Three questions for Rina Clemens

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Rina is group leader of data analysis and information provision at Witteveen+Bos. Her group realises digital solutions, making smart use of data, for clients. They do this by using statistical and mathematical techniques, assessing data for quality, analysing it and programming it into a digital solution or other type of consultancy product. Together with her group, she carries out projects aimed at creating value with data for organisations, policymakers and society. We asked her three questions.

What data and information do you deal with on a daily basis?

This is very diverse. An example is the data management for the Wind at Sea ecological programme {Wozep} commissioned by the Department of Waterways and Public Works. We worked out and recorded the agreements and working processes for the programme and set up an associated data management platform where the data of birds, bats and marine mammals, among others, is available to various cooperation partners of the programme. With this, the Department of Waterways and Public Works always has an overview of how things stand with the collection, processing, storage and disclosure of these datasets.

How has your role changed in recent years?

What has changed is that more and larger datasets are available through open data platforms. This is in contrast to a client keeping data for themselves and supplying it to us for one specific project. What has not changed is the need to assess data for quality before using it. Our group ensures that data is ultimately findable, accessible, exchangeable and reusable. Then you want to use relevant data to generate new information for users and deliver this in an appropriate form such as an interactive GIS viewer, as in the case of the Heat Stress Map or as an online software service, such as the Water Demand Forecasting Tool.

I see a future in which more and more high-quality data becomes available as open data, so that beautiful analyses and information products can be made with it.

What role does data play in your projects? 

'Every specialist works with data, data is everywhere and there is also more and more data. Reliable data forms the basis of our projects. We work closely with subject specialists to arrive at well-founded advice. With their expertise and experience, they provide context to the software development teams. It is important to have an understanding of the context in which you work, in order to be able to give good advice with data and develop corresponding services or tools. Interaction with subject specialists is necessary for this. No questions are the same, and conditions and circumstances are constantly changing. In addition, the quality of data often changes and it is important to have insight into what can or cannot be done with it. Because if the data is rubbish, so is the outcome of an analysis.