Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mash-up Government Data to Save the World

govhack team at the ANUGreetings from GovHack at the ANU in Canberra.This is an Australian Government supported event being held at the ANU. The Australian Government is providing access to government data sets and seeing what the community can do with the data.

I met the GovHack team at the Purple Pickle Cafe at the ANU this morning. I am actually in Sydney for a Climate Change talk by Professor Lambeck, of the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences. The disturbing result from the extensive research presented by Professor Lambeck is that new models predict a larger rise in sea level than those used by the IPCC.

The situation with sea level rise due to climate change is much worse than previous thought. More and more prompt action will be required to address sea level rise than is being planned in current political processes. None of the proposals currently being prepared by government for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen December (UNFCCC CoP 15) are sufficient to avert a global disaster.

One technology we have to mitigate and adapt is the Internet. Because the Internet is already widely available and is being rapidly expanded, it can be deployed far faster than other technologies, such as new power generating stations, carbon sequestration or sea walls. One resource to be used is existing government data which the Internet can make available for climate change.

One area the Australian Government could provide data to combat climate change is with its $100M Smart Grid Project. The government could require the successful bidders to make the data available in real time to authorised users and in near real time freely to the general public.

Some other proposals I put to the APEC Climate Change Symposium in Canberra this week:
  1. Green Technology Strategies education: Broaden the content and add multimedia, mobile phone and village classroom options to the Green Technologies strategy course to make it available in APEC countries at the local level.
  2. Innovation Climate Change: Expand the InnovationACT project to the APEC region. In a one year trial Australian and Korea will have teams of students working online on climate change innovations. Prizes will be awarded for the best project. Teams
  3. Green Certification: Expand the COA Green ICT certification scheme to APEC, providing web tools to ICT green certify organizations.
  4. Protect cultural records from climate change: Climate change represents a significant risk to cultural records in the Asia Pacific region. Many cultural institutions are located near the sea and will be at threat from inundation. The ANU course Systems Approach to the Management of Government Information would be expanded to provide training and resources for government and non-government cultural institutions to catalogue and digitally preserve their materials. Background: Report on a Workshop on the Use of Technology for Museums of the Pacific Islands Region 2005 and Semantic Web for Museums
    Final Report

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