JISC Grant Funding 15/10 Cover Sheet for Proposals Name of Strand:

JISC Grant Funding 15/10
Cover Sheet for Proposals
(All sections must be completed)
Name of Strand:
Name of Lead Institution:
University of Bristol
Name of Proposed Project:
Nature Locator
Name(s) of Project Partners(s)
(except commercial sector – see below)
This project involves one or
Name(s) of any commercial partner company (ies)
more commercial sector partners
NO (delete as appropriate)
Full Contact Details for Primary Contact:
Name: Nicola Rogers
Position: Senior Technical Researcher/Manager of Web Futures
Email: [email protected]
Address: 8-10 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1HH
Tel: +44(0)117 3314412 (Direct) Tel: +44(0)117 3314430 (Office)
Fax: +44 117 331 4396
Length of
Project Start
1st February 2011
Total Funding Requested from JISC:
Project End
31st October 2011
Funding requested from JISC broken down across Financial Years (Aug-July)
Aug10 – July11
Aug11 – July12
Total Institutional Contributions:
Outline Project Description
The crowd-sourcing of mass data sets to support research projects is increasingly becoming
a viable and valuable option for researchers. The success of the Galaxy Zoo project
(http://www.galaxyzoo.org/) recently demonstrated this phenomenon. The Conker Tree
Science project (conceived by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Hull) similarly
engaged members of the public across the UK this summer (http://www.ourweboflife.org.uk/)
by appealing for evidence of the rapid year-on-year spread of the horse chestnut leaf-mining
moth (and its predators, parasitic wasps). Geo data and photographic evidence are needed
to allow scientists to examine the progress of this new problem in the UK. Public support for
the project looks set to increase through 2011, with TV’s “The One Show” expressing an
interest in launching a national appeal for contributors to the online survey next summer.
This project proposes to build on existing software from the JISC-funded projects,
“MyMobileBristol” and “Visualising China” in order to offer:
A new and improved mechanism for deriving automatically geo-tagged photographic
evidence of the spread of this horse chestnut leaf disease.
Sustainable integration of crowd-sourced data with analysis tools used by scientists.
Easy-to-use, Web-based, data visualisation software to facilitate crowd-sourced
verification of the quality of the original image data submitted.
Employing the skills of a User Experience expert we will engage with users of the system
and develop tools that will not only benefit the current, NERC-funded Conker Tree Science
project, but that are free, open source, and reusable for future projects that require crowdsourced, research data.
I have looked at the example FOI form at
Appendix K and included an FOI form in this bid
I have read the Funding Call and associated
Terms and Conditions of Grant at Appendix L
C1. Appropriateness and Fit to Programme Objectives and Overall Value to
the JISC Community
The Nature Locator Project 1. Dr. Michael Pocock is an Ecologist and a NERC research fellow based at the University of
Bristol. His previous projects include a post doctorate study of ecosystems in farmland, which
attempted to quantify the fragility of such ecosystems and to examine the benefit that is
derived from them. In order to engage the public with this research, he and Dr Darren Evans
(University of Hull) involved the public as ‘scientists’ in ecological research projects. A short
project in March 2009 successfully engaged the public in this way in Bristol’s major shopping
centre, Cabot Circus, inviting 1100 people to rear 'alien' insects and to submit and compare
their results with others’ online1. This was followed by work with school children in summer
20102, and further funding (approximately £20,000) from
NERC to initiate and develop a bigger project – collecting and
analysing data contributed by the public on the spread of the
leaf miner moth (Cameraria orhidella) of horse chestnut
(“conker”) trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) in the UK, that
data being collected by the general public3. Over 2700 people
entered results this year and the website4 has had 13800
unique visitors since June 2010.
2. Crowd-sourcing the geo data: The horse chestnut leaf miner is a tiny moth that reaches
huge infestations and causes major leaf damage to horse chestnut trees in the south and east
of the UK. It arrived in the UK in 2002, and has spread rapidly5. The horse chestnut leaf miner
is not a proven threat to the persistence of the horse chestnut trees, but may make the trees
more susceptible to the lethal bleeding canker6. Scientists are interested not only in the spread
of the disease but also in discovering whether a natural predator of the moth –parasitic wasps
– is capable of controlling levels of infestation.
