De eerste Algemene Ledenvergadering van 2019 van de vereniging Open Nederland vindt vanmiddag plaats. Met al meer leden dan we voor dit jaar beoogden, kijk ik uit naar een bruikbare sessie. Als penningmeester heb ik nog niet veel te doen gehad behalve de basics zoals handelsregister, bankrekening en btw-nummer. Daar gaan we hopelijk de rest van het jaar verandering in brengen. Met ons nieuwe kantoor in het centrum van Utrecht zijn we als The Green Land gastheer voor de ledenvergadering.

Open Nederland heeft een eerste podcast geproduceerd. Sebastiaan ter Burg is de gastheer en Maarten Brinkerink deed de productie en muziek.

In de Open Nederland podcast komen mensen aan het woord komen die kennis en creativiteit delen om een eerlijke, toegankelijke en innovatieve wereld te bouwen. In deze eerste aflevering gaat het over open in verschillende domeinen, zoals open overheid en open onderwijs, en hoe deze op elkaar aansluiten.

De gasten in deze aflevering zijn:

  • Wilma Haan, algemeen directeur van de Open State Foundation,
  • Jan-Bart de Vreede, domeinmanager leermiddelen en metadata van Kennisnet en
  • Maarten Zeinstra van Vereniging Open Nederland en Chapter Lead van Creative Commons Nederland.

(full disclosure: ik ben zowel bestuurslid van Open Nederland als bestuursvoorzitter van Open State Foundation, waarvan CEO Wilma Haan in deze podcast deelneemt.)

Where German Easter fires burn on Saturday evening, Dutch Easter fires burn on Easter Sunday. So this Easter Monday morning it’s time to look at the second spike of PM10 pollution in the air. The smell in the garden is as strong as yesterday.

The sensor grid shows a much more muted picture this morning. First the same sensors as I looked at yesterday.

Ter Apel (on the German border, have their own fire on Sunday evening, had an extreme reading after the German fires), shows twice the norm. Still a high outlier, but it pales in comparison to the 5 times the norm reading a day earlier. The peak also dissipates more quickly.

Upwind from us, in the Flevo polders, it is a similar picture, a less distinct peak than yesterday but still well above twice the norm.

And near us in Utrecht the readings are actually about the same as yesterday. That matches with my perception that the smell around our house is about the same as yesterday. It also implies that though yesterdays fires were much closer, they were perhaps less in numbers (some were cancelled due to drought) or intensity, or they weren’t actually as neatly upwind from us as the German fires and passed to the south of us.

The latter seems to be borne out by readings from some of the other sensors.
First Eibergen, on the border between the Twente and Achterhoek regions, an area with lots of Easter fires.

Eibergen shows a higher peak due to the Sunday fires than the day before, yet both peaks are in the same range at 2 to 2.5 times the norm.

South and east of the region we see similar patterns.
In Nijmegen more southern, the peak is higher than the day before, because they were not downwind of many German fires.

On the Veluwe, which is more eastern and closer to us, the peak is again lower than the day before yet still distinct.

Overall the pollution of Sunday’s fires is less visible across the Netherlands. Where Saturday’s fires made sensors go into the red from the north-eastern border, southwesterly across the country to Amsterdam, for Sunday’s fires such a clear corridor doesn’t show.

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16 (photo by Matthieu Sévère, license CC-BY)

A regular week with increasingly nice weather in which I

  • Had a meeting with the National Archive’s open data team
  • Discussed potential training products/services with our new employee Sara
  • Worked on our open data project for a province
  • Discussed organising an unconference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a professorship
  • Had our monthly ‘all hands’ meeting with my company (we’re currently 8 people), followed by drinks and dinner together
  • Did first quarter book keeping for the VAT returns
  • Wrote some contributions for the 2018 year report for a province
  • Spent a beautiful sunny day with the little one, exploring our part of town with her in the lead, eating fish, and ice cream with her, playing on the slides and swings
  • Spent the Easter weekend outside in the sun, with our own and my sister’s family.
  • Started work to get my e-book collection organised (and duplicated to my local Calibre library, realising how badly Amazon’s Kindle and website interface are designed
  • Sent out the first invites to the IndieWebCamp Utrecht, for 18/19 May.

