Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reconciling GBIF NPT communication channels

This message is to inform the followers on this blog that they can follow the next steps on NPT developments by visiting the dedicated GBIF website here.
The rest of the posts will remain in this blog for future reference.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Back from the Global Nodes meeting... a few reflexions

I recently gave a progress report on the development of the NPT at the GBIF global Nodes meeting in Buenos Aires. After the presentation, a long and *very* animated discussion took place between the Nodes representatives, the Advisory Group, members of the GBIF secretariat and myself. A few days later, here are a few reflexions about how the meeting went, which I'd like to share with the community.

1. The NPT project triggers a lot of interest: feedback from the Nodes representatives during the meeting was intense and precious for the coordination of the project;
2. The communication needs to be improved: apparently, several participants weren't well informed about the NPT project. Additional communication channels will be explored. It should be stressed that a lot of efforts so far have been devoted to technical aspects as well as requirements capture and their transfer to software documentation.
3. There is a risk of digital divide between the participants. A special effort should be devoted to limiting this divide, by adapting the development strategy. The possibility for early training should be explored as well;
4. The governance and responsibilities of the different bodies managing the project, as well as the role of the project coordinator need to be clarified. The decision making process didn't seem to be transparent enough;

As a followup, I'm intending to take the following actions:
1. setup a shopwindow website (in additions to the existing websites) giving the basic information (background, functionalities, roadmap, governance) about the project.
2. prepare an information paper, to be circulated widely within and beyond the community, possibly in several languages.
3. setup a "dummy" website to give a general idea of what the first version of NPT is going to look like
4. setup face to face meetings to the best extent feasible to address issue (3).
5. prepare a general survey to find-out about the potential level of pickup of the first version by the community (how many instances would be installed from NPT1)
6. prepare a survey on the technical capacity of the network

Your comments and feedback are most welcome on this.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Updated Mindmap available

If you want to get detailed information on the NPT, in an interactive, dynamic way, you can view/download the new Mindmap, available from the x-mind share space. The map allows you to drill down in the details of the project, and visualize the many facets of the NPT. Stay tuned, as this mindmap is often updated. You can also re-use/re-publish the map yourself, and share with the ret of the community!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

From Problems to Solutions

We've just held our first NPT technical meeting in Brussels. After a lot of care was devoted to capturing and analyzing what the potential users of the NPT would want (Scoping and Requirements) and how the system should behave in many different circumstances (Software Requirement Specification), we were finally able to go into the solutions during a focused workshop recently organized. Considering the extent of the GBIF network, the extreme heterogeneity of the wishes and needs of the community, the fast pace of technological developments and the time constraints, we found that applying a one-size-fits-all approach will simply not work. Nevertheless, the NPT will provide a custom solution which will be fit for many situations.

The NPT Technical Task Force (TTF) agreed:
• To have a phased approach for implementing the NPT, provisionally referred to as NPT1 and NPT2
• That both implementations will be based on the Drupal framework which supports the development of custom community-driven modules
• That both NPT1 and NPT2 will interact with the GBIF registry and the GBIF Data Portal via web services
• That both NPT1 and NPT2 will retrieve GBIF content through the GBIF Data Portal

Briefly, NPT1 will be just focusing on basic need of national nodes that have no IT capacity at all, which will have a set of functionalities allowing nodes to obtain web presence. NPT1 will be introducing the necessary modules to interact with GBIF web services, which will be further used in NPT2.
Encapsulating the modules and profiles of NPT1, NPT2 will introduce a sophisticated geospatial component which will allow nodes to process, manage and visualise biodiversity data directly within the NPT.

An information document will soon be circulated as part of the information package for the NPT session of the Nodes Global meeting, as well as a detailed report for the TTF meeting. Both documents will be posted on the NPT Google Code site and on the NPT GBIF community site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We're also on Facebook

Join our Facebook page Do you want to share biodiversity information? The NPT has the power to get things moving! join our Facebook group, and feel free to join us!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A few words about the SRS document

A Nodes Portal Toolkit (NPT) Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document is being prepared as the next logical step after the NPT Scoping and Requirements (S&R) document, which was prepared during the NPT Advisory Group workshop, held in Madrid in March 2011 and publicly released in June 2011. The purpose of the SRS is to describe the software requirements for the NPT, reaching a level of detail which makes it fit to be circulated amongst the NPT stakeholder, and in particular amongst the potential developers, as well as to prepare a high-level document focusing on the architectural and design aspect of the NPT. The SRS focuses on functional characteristics of the NPT. Data structures and user interfaces will require further specification and development using an iterative, prototype-oriented software development methodology. The purpose of the current version of the SRS document is to clarify, validate and verify the requirements, focusing on the functional aspects. The SRS captures and describes the desired behavior of the end product. The SRS document is intended to be a planning instrument for the future development of the NPT and its potential derivatives.

NPT Technical meeting coming up

A meeting will be convened at the end of this week to delineate some technical aspects of the Nodes Portal Toolkit. 14 participants will be attending the meeting, organized in Brussels and will tackle the high-level Architecture aspects, as well as the development plan for this (extremely) challenging project, after a reality check of the Toolkit's software specifications. This technical meeting will be a first step towards the development phase of this community-driven project. Stay tuned!