More information about Dr Michael Pocock’s projects: http://seis.bris.ac.uk/~bzmjop/publicengagement.html
A BBC news item describing the involvement of school children in the project:
A news item describing the involvement of the general public: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2010/7122.html
Web of life website for the Conker Tree Science project http://www.ourweboflife.org.uk/
The miner moth infestation of British trees has only been observed in the last eight years, affecting the Bristol area
in just the last four.
Forestry Commission article on the Bleeding Canker http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-6KYBGV
3. This summer (2010) scientists Dr. Michael Pocock (Bristol) and Dr. Darren Evans (Hull),
asked the general public to:
Observe evidence of the leaf miner infestation and take part in the National survey of its
spread by completing an online form (http://www.ourweboflife.org.uk/surveymission.html)
with the details. The online form supports capture of geo data (latitude and longitude) by
allowing the Web user to pinpoint the tree they have studied via use of Google Earth.
Conduct an experiment to help assess the natural pest controllers (parasitic wasps) of the
leaf mining moth. This was the first time that this had been done for Britain. People were
asked to pick a leaf from the tree, place it in a plastic wallet, and identify the insects
emerging from the leaf after two weeks (to determine how many leaf mining moths, and
how many natural pest controllers were present), and similarly to enter their location and
their results online (http://www.ourweboflife.org.uk/pestcontrolmission.html).
Over 2700 people submitted results to the studies and the results presented a
nationwide snapshot of the current state of the moth and its parasitic wasps
http://www.ourweboflife.org.uk/pestcontrollerresults.html). This is genuine scientific research
that would have been impossible without the public’s involvement7.
The survey was publicised nationally in several ways (for example, a feature on the
BBC’s Autumn Watch Unsprung8 in October 2010), but among the survey data submitted
Michael Pocock and the team discovered some improbable results; they quickly realised that
photographic evidence would be needed to help verify the accuracy of publicly submitted
evidence of leaf damage.
How will this project offer new tools and thus improve the quality of crowdsourced data? This project proposes to add value to the NERC-funded Conker Tree Science
project by developing tools that will improve:
The mode of collection of metadata (automatic geo data and time data, plus
some user-tagging to indicate the severity of the leaf infestation observed) for
photographs submitted. We will develop a mobile app and mobile website (that
emulates the mobile app for a wider range of mobile devices) to enable members of the
public to easily identify leaf infestation, and to upload a photograph from their mobile
device to a Flickr9 group that we will create for the purposes of this study. This will
enable auto-collection of geo data (that end-users may further verify using Google
Earth if they wish10) as well as time-data (allowing for more complex analysis of the
data) and easy tagging of the data (for example to allow users to specify a level of
severity of leaf infestation). We will also maintain a desktop, Web-based option for
traditional digital camera users (i.e. those not using mobile devices). Members of the
public will also be able to submit data about the parasitic wasp.
The integration of crowd-sourced data with tools needed by the scientists for
analysis of that data. Currently Michael Pocock receives emailed photographs from
members of the public, but this scenario is not sustainable: it requires manual opening
and saving of each picture, only allows one person to confirm the accuracy of the photo
and it also means the metadata he receives is in an unstructured format (i.e.
descriptions of the location and severity of the leaf infestation are simply recorded in
The value of this type of project is described in a feature on p10 of “the Engaging Researcher”
http://www.vitae.ac.uk/CMS/files/upload/The_engaging_researcher_2010.pdf and page 24 of
Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, http://www.flickr.com/, with a comprehensive web-service
API that enables programmers to create applications to make use of Flickr images and their associated metadata.
