Lizard experience part two

Tags: lizard, nelenschuurmans

This is the second set of four presentations on the annual Lizard day. (Lizard is the water information system I’m working on, so I volunteered to make English summaries of the talks.)

Digital delta - Raymond Ferron

Raymond Ferron is the head of the digital delta program that aims to help market Dutch digital water knowledge and expertice abroad.

Technically, getting your hands on relevant water data is no problem. We can all solve it technically. How to arrange and organize it, that’s the problem.

The current situation is complex and inaccessible. Many partners touch the data by gathering it, enriching it, computing it, using it. Many links between the partners, but mostly not very willingly. So by the time the end-user gets his hand on a report, the data went through the hands of many partners: lots of duplication and lots of unused capacity.

Some of the consequences:

  • There are many data sources. Inaccessible. Overlapping with others.
  • No use of standards.
  • A brake on innovation and science. A good innovation takes a lot of time and frustration.
  • The number of water management applications grows like wildfire.
  • A long time-to-market of new products.

So... the whole mess is inefficient and costly.

The vision of the digital delta:

  • Unlimited data access (apart from sane you-need-to-pay or this-is-private-data considerations).
  • Unlimited exchangability. Lizard is nice, but it should really be exchangable with some of the other Lizard-like solutions.
  • Data systems that are scalable and connectable.
  • Improving the time-to-market and the Dutch export.

The digital delta is a bundling of knowledge institutes, companies and public organisations, aimed at the professional water sector. And... the official project start is tonight :-)

The first phase is 12 months long, aimed at explicitly testing different architectures. And creating a “test and validation” platform for testing the ideas in six use cases. With six use cases, you’ll see that the later use cases can learn from the first ones and that they can re-use software, for instance.

One of the core ideas is to see the water sector as connected with its surroundings. This means relevant to the needs of the end users. And accepting and gathering knowledge, integrating it into the water sector.

3Di waterbeheer - Guus Stelling

(Note: This talk is about 3di, something I’m working on since about four weeks. A great project: live simulation of floodings with a brand new fancy efficient calculation method.)

He showed an old photo (with Queen Juliana and a visiting dictator Tito) looking at a physical model of part of a river. The model wasn’t scientifically accurate, but it was nice to look at. It was very visible. A quote from that time: You understand each other better if the model results are visible in the model.

Visualizing model results is one of the core items in the 3Di project. Using the latest computer technology. He showed an example movie, about Almere flooding:

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Quite impressive!

Calculating the model results is also part of 3di. With a new calculation core that’s both quick and accurate. He showed a couple of examples. The results are way better (and you get them way way quicker) than with older models.

It is time for something new! Away with the old models. The technology is there, there’s just some implementation left.

Lizard: three years of cooperation - Fons Nelen

Three years ago was the first Lizard day. A very nice day with all the “users of the first hour” that discovered they were all using essentially the same system. That’s when the cooperation really started.

Lizard is about open source and open data. But it should not just be a Nelen&Schuurmans show. So it became a real partner project with big and small companies joining. This was presented on the second Lizard day.

The cooperation between the partners and the cross-pollination between the various Lizard projects is successful. Projects and partners learn from each other. There is re-use of software and knowledge.

All the partners got to say a few words. Some choice quotes:

  • Building something bigger and better together.
  • Healthy egoism. Cooperation is fine, but you have to understand the healthy egoism of your partners. You each have your own tools and products while also needing each other at the same time.
  • If civil engineering wants to enter the 21 century, it needs to do more with geoinformation.
  • You need to get to know each other as partners. You need trust. You need to allow the other to make good money.
  • Not one single company has everything the customer needs. You must combine. Does the customer know this? That there’s something like Lizard where information can be combined? From all the partners?
  • Lizard helps keep the whole process more dynamic and current. Which is good for consultancy. Previously you’d have a static paper report about your dredging, now you have an up-to date status overview on a website. The whole character of the process changes.
  • If you are a partner, you should be proactive.
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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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