All posts by Neil Ford

Open Data Camp 9: Manchester, 6-7 July 2024

Hi Folks. Y’alright?  It is that most wonderful time of the year again. Open Data Camp ticket day. We are extremely pleased to say that we are revisiting Manchester. We will be there for the 6th and 7th of July 2024 and we hope you will be too. 

Open Data Camp 9

The ninth Open Data Camp will be taking place at the beautiful MECD building on the University of Manchester campus. Thank you to the University of Manchester, the UK Reproducibility Network and our long term friends Open Data Manchester for making this possible.

University of Manchester MECD

Also, in what might be a ODCamp first, on the Saturday evening from 18.00-20.00 we will be having a reception at Whitworth Art Gallery, also hosted by the University and the UK Reproducibility Network, which will include catering for all attendees.

Let me put you in the picture, let me show you what I mean

Why Manchester? Logistics are a factor, the Campus is close to the Manchester Oxford Road train station. It is a modern building which hopefully means good levels of accessibility for all attendees and we have verified the wi-fi is good. The local data and tech scene is a strong one and we feel like we can put on a really good and well attended event here.

It is also in the middle of a large city, which means a wide variety of accommodation options. To help make life easier, and hopefully as cheap as possible, we have secured 3 floors of the Dalton Ellis Halls of residence and have 30 places there at £60 for a single night (Friday or Saturday) or £110 for both nights for bed and breakfast. This is an ideal location for the camp and we are pretty excited about being able to offer this deal. 

Bountiful and likely slightly more expensive options of hotels across Manchester are also available

The hall’s spaces are available on a first come, first served basis and can be secured through our Eventbrite booking page alongside the regular admission tickets.

The small team of dedicated volunteers that put on the camps are as committed as ever to the importance of open data, and to providing a safe and inclusive space for discussing the good, bad and frustrating parts of our collective efforts and community. We will be running the event as an unconference as normal, running all day Saturday and Sunday.

We appreciate that taking time out to attend a conference on a weekend is not something that is easy for everyone to do and we have tried to take steps to help support as many people as possible to attend. Along with the university halls accommodation, we are committed to providing professional childcare as part of the conference. This year we will be working with Sweetheart Nannies, who are Ofsted registered and have been recommended by the organisers of Reframe Women in Tech conference

They will provide appropriate staffing numbers in a dedicated separate room from 09.30-17.30 on both days of the conference. If you are interested in using the childcare service or have any queries please get in touch by email

Finally, we are also making bursaries available to cover some or all of the costs of covering attendance at the conference. This can include travel, accommodation or any other associated costs. We appreciate that people may wish to make a request for a wide variety of reasons and we are attempting to make this process as simple as possible. We will ask for some details via a web form that will be published in the coming days and the camp organisers will review each application on a case by case basis. 

A call for sponsors and a commitment to transparency

Running Open Data Camp is not free. While the organising team is fully formed of volunteers who offer their time for free, we always offer to pay for the extra cleaning , and we want to be able to offer good quality coffee to the attendees, catering, childcare provision, and help more people attend. We hope to have at least 100 people attend and these things cost money.

Sponsor packages start at just £600, and all details are on this web page. We appreciate both small contributions from people and small companies in our community, and larger donations from larger entities. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor then please contact us via the online form or email your query to or via X at @ODcamp or Bluesky at (you can also contact @puntofisso or @mr_dudders directly on X / Bluesky / most other places. They are pretty easy to find.)

We are fully committed to transparency, and we’ll offer a full account of income and spending at the end of the camp. 


You can find tickets on Eventbrite. They are being released at 10:00 am, Wednesday April 24th.

Photo credit: University of Manchester


ODCamp 8: Attendee Information

We’re so excited that we’ve got just a few days left until we all meet up for Open Data Camp 8! This email includes where to go, when to go there and other useful information.

First thing first: If your plans have changed and you can’t make it, please cancel your order so we can release your tickets

Location: Open Data Camp 8 will be held at Springfield Campus, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV10 0JP

Plan for the weekend:

Arrive from 9:30
10:00 Welcome and Intro
10:15 Pitching starts
11:15 First session starts
13:00ish Lunch
16:30 Last session finishes

And then… Pub!
The pub