It is possible for end-users to identify the exact tree from which they have taken a sample, via zooming in on their
location, virtually, using Google Earth.
the text of the email). We will provide an easy mechanism to upload the metadata from
the Flickr group content via the methods described in section i (with links to the
photograph images) to data analysis tools – namely the “R” freeware software package
for statistical computing11, commonly used by researchers in Biological sciences at
iii) The use of geo-visualisation, social software potentially to improve the quality of
crowd-sourced primary data. We will prototype software that offers an intuitive and
detailed visualisation of the data collected by the public on a map of the UK, to help lay
people to understand more easily the spread of the disease, the parasitic wasp
predator, and, importantly, to contribute further crowd-sourced data in verifying or
correcting others’ identifications of the leaf infestation and levels of severity. We
anticipate this will offer a kind of ratings system to allow people to vote up or down
others’ estimations of the severity of leaf damage based on image observation, or even
to correct erroneous claims of miner moth disease (for example in the case of fungal
disease mistakenly interpreted as miner moth damage12).
The technical tools we will build on for Nature Locator: We will develop existing
Mobile Campus Assistant software for i) above. The project team have a proven track record
in delivering mobile tools fit for purpose, using the user’s location mapped to related data. The
MyMobileBristol13 project (finishing June 2011) has been developing photo upload support. We
will develop the Nature Locator mobile app with re-usability in mind – i.e. for other potential
surveys that involve the crowd-sourcing of data for analysis in this or other disciplines. We will
use Web 2.0 techniques combined with use of the Flickr Web Service API and create a simple
tool for exporting Flickr data into R re ii) above. For iii) we will customise STARS software
(currently being used in the Visualising China project14 which finishes in February 2011) to
overlay images on a map of the UK, displayed according to the scientific grid structure (based
on units 10km square), and annotatable by other users, so that a scoring/voting system may
be implemented with the goal of improving the accuracy of data. The ability to browse data by
timelines will also be useful in that there are seasonal differences in the expected range of
miner moth leaf infestation and scientists are interested in modelling this damage over the
summer season as well as year by year.
Call Relevance and Innovation 8.
Nature Locator proposes to support the creation of crowd-sourced, geo-tagged, imagerelated data to enhance the ease with which quality data may be obtained for analysis by
researchers. During the project we will trial an architecture that includes the use of Flickr as an
image and metadata store for our tools to work with, also Google Maps/Earth and
OpenLayers15 (as currently used in the Visualising China software). We will demonstrate
interoperability by using a component-based design to our software in terms of exchanging
data via open API’s. We will also contribute a new extension to the open source jena
Semantic Web Framework16 (currently used in the Visualising China software) in the form of a
spatial index that will improve the use of geo data for the wider benefit of the Linked Data
community (jena authors have agreed with us that this would be a very useful contribution).
We will offer findings from the NERC project’s real use of this architecture and crowd-sourced,
geo-tagged data, and the ease of data integration with research analysis tools – in this case
“R”. We will make recommendations on the reusability of or possible gaps in our solution.
R software: http://www.r-project.org/
Identification of the leaf miner in horse chestnut tree leaves is relatively straightforward – leaf damage may either
be caused by the leaf miner of by a fungus that is easily distinguishable by yellow rings around the damage.
The JISC-funded Visualising China project (http://visualisingchina.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/ ) is continuing to develop
reusable geographical and timeline information visualisation software for viewing collections of data.
Value to JISC Community 9.
We will offer the freely available Nature Locator software tools as open source code to
the community, together with an evaluation of the approach and recommendations for how it
may be used in similar scenarios. We aim for the tools developed to be fully reusable for other
research scenarios where the crowd-sourcing of data (whether by researchers, students or the
general public) is needed, along with geo data – and time data – uploaded via cameras or
mobile devices. The Semantic Web-based visualisation software is intended to be as generic
as possible (i.e. agnostic in terms of the subject matter of the image collection ‘behind it’).
Finally, the development of a geo-spatial index for Semantic Web software will offer direct
benefit to the Linked Data community.
D1. Project Timetable and Workplan
M1-M2 M3-M4 M5-M6 M7-M8 M9
D1: Establish email list, project blog and
Engagement project wiki
Steering Committee establish and meet
Iterative testing of Mobile app for image
Upload and the prototype Nature Locator
data integration/visualisation tool with
researchers and members of the public.
