White House Capitalizes on Web Intelligence to Support New Climate Initiative
Search of the Climate Resilience Toolkit Powered by webLyzard technology
Following a presentation by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the White House released the Climate Resilience Toolkit in November 2014. The Toolkit is a new decision support initiative that makes use of the innovative text analysis and knowledge visualization services of webLyzard technology. It provides expert knowledge and a suite of analytic components to help citizens and communities manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The webLyzard platform allows users to identify the most relevant online content across all agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program as well as regional climate science centers.
The development was led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has been using webLyzard’s web intelligence technologies for more than six years. In April 2015, the Toolkit was nominated for the “Green” category of the Webby Awards – the “Internet’s highest honor” (New York Times), awarded by the International Academy of the Digital Arts and Sciences.
The Climate Resilience Toolkit was developed in response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order to help U.S. communities, businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments prepare for, and build resilience to, climate-related changes and extreme events. The Toolkit provides an online entry point for the public to access authoritative information about the impacts of climate variability and change, with tools to help people plan and prepare. The webLyzard platform powers the Toolkit’s search function, designed to help visitors quickly locate the most relevant content both within the Toolkit and across all the U.S. federal government’s web sites.
Quick Access to Climate Knowledge
“The Climate Resilience Toolkit provides quick and effective ways to access online resources,” said Prof. Arno Scharl, Managing Director of webLyzard technology. “To enable the Toolkit’s semantic search capabilities, webLyzard integrates relevant documents from regional climate centers and 13 federal U.S. government agencies into a single knowledge repository. Automated methods classify the collected content and enrich documents with high-quality metadata to make them easier to find according to current user needs. webLyzard identifies key topics and actors, summarizes each document and determines its topical, functional, and geographic contexts. The system also integrates linked open data to pinpoint concepts that appear in several different documents, which allows to associate and link these documents.”
Toolkit users can query the webLyzard platform for their desired type of resource – funding opportunities, data sets, visualizations, etc. – and group search results by topic of interest. At the same time, communication experts at NOAA can analyze the contained information through webLyzard’s interactive visualization services, allowing them to monitor the stream of new online publications and continuously improve the Toolkit’s knowledge repository.
Knowledge Extraction and Visualization
The efficient design and deployment of the semantic Toolkit search is a testament to webLyzard’s sophisticated capabilities to analyze and visualize digital content. The range of these capabilities is further extended by research pursued together with the Department of New Media Technology at MODUL University Vienna, led by Prof. Scharl: “Two of our current research projects – ASAP and DecarboNet – investigate novel approaches to extract knowledge from online sources in real time. These projects not only analyze news media and corporate communications, but also track emerging stories on social media platforms. A visual dashboard shows relationships among the topics discussed, conveying an in-depth understanding of how the public dialog about these topics evolves.”
This ability to detect relationships in digital content also benefits the users of the Climate Resilience Toolkit. It allows them to freely formulate their queries and then use filter options to narrow down the list of search results to specific topics or sources. This enriches the functionality of the Toolkit for millions of citizens and supports the plans of the White House to foster a more active public dialog about effective strategies to reduce risk and improve resilience to climate-related impacts.
Participating U.S. Government Agencies. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of Commerce, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, The Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Health and Human Services.
Research Projects. Two major European initiatives are currently extending the Web intelligence platform that is powering the portal-wide search of the Climate Resilience Toolkit. The ASAP Project increases the scalability of methods to analyze and visualize big data archives. The DecarboNet Project applies these methods to transform the Media Watch on Climate Change into a collective awareness platform that supports collaborative editing and reveals how information is created and shared in social media communities.
David Herring, Communications Director of NOAA’s Climate Program Office: “Assessing the Impact of Science Communication – Strategies and Online Tools”, webLyzard Newsletter (June 2013). www.weblyzard.com/science-communication