A major initiative within the GIS Research Centre has been the development of the WISERD Geo-Portal which provides enhanced meta-data for a comprehensive range of quantitative and qualitative data sources relating to Wales (but with the potential for wider application).
It is complementary to other sources of such meta-data, such as the UK Data Archive, the Economic and Social Data Service, EDINA and the Welsh Government. Collaborative relationships have been established with each of the latter and these will form an important part of further development of the Geo-Portal, for which ESRC Follow-On funding has recently been obtained.
WISERD’s contribution to the development of the social science infrastructure in Wales has been as important to its impact as its research projects. It has attracted some £1.75 million in additional grant funding to support such “infrastructural activities”.
WISERD has also made an important contribution to the development of the Welsh Government’s National Data Strategy, especially with respect to the linking of administrative data. Capacity building has been a central part of WISERD’s activities, with an emphasis on quantitative research methods and the utilisation of secondary data sources; the GIS group has contributed to this programme by running successful GIS workshops and training events using open source software tools. A key element has been the development of a robust system of knowledge exchange and transfer involving close collaboration with the Welsh Government and its associated bodies.
In March 2012, the St. David’s Day Group of universities undertook to provide financial and infrastructural support for WISERD. On these bases, WISERD has now entered a new three-year period of activity that will build upon its achievements to date.
In addition, in September 2013 a bid was submitted to the ESRC Large Centres initiative (WISERD/Civil Society) for a further five years funding in order to continue this inter-disciplinary research programme. In the GIS Research Centre, OS have funded a three-year PhD studentship from February 2013 in the area of Spatial Data Usability.
Since 2008 they have also supported research on automatic map generalization and Linked Data work. Other GIS developments include the development of web and mobile applications for West Coast Network Services (£200k KTP); a Web-based client for KestrelID; AHRC Connected Communities Programme (£33k) study of connectivity of minority communities with Universities of Cardiff and Swansea and minority advocacy groups such as Disability Wales and RNIB Cymru.