process, to develop applications that demonstrate the benefit and the potential of linked data. When we obtained data from our estate department regarding the buildings and spaces in the Open University’s main campus (in Milton Keynes) and in the 13 regional centers, we got quite excited. The data contain details of the buildings and surroundings of the buildings (car parks, etc.) with their addresses, floors, spaces, images, etc.
However, these data was not very well connected. We used links to the postcode unit descriptions from the address to the ordnance survey dataset, giving us an general view on the locations of buildings (and so allowing us to build a very crude map of OU buildings in the UK), but we didn’t have precise locations of buildings. We also couldn’t relate the buildings with events (e.g., tutorials), people (through their workplace, attendance, etc.)
We therefore decided to build an application to not only use these data, but also create some of these missing relations, and specially, to allow OU users to connect to the data.
The application is called wayOU, for “where are you in the OU?”. It can be used to “check-in” at specific locations indicating the “reason” for attending these locations, to keep track of the different places where the user has been, declare the current location as his / her workplace, as well as to connect to their network at the Open University, in terms of the people they share activities with. The video below explains the principle of the application better than I can do with text.
The application is now being tested and is made available for download (see QR code below – without guaranty that it will actually work) on data.open.ac.uk. Fouad is going to demonstrate it next week at the Extended Semantic Web Conference next week (see the abstract of the demonstration), and (perhaps more importantly) the sources of this first release are available in our code base.