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The development of innovative and pioneering concepts for geotechnologies and the practical realization of these concepts is a corner stone of the 52°North Initiative mission. In order to encourage student participation, the 52°North Student Innovation Prize for Geoinformatics was initiated.

This year’s competition yielded two outstanding projects. In February, Daniel Nüst, diploma student at the Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi) at the University of Münster, was awarded first prize for his project “sos4R – Accessing a Sensor Observation Service from R“. He was joined by Alexander McKeown and James McHugh from the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) ICT Centre in Tasmania, Australia, who also received first prize for their proposal “Developing an SOS Client for Use by the General Public”. Each first prize was endowed with 2000,- EUR, as well as the unique opportunity to work with 52°North academics on-site to develop prototypical implementation of their concepts.

During a concluding workshop, the three student researchers were able to present their concepts and project results to a broader audience. Prof. Edzer Pebesma, jury member and Geostatistics Community Lead, presented the awards.

Both innovative projects addressed the issue of sensor data accessibility and worked on tools to enable new user groups' easy access to sensor data via Sensor Observation Service (SOS).

With the objective to facilitate the integration of real-time data and historic sensor data in geostatistical analysis applications, Daniel Nüst developed an extension for the open source software environment for statistical computing “R”. His extension enables R users to access a broad range of sensor data sources that support the OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards without having to adapt their analysis program. The user can access sensor data stored in online databases (SOS), such as real-time temperature measurements, combine this with other data, such as historic climate data and compare this data with the help of geostatistical analysis. This new tool can be used to speed up and simplify the evaluation process by making it possible for researchers to exchange and evaluate base information faster. Download presentation...

Alexander McKeown and James McHugh helped advance Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) technology into the world of mainstream IT applications with their SOS client for the general public. Based on the weather forecast map concept, an existing SOS client was enhanced to include the visualization of weather phenomena collected at various sensor locations on the open source NASA World Wind virtual globe (3D model of the earth). Intuitive icons representing the phenomena (e.g. rainfall) in different states (e.g. light showers) appear at these locations. Additional conversion functions allow the user to more easily compare, visualize and interpret the data collected. A user friendly user interface and plain language filter functionality also lower a users’ inhibition to access sensor data provided by SOS instances.

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