Dyfi Virtual Observatory

The Dyfi. Image Chris Denny.

The Dyfi. Image Chris Denny.

07 October 2011

The Dyfi Virtual Observatory is hosting three community workshops at the Owain Glyndŵr Centre in Machynlleth on 13th October and has launched a new ideas website to invite residents and interested parties to help solve environmental issues in the Dyfi region and across the UK.

The Dyfi Virtual Observatory, which was recently launched by researchers at Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, has issued a ‘call to action’ to the wider community to be part of its development.

A team is also developing a new website that will enable people for the first time to have access to different types of environmental data and a suite of tools to help them understand and solve environmental issues.

Professor Mark Macklin, a leading rivers expert based at Aberystwyth University said: “The Dyfi catchment is probably one of the best studied river catchments in Wales, if not the UK. Now the community will be able to access and analyse data to understand a wide range of issues, from climate change, biodiversity to water quality.”

The Dyfi Virtual Observatory has been chosen as a local exemplar by the Natural Environment Research Council funded Environmental Virtual Observatory (EVO), which is a UK-wide pilot initiative. Local residents, councils, scientists and environmental organisations across the Dyfi region will potentially be able to use the observatory to study local, regional and national issues.

Dr Paul Brewer, who is part of the Aberystwyth University team setting up the Dyfi Virtual Observatory said: “Progress is moving fast on the technical front. The team is proving that this type of application is technically feasible and offers a promising tool for environmental management.”

Dr Brewer added “Yet it is clear when building a public facing technology, it is important to involve the community at the outset. We need the ideas and views of the communities around the Dyfi and from across Wales to ensure the observatory’s success.”

To ensure the platform meets the needs of the local community, everyone is invited to come along to one of their upcoming workshops (refreshments and biscuits available) to be held in Machynlleth, as detailed below:

13th October: Owain Glyndŵr Centre
09.30 - 12.00 – For environmental and community organisations.
12.45 – 15.15 – Open invitation to community residents.

Dr Nicola Thomas, a post-doctoral researcher at Aberystwyth University who is project managing the Dyfi Virtual Observatory said: “Our workshops are an exciting opportunity for people to steer the observatory’s development from the ground up.”

“Everyone is welcome, as their ideas will ensure the observatory delivers a tool people will want to use and advocate on a regular basis to help solve environmental and quality of life related issues.”

To book a place on the workshop please visit http://www.dyfivo.org.uk/workshops/.

For anyone interested in the project but is unable to attend its 13th October workshops, the Dyfi Virtual Observatory has also set up an ideas website at www.dyfivo.ideascale.com to gather the community’s feedback over the internet.