Detailed technical workplan
Tool development – Mobile app for image
upload (includes optimised views of the
Locator tool existing submission form together with
information to help moth-infested leaf
Tool development – Creation of a geospatial index for Jena, open source
Semantic Web Framework for Java, used
extensively within the Linked Data
Tool development – Visualisation of spreadof-disease data using map views and
timelines, together with Web 2.0 tools for
voting on accuracy/severity of identified
Documentation for reuse
Software testing and bug fixing and D2: final
release of the Nature Locator software
tools, with documentation and D3: Final
release of spatial index code to Jena.
Steering Committee develops sustainability
Sustainability strategy.
Evaluation both of the value of the software
and the data infrastructure developed during
the project, its contribution to the NERCEvaluation
funded Conker Tree Science project, and
the potential for reusing this approach.
Final reporting D4: Reports: Lessons learned, findings of
value to the JISC community
Dissemination Final Release software with documentation
Follow dissemination plan to be created in
liaison with the steering committee and the
D2. Deliverables
Deliverable D1: Establish email list, project blog and project wiki, tailored to the
stakeholder community identified, to support development and wider engagement.
Deliverable D2: Final release of the Nature Locator software tools, with documentation
and recommendations for use.
Deliverable D3: Final release of spatial index code to Jena.
Deliverable D4: Reports to the JISC: Lessons learned, findings of value - to include an
evaluation of our exemplar use of the chosen architecture for data integration in this scenario
and the tools we develop to support mobile users in submitting geo-tagged photograph
images. We will describe the impact on research that our project has had and make
recommendations on the potential for reuse of our approach by other researchers and
developers, outlining both successes and any gaps that arise. We will make recommendations
regarding the Spatial Data Infrastructure (as cited in the call text) where appropriate.
The above deliverables and timetable will ensure the appropriate level of user
engagement and that the technical outputs are “fit for purpose”. We will make available the
outputs from this project for a 12 month minimum period beyond the project’s end and the
project website for a minimum of 3 years. The Nature Locator tools will be open source
software to standard as advocated by OSS and the JISC guidelines.
We will use an agile work plan and software will be developed via short releases with
frequent bug fixes, facilitated by ILRT’s use of the Trac (or similar) software development
support tool. Software will be version controlled using software such as Subversion and where
possible we will develop with an “open” approach. Project staff will be available to work with
the programme’s community synthesis project, and to participate in DevCSI activities. The
project will be user based and scenario led and the design of the software tools will follow a
User-centered design (UCD) Methodology, a widely adopted and successful approach to
design, that frames design activities around the goals, attitudes and behaviours of the people
who will use the product. This is an iterative process that places the needs of the end-user
firmly at the centre of the design process. Several of our recent projects have employed this
approach with success, with a User Experience expert working closely with both the web
designer and the technical team to develop software to requirements and with a complete
visual design. In terms of the crowd-sourcing of content we will build on the findings of the
JISC-funded RunCoCo project (http://projects.oucs.ox.ac.uk/runcoco/) where possible.
D3. Project Management
The project will be managed and administered by Nikki Rogers based at the ILRT,
University of Bristol. She will have responsibility for managing the strategic direction of the
project, including management of the Steering Committee, management of the technical team,
liaison with the Biological sciences researchers and their Conker Tree Science project, also
JISC projects/support services where relevant. Nikki will be responsible for monitoring project
activities, the project web site and email list, producing JISC progress and final reports and
undertaking any remedial action required in the event of project slippage or the occurrence of
other risks.
D4. Risk Assessment
Action to Prevent/Manage Risk
Technical expertise is being provided by an experienced
developer. Project management will be by an experienced
project manager who has managed distributed development
teams and complex projects previously. ILRT and Bristol
University at large offers a pool of staff with suitably equivalent
skills in the event of any staff departures from the project.
Similarly, Pure Usability Ltd offer a pool of User Experience
consultants should there be any problem arising with Stuart
Church’s availability (see section G).
The need to tightly manage this multi-stakeholder project
justifies the proportion of project management allocated. The
project will be supported by a steering committee of experts
who will help advise and give direction to the project.
