Sub Project 7 - Interoperable Data Infrastructure for RITMARE

RITMARE is a multidisciplinary and multi-sector project that will provide data, products and elaboration processes to be available to scientists and specific users; they will be delivered by means of an infrastructure, built on the basis of experiences of European projects, and of specifications and recommendations from both European Directives (INSPIRE, SPI, MFSD, WFD, Fishery Directive) and global initiatives (e.g. GEO/GEOSS).

Objective of SP7 is to design and develop an infrastructure that allows coordinating and sharing observations, multidisciplinary data and information (and where possible also elaboration processes and models) produced and needed in the various subprojects, without forcing practices and enabling technologies already adopted by the participating scientific communities. It will be a Web environment based on interoperability, in order to maintain the heterogeneity of the project. The interoperable infrastructure is meant at sparing human and financial resources in the conversion to new models and formats, in view of preserving the important sources of past and historic information. In fact, it favours a wider, though controlled, sharing of data and information, but also of models, processes ad functions, thus fostering an optimal (re)use of resources, an improved productivity and creating more opportunities for science, technology and knowledge at large. Last but not least, the Web infrastructure decouples components of the information architecture that deliver data (and processes) with respect to those enabling user interaction: it encourages therefore to develop flexible Web environments, customised to the requirements of different users’ communities, tough reusing information sources to different purposes and uses.

Methods and approach.The design of the infrastructure will take into account practices and projects of the various communities participating in RITMARE, as well as tools, standards and models they developed in their life. To this purpose a first analysis phase will be performed: it will collect on one side the requirements of RITMARE and its subprojects and, on the other side, the solutions already available in terms of data, information, processes, models, standards, technologies and systems. The infrastructure will be conceived so as to try to bridge the current solutions and the future systems needed to reach the project objectives. The analysis will involve as many participants as possible within the other RITMARE subprojects and its coordination; it will also pave the path to a shared data policy.

In a first step the infrastructure will be designed and implemented on the basis of components and data already available in RITMARE, so as to obtain and test a prototype. Its major requirement is scalability tofavour the inclusion ofnew componentsas soon as they growfrom the technological point of view. Feed-backs of the prototype will be the background to future modifications and design of the infrastructure, to be developed in the second year of RITMARE. Afterwards some use case demonstrators will be developed for well identified purposes.

After the analysis step, also the definition of the project data policy will produce a handbook of rules and recommendations; a governance board will be established, in order to rule on data policy application within RITMARE. SP7 activities include also the definition of a maintenance plan of the infrastructure during the project and a sustainable development proposal for the future after the project end. Aninternational conference will be organized to present the infrastructure to the scientific community and the potential users.

SP7 main innovation consists in the creation of an environment allowing participation in the data and functions sharing to all thematic communities of RITMARE, to the benefit not only of internal users but also of decision makers and stakeholders. In particular outcomes and innovative solutions in the field of semantic interoperability are expected, so as to free information now confined in community-oriented systems and make them available to a wider users’ arena.

SP7 will be active in promoting activities of education and technological training (seminars, courses, workshops on softwares and technological solutions) to be performed to benefit the project participants and external users, such as companies; a group of contact is to be created to offer support in upgrading solutions of project participants and to assist access of external users such as stakeholders and local authorities.

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