FridaysForFutue, WeChange, Transition Towns or Extinction Rebellion: they all have their own maps, calendars and news – but not synchronised. The goal of the FairSync project is to simplify discovery and search of activity hubs, events, and activity feeds. The target group of our efforts are platform integrators, which run maps with locations, host events and offer news feeds. The demand is huge and of priority at fairmove.IT, a network of cloud and IT solution providers servicing climate change and sustainability organisations and activists.

System integrators are faced with fast evolving APIs and protocols when they try to discover and connect systems and mae search more easy. We intended to develop a generic master-master replication framework of metadata enriched data sets on top of the Activity Pub protocol. This way we wanted to overcome the federation solutions available on the level of database replication only or specialised for file or message synchronisation. We were looking at  flexible propagation mechanisms and  conflict resolution schemes.

For secure and un-biased search and discovery we would like to leave the harvesting-by-bots path commonly used with search engines. Instead, we were aiming at replicating public data with federating platforms and give the providers of each platform an add-on navigation tool. This way, we will gain true federation and independence of central storages.

Various concepts have been discussed  since 2017 in the fairmove.IT community – a network of IT people supporting the sustainability movement. The swiss initiative Transition Connect followed a hierarchical approach but got stuck in a Proof-of-Concept phase. Transition initiatives have been planning a solution in fairkom’s gitlab which is close to the FairSync approach. We have agreed in summer 2019 to collaborate and as the FairSync idea got some funding from the NLnet foundation we have been approaching relevant platform integrators and tried to join forces.

Several map platforms allow replication, but usually they are to be configured in a master-slave style, such as Mongo DB replica sets. But what our partners and the users want in the application scenarios sketched in this proposal is a non-hierarchical, friction free access to data sets, no matter where they are stored, and being able to edit them (if the permission framework allows to do so). When researching we found solutions like StrongLoop by IBM, an Open Source JavaScript library, but it is limited to connect mobile clients reliably to a master data source. Finding a more generic approach to this cloud computing challenge required acompletely new approach.

All meta data enriched map projects we have seen so far (such as transformap, yellowOSM, kartevonmorgen, TREEDAY …) offer an API and we.got in touch with gogocarto and Transiscope who set up presdecheznous, in France similar map like Karte von Morgen in german speaking countries.The need for backlinks brought us to the concept of triple stores and linked open agents. From that point we developed Linked Open Actors Рsee the slides for an introduction and browse throug hthe menu above for a demo.