The project remit is wide-ranging and challenging and includes
cutting edge technologies, crowd-sourced data, user interface
development, semantic integration and support to the NERC
project. However we are building on previous and parallel
project experience, the project softwares to be used in this
project are mature, many relying on mature, open source third
party softwares such as the Jena Semantic Web Framework
(http://jena.sourceforge.net/), and OpenLayers
(http://openlayers.org/) map software for the information
visualisation software solution.
Most of the data to be worked with in this project is already in
the public domain and freely available for reuse. We will use
an IPR agreement for images uploaded to the Flickr group
created for this project.
Access to stakeholders is important for this project. We will
work with Dr. Michael Pocock in this respect and our User
Experience expert is funded on this project to assist
specifically with user engagement.
D5. Intellectual Property Rights
All software and tools developed as part of the project will be made available on an
open source basis to the UK HE and FE community, with a license permitting their free noncommercial use and development. We will seek advice from OSS Watch (http://www.osswatch.ac.uk/), with whom we have liaised previously on a number of occasions. We will also
adhere to guidance from the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute UK and JISC's Policy on
Open Source Software for JISC Projects and Services where appropriate.
D6. Sustainability
The fact that this project arises out of an – increasingly common - research need
increases the chances of sustaining the valuable outcomes from the project. For example, we
have had discussions with Exeter University (who are submitting the “POISE” bid under this
call) about how we may collaborate on the field trip mobile tools if both bids are funded.
Furthermore, our use of standards for geo data, Linked Data and the Mobile Web should
increase the chances of software reusability and interoperability.
D7. Recruitment
All staff are expected to be in place for the start and duration of this project. Please see
our risk analysis for staffing in the table above.
E1. Community Engagement
Stakeholders 16.
Stakeholders in the project include researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Hull,
the general public and their interest in the Conker Tree Science project, Linked Data
developers who require spatial indexing support in Jena for improved searching of geo data,
and researchers from other disciplines who may require a similar tool set for obtaining and
using crowd-sourced data. Our User Experience consultant will work with the researchers and
the public as described in the Methodology section.
Dissemination 17.
The Steering Committee will meet early on in the project to devise a dissemination
plan. We will disseminate through the community synthesis project that will be funded to
develop good practice from across this programme area, through project reporting and
software distribution via the website, through the workshop, via JISC events, through related
projects, and so on. We will seek to collaborate with related JISC projects where possible and
we will also make reports and our open source software freely available online. We have a
strong record of collaboration and recently ran the very successful Mobile Web developers
workshop in collaboration with DevCSI (http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/events/devcsi/mobile_web/).
Evaluation 18.
The success of the project will be measured by evaluating the outputs against our
workplan, via user testing and according to critical success factors identified with the project’s
Steering Committee.
F1. Budget
Feb 11 Jul 11
Aug 11 Oct 11
Feb 11 Jul 11
Aug 11 Oct 11
Directly Allocated
ILRT central staff salary costs
Estates – Bristol
Directly Allocated Total (D)
Feb 11 Jul 11
Aug 11 Oct 11
Indirect Costs (E)
Feb 11 Jul 11
Aug 11 Oct 11
Total Project Cost (C+D+E)
Amount Requested from JISC
Institutional Contributions
Directly Incurred
Nikki Rogers, Gd K, 0.30 FTE
Chris Bailey, Gd K, 0.70 FTE
Ben Hayes, Gd J, 10 days
Mr Urfan Ali, Gd K, 6 days
Mr Mike Jones, Gd K, 6 days
Prof Julian Partridge, Gd M, 6 days
Dr Kieren Pitts, Gd K, 6 days
Dr Michael Pocock, Gd l, 12 days
Total Directly Incurred Staff (A)
Office costs
Travel and accomodation for external advisor
Travel for JISC Programme meetings
User Engagement
Total Directly Incurred Non-Staff (B)
Directly Incurred Total (A+B=C) (C)
Total cost of project
Percentage Contributions over the life of the project
Institutional Benefits 19.
