Applying Linked Open Data to Green Design

Tracking #: 546-1749

Takahiro Kawamura

Responsible editor: 
Guest editors Semantic Web Interfaces

Submission type: 
Full Paper
Increasing levels of environmental consciousness have spurred interest in urban agriculture and greening. However, plant cultivation in a limited urban space is not necessarily a simple matter. On the one hand, a plant that is not a hardy species might die; on the other hand, a plant that overgrows could disrupt the balance of vegetation in the surrounding environment. Therefore, we propose an Android application called Green-Thumb Camera, which allows users to search for plants that fit particular environmental conditions from the linked open data (LOD) cloud. Queries are made using smartphone sensor information, and the application then uses augmented reality to overlay an image of the adult plant in the specified space. Here, we first describe the LOD content generation method and details of the application and then we evaluate the accuracy of the LOD data and the application's usability.
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Review #1
By Martin Voigt submitted on 01/Nov/2013
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

This article is a re-submission of “Applying Linked Open Data for Green Introduction” (#478), an article proposing a new and interesting use case (and user interface) for using Linked Open Data (LOD) in combination with smartphones: the identification of suitable plants to cultivate them in the current environment. Therefore, the authors describe how they created the required LOD content and how the use it. The article closes with an evaluation of the content generation and of the usefulness of the entire application.

Now, the re-submitted article is more sharpened to be an application report and not a typical full paper. Furthermore, nearly all reported issues are addressed. Thus, if the following problems are resolved, I would argue to add it to the special issue of the journal.

Please revise your article with regard to
- P. 2: prefixes without “:”, thus, gtc: --> gtc
- P. 3: Google PageR-ank -> PageRank
- P. 4: triple out of text box
- P. 7: line starts with “, where”
- P. 9 (semi)automatic
- Please check the complete text with regard to typos, coma, and spelling

Review #2
By anna jordanous submitted on 01/Nov/2013
Review Comment:

There is much to recommend in this paper. The concept behind the work is novel and interesting. The authors have produced an RDF dataset on plants and gardening information, accessible via a SPARQL endpoint. They have also produced an app that acts as an interface to serve and use information from this dataset. The app is evaluated using a number of methods and the authors report how they can learn from the feedback as well as the successful parts of the evaluation. I found it useful to read how the LOD was generated (section 2.2.1), though I have questions over the seeming ease with which plain text was mined to generate triples.

However, there are issues which come up in this paper, to do with decisions made in the research. I'm not sure that revisions can fix these issues, as they form part of the basis for the work.

There are assumptions made in the app design which seem flawed. For example, there is assumption that factors such as 'watering and fertilizing, are assumed to be sufficient'. Later on, the assumption is made that the app would only be used on a clear day, not a rainy day. Certainly this app would not be so useful in the UK, where I am writing from! Presumably this assumption would limit the usefulness of the app in Japan as well.

Rain conditions would have implications on (naturally-provided) watering... so it may be that the app recommends a plant which shouldn't be watered regularly, to be placed in a location which attracts a lot of rain? Section 2.3.2 mentions that a consulted 'bioscience researcher whom we consulted confirmed that the conditions listed in the previous section are largely sufficient to serve as the basis for the plant recommendation'. This is not sufficient for this reader-can this bioscience researcher be named and quoted, and can they recommend peer-reviewed sources to back this up? (NB this comments in section 2.3.2 should appear inside Section 2.3.1, alongside where the factors are presented, to justify what factors are chosen and what factors are ignored).

A lot of the factors e.g. sunlight, temperature, change over time. I cannot see any description of how such changes are taken into account. What if the app is used on a day that is unusually cold, or uncharacteristically cloudy?

I'd also like to understand more about how the data generated for this app is following principles of Linked Data (beyond the generation stage). What other datasets are linked to? (apart from correlation to DBpedia and use of DBpedia terms) To what extent is existing LOD collected in generation, or linked to from the GTC dataset? I suspect there to be no significant links out to other datasets, raising the question of why the generated data isn't supplemented by links to other datasets.

In Section 2.2.1, the authors discuss how plain text is mined to generate SPO triples from the identification of in the text. Is NLP used to identify subjects, verbs and objects? If not, how are triples identified from (e.g.) is of constructions? Also, what if a sentence makes statements that describe many different properties, or for multiple subjects/objects? How are these retrieved, if the sentence is only parsed twice?

The application seems very Japan-centric, e.g. with data generation (beyond the crawl of DBpedia) focused on 100 plants found in Japan, or use of Japan Meteorological Agency data. While this is not a criticism, the paper should be clearer on this point.

As a small point, it seems strange when papers have the related work section at the end of the paper, instead of as an introduction to the choices made in the research. On a rather larger related point, I do not see why AGROVOC's vocabulary was not extended as the base vocabulary for this work. It seems highly relevant.

It's a good idea to use some measure of reliability for the sourced data during the LOD generation, but PageRank is not an ideal measure for pages with lower impact or newer pages.

In conclusion - this paper contains an interesting idea and some practical findings of note, but there are limitations introduced by design decisions that are not sufficiently acknowledged by the authors.

Perhaps this paper should be aimed at a different journal, as the Semantic Web content doesn't seem strong enough.

Review #3
By Bernhard Schandl submitted on 02/Dec/2013
Review Comment:

This paper describes an application that combines Augmented Reality with data from the Linked Open Data cloud. Its goal is to provide the user aid in selecting plants for a garden by analysing the current situation (represented via sensor data), matching the parameter against the LOD cloud, and returning suggestions for plants to fill a gap.

Besides the application itself, the paper proposes to make two main contributions: first, it extracts plant-related structured data from a large number of Web pages using a combination of DOM pattern recognition as well as simple language analysis. The approach seems reasonable; however it obviously requires substantial manual effort. Also, the details of the algorithm are not given in the paper, so it is very hard to judge whether it could possibly be applied to other scenarios and applications as well.

Second, it provides a recommendation mechanism for plants based on a set of sensor data from the user's mobile phone, which is translated to a SPARQL query. This approach is straightforward; however the resulting query has a large number of FILTER clauses, which may impose significant performance drawbacks. The authors do not provide numbers that indicate whether the resulting queries can be executed over large data sets in reasonable time.

From a visual point of view, the application itself looks rather like a research prototype. The user interface is not particularly innovative; camera-based views with buttons on the bottom, as well as swipe-based gestures, have been state of the art in mobile UI for years. The presented UI does not address any substantial challenge, for instance, how to represent more detailed information about the recommended plants within the limited bounds of the mobile screen; or the possibility to compare different recommendations in a side-by-side view. Since the focus of the special issue is on user interfaces, I'd recommend to put more focus on this field.

Overall, the paper's substance is too weak to be accepted. There is no substantial insight; neither in the "backend" (data collection, extraction, and recommendation) nor in the "frontend" (user interface and user interaction). For the former, I'd like to see more technical details; for the latter, I'd recommend more on the question how to represent the data that is available as LOD in a more meaningful way, to the benefit of the user.