It’s only morning on Easter Sunday, but apparently in Germany, over 160 kilometers away, Easter fires have been burning on Saturday evening. This morning we woke up to a distinct smell of burning outside (and not just of the wood burning type of smell, also plastics). Dutch Easter fires usually burn on Easter Sunday, not the evening before. So we looked up if there had been a nearby fire, but no, it’s Easter fires from far away.

The national air quality sensor grid documents the spike in airborne particles clearly.
First a sensor near where E’s parents live, on the border with Germany.

A clear PM10 spike starts on Saturday evening, and keeps going throughout the night. It tops out at well over 200 microgram per cubic meter of air at 6 am this morning, or over 5 times the annual average norm deemed acceptable.

The second graph below is on a busy road in Utrecht, about 20 mins from here, and 180 kilometers from the previous sensor. The spike starts during the night, when the wind has finally blown the smoke here, and is at just over 80 microgram per cubic meter of air at 8 am, or double the annual average norm deemed acceptable.

This likely isn’t the peak value yet, as a sensor reading upwind from us shows readings still rising at 9 am:

On a map the sensor points show how the smoke is coming from the north east. The red dot at the top right is Ter Apel, the first sensor reading shown above, the other red points moving west and south have their peaks later or are still showing a rise in PM10 values.

The German website luftdaten.info also shows nicely how the smoke from the north eastern part of Germany, between Oldenburg and the border with the Netherlands is moving across the Netherlands.

The wind isn’t going to change much, so tomorrow the smell will likely be worse, as by then all the Easter fires from Twente will have burnt as well, adding their emissions to the mix.

The Irish government started planning for Brexit in 2014, a full 2 years before the UK referendum, and lobbied both EU and Cameron to secure a yes vote. In contrast it seems the UK started debating the impact of Brexit on the Irish border in earnest about two weeks before the 29 March cliff-edge. “Easiest deal in history” and all that.

Bookmarked How the Irish backstop emerged as May's Brexit nemesis (the Guardian)
Ireland was streets ahead of the UK when it came to planning for Britain’s exit

Two years ago a colleague let their dog swim in a lake without paying attention to the information signs. It turned out the water was infested with a type of algae that caused the dog irritation. Since then my colleague thought it would be great if you could somehow subscribe to notifications of when the quality of status of some nearby surface water changes.

Recently this colleague took a look at the provincial external communications concerning swimming waters. A provincial government has specific public tasks in designating swimming waters and monitoring its quality. It turns out there are six (6) public information or data sources from the particular province my colleague lives in concerning swimming waters.

My colleague compared those 6 datasets on a number of criteria: factual correctness, comparability based on an administrative index or key, and comparability on spatial / geographic aspects. Factual correctness here means whether the right objects have been represented in the data sets. Are the names, geographic location, status (safe, caution, unsafe) correct? Are details such as available amenities represented correctly everywhere?

Als ze me missen, ben ik vissen
A lake (photo by facemepls, license CC-BY)

As it turns out each of the 6 public data sets contains a different number of objects. The 6 data sets cannot be connected based on a unique key or ID. Slightly more than half of the swimming waters can be correlated across the 6 data sets by name, but a spatial/geographic connection isn’t always possible. 30% of swimming waters have the wrong status (safe/caution/unsafe) on the provincial website! And 13% of swimming waters are wrongly represented geometrically, meaning they end up in completely wrong locations and even municipalities on the map.

Every year at the start of the year the provincial government takes a decision which designates the public swimming waters. Yet the decision from this province cannot be found online (even though it was taken last February, and publication is mandatory). Only a draft decision can be found on the website of one of the municipalities concerned.

The differences in the 6 data sets are more or less reflective of the internal division of tasks of the province. Every department keeps its own files, and dataset. One is responsible for designating public swimming waters, another for monitoring swimming water quality. Yet another for making sure those swimming waters are represented in overall public planning / environmental plans. Another for the placement and location of information signs about the water quality, and still another for placing that same information on the website of the province. Every unit has their own task and keeps their own data set for it.

Which ultimately means large inconsistencies internally, and a confusing mix of information being presented to the public.