Semantic Delivery of Local Government Information
The Portal beta site is the first example (for the whole Local Government sector in Ireland) of what
is possible to achieve with semantic web technologies, which will evolve over time as we add more services and data.
As the key to the longevity and success of any Portal is content and content management the
priority areas of the project are the delivery of a suitable taxonomy that all content will adhere to
and that encompasses all areas of local authority business, or can be adapted to over time.
The second priority is the delivery of a service catalogue, where XML technology is used to define all
of the services delivered by the Local Authorities and then used across the whole Portal to allow
similar services to be presented together by the system
The Service Catalogue allows for service mapping across all projects where we can join up services as
they are all being described and delivered against a common catalogue. A common catalogue is in
use across Portal, GIS, Open Data, Social Media and Content Management Systems this (over time as
it is adapted) allows the citizen to browse through equivalent services by Local Authority.
The Portal has been designed with Open Data integral to the design. All of the services are mapped
to a common service catalogue as described above, but also, as data associated with the services
becomes available it will be provided as a RDFa or Microdata feed eventually as a SPARQL endpoint.
While this wasn't a deliverable for Phase 1, all of the GIS data on the map is available as Microdata.
The main benefit of this approach is so that App Developers, Open Data Developers, etc can write
applications directly against the portal API and SPARQL endpoints and use the native XML services
provided to use the data in their own ways.
The common deliverable here is a common GIS backend installed and hosted by the LGMA. This
common backend allows data to be published to a common catalogue. An initial (limited) example of
this is available on the Portal, using a small number of datasets – this will grow as we use common
schemas for publishing common data. The type and range of data and standards that are published
are not constrained by a decision of any authority to any particular technology. The server can then
publish data to an IDSI standard, Inspire standard or to Open Data formats as required, without
having to rework or gather the raw data again.
Other Local Government Initiatives
The portal will include other Local Government Initiatives, FixYourStreet, MyPlan, CheckTheRegister,
common events and Open Data. It isn’t possible at this stage to integrate them as part of the service
catalogue but future versions will integrate mapping, register services, events, etc as part of the
overall service delivery catalogue.