The University of Bristol will directly benefit from Nature Locator in that firstly the
project will add value to the NERC-funded Conker Tree Science project being undertaken by
Dr. Michael Pocock et al., and secondly the project will advance knowledge of geospatial use
particularly focussed within the crowd-sourcing of research data scenario. The institution fully
supports participation by the proposed project staff in the wider sector’s geospatial community
effort as knowledge will feed directly back into research projects at the University, potentially
across multiple disciplines.
G. Previous Experience of the Project Team
Nikki Rogers, Project Manager. Nikki is a Senior Technical Researcher and Manager
of the Web Futures group at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the
University of Bristol. She has over ten years’ experience developing for, leading development
on and managing technical development projects for HE. She is the current Project Manager
of the ResearchRevealed and MyMobileBristol JISC projects based at the University of Bristol
and sits on the Steering Committee of the JISC-funded Visualising China project. Nikki holds a
First Class honours degree in Mathematics with Education (University of Warwick, 1993) and
an MSc in Computer Science (University of Bristol 1999). She has worked at the ILRT since
Dr. Chris Bailey, Senior Technical Researcher: Chris is a senior technical web
developer within the Internet Development group at the ILRT. He joined the ILRT in
September 2006 and prior to that, worked as a research fellow at the University of
Southampton after completing a PhD from there in 2002. His background is in Adaptive
Hypermedia and Agent technologies. Recent projects he has worked on have involved
developing a number of e-learning systems - Chris was lead programmer on the eLearning
EELS project for the University of Bristol and a developer for the researcher support
AuthorAID network. He is currently a developer part-time on the JISC-funded Visualising
China project, for which he has been developing the open source “Arnos” software
(http://code.google.com/p/arnos/) to cross-search multiple SPARQL endpoints. Chris also
worked on the JISC-funded Mobile Campus Assistant project, for which he developed an
Android app.
Dr. Stuart Church, User Experience Consultant, Pure Usability Ltd (a Bristol
company that has worked extensively with the ILRT team). Stuart Church has been employed
in usability, web development, accessibility and information architecture roles for the last eight
years. He has worked on a wide variety of web-based projects for different clients, including
The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, Cambridge Training &
Development Ltd (part of the Tribal Group), The Millennium Mathematics Project, The
University of Bristol, The European Union, Becta, Microsoft, BOC, Lexus and Process
Management International. For the past five years, Stuart has also taught User-Centred
Design and Information Architecture as part of the Diploma in Web Design and Development
course at Birkbeck College, University of London. Stuart currently works with us on both the
Visualising China and MyMobileBristol projects and so is already well acquainted with the view
layer softwares to be used in this project. Prior to his career in user experience, Stuart was a
lecturer and research fellow in Animal Behaviour, Ecology and Biostatistics at the Universities
of Bristol and Southampton. He has a degree in Zoology from the University of Oxford and a
PhD in Animal Behaviour from the University of Southampton.
Ben Hayes, Web Designer. Ben has been designing websites and web applications
for commercial and HE projects at ILRT since 2008. He is responsible for creating easy-to-use
interfaces, HTML and CSS coding, branding, accessibility and usability. Through his role he
has collaborated extensively with the project’s User Experience consultant, Dr Stuart Church.
Ben has an MSc in Computer Science from Oxford Brookes University (passed with
Distinction, 2000) and an MPhil in Computer Speech & Language Processing, awarded by the
University of Cambridge in 2001.
Steering Committee, planned to comprise from the University of Bristol: Professor
Julian Partridge, School of Biological Sciences, Dr Michael Pocock, School of Biological
Sciences, Dr Darren Evans (visiting the project three times during its lifetime, from Hull
University), Urfan Ali, Web and New Media Manager, Public Relations Office, Nikki Rogers,
Project Manager, Mike Jones, lead developer from the MyMobileBristol project, Dr Kieren Pitts
(Senior Analyst/Programmer at ILRT, with a PhD in insect ecology from the University of
Bristol), Stuart Church, Usability Experience Consultant and other members as appropriate.
The Steering Committee will aim to meet once every four to six weeks for the lifetime of the