How semantic technologies support the global renewable energy community

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 07:30, by Nika Mizerski

Florian Bauer is the COO and Director “Open Knowledge” of REEEP - a global NGO in the nenewable energy sector. The organization is highly involved in connecting existing data, information and knowledge in this field. By applying semantic technologies, REEEP is establishing industry standards and initiating global knowledge sharing.

Meet Florian Bauer at the Semantics Experience Lounge at SEMANTiCS 2015 and join his talk. This short interview provides you with first insights.

REEEP is a pioneer in utilizing semantic technologies. Could you please describe how and why you  apply semantic solutions?

Florian Bauer: The renewable energy sector is very diverse. Many players generate tons of data with limited resources. Avoiding dualities and creating synergies is especially important in the nonprofit sector. Standards and proper communication workflows are essential. But users of climate knowledge are often overwhelmed by the amount of new data. Semantic technologies create smart information networks that reliably represent a well-defined ecosystem.

REEEP developed the ClimateTagger which aims to connect all relevant climate content according to a commonly accepted vocabulary framework. We developed together with an extensive network of subject matter experts a very sophistacted climate thesaurus which is the foundation of the ClimateTagger. Organizations can use ClimateTagger plugins (eg for Drupal, CKAN, …)  for free to annotate content on their websites with labels that are  automatically generated and cross-link their documents. They can easily enrich their portals with 3rd party content from all providers who work with the ClimateTagger. That way new information services can be generated leveraging already existing data and information.

As an NGO you are very active in (Linked) Open Data initiatives. Which challenges do you face in your Open Data projects?

Florian Bauer: You can`t force anybody to apply to standards. The bigger the community, the more incentives others have to follow. The ClimateTagger generates obvious benefits and isn`t considered as additional workload that needs to be avoided. If you provide smart tools,  know-how and support, it is quite easy to transform the enthusiasm of a powerful idea into an active movement.

You use the semantic suite PoolParty as underlying technology for your Climate Tagger. Why did you decide on this software? And how does it support your business needs?

Florian Bauer: The power of semantics isn`t solely technological. Semantic intelligence must be generated by a semi-automatic approach, a smart alliance of subject matter experts and technical possibilities. PoolParty is a very flexible and user-friendly tool. With little training, knowledge workers can build and refine their knowledge graphs which can consist of controlled vocabularies, taxonomies up to ontologies if necessary. Technology must also be sustainable and with Semantic Web Company we found a reliable partner with a well established product that forms an essential part of our service offering..

Thanks for the interview. We are looking forward to your talk at SEMANTiCS 2015.

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