Wessel Schollmeijer


Connecting Information from Legislation and Datasets using a Catalogue

The Dutch Environmental Law is a huge legislation project in which about 30 laws and 100 regulations about different environmental aspects (air, water, soil, etc.) are brought together in one single law and 4 regulations. To make this work we developed a dcat profile for a catalogue that on the one hand unlocks the concepts in those legal texts and on the other hand unlocks the concepts and metadata in federated datasets that can provide relevant information on the actual situation. Besides dcat we use prov-o to maintain provenance information and enable time traveling, and skos to describe a content scheme for each dataset. On one point we feel te need to extend skos with statements that type concepts as legal actions, legal norms and legal actors. Our dcat profile enables coupling an abstract version of the dataset once, while leaving the version management to the original source.

We will start our presentation with a sketch of the data challenges of the Dutch Environmental Law. A digital system to support the implementation of this law is key to make the law work in practive. We feel the best way to make this work is to use common web based standards, like linked data and W3C vocabularies. In this digital system our catalogue functions as a kind of information backbone or knowledge graph. We will show how we use dcat, skos and prov-o in conjunction to describe concepts in this knowledge graph. With the legal extension of skos we complete the knowledge with the identification of activities, actors and norms. With this extra knowledge we create the legal basis to create executable rules and decision trees. We use DMN (Decision Model and Notation) to describe those executable rules and build a DMN translator to publish those rules as linked data. With the timestamps in prov-o we can time-travel in the formal (publicized) history. With the timestamps in dcterms we can time-travel in the legitimate history. Matching legislation concepts with corresponding concepts in datasets, we show how you can find information that tells something about what is permitted when you intend to do a certain activity. Besides the linked data protocol we also support REST API's on the catalogue content, such as a concept API. By publishing our legal data this way as linked open data that can be easily found using the catalogue, we create a real open system in which third parties can create their own applications. We wil end with a demo that shows how those elements of the catalogue work in practice. The catalogue is fully operational on concepts. It contains all concepts in the national environmental legislation and several datasets of the Kadaster (the Cadastral Map, The Topological Map and the Key Register on Addresses and Buildings). Next step is to add all concepts from local environments plans that will be developed in the coming years and add information from existing datasets in the area of air, water, soil, etc.



Wessel Schollmeijer works for Ordina Visionworks as a business consultant. He currently consults the Dutch Cadastre as an information analyst, with a focus on information modeling. He studied Business Informatics at the HES in Rotterdam.

Lars Wortel works for Capgemini Netherlands as a business and information analist, with specialties in Decions Management and Linked Data. He currently consults the Dutch Cadastre and Rijkswaterstaat as an information analist, with a focus on time traveling through linked data and on the connection between decions management and linked data. He studied logic at the University of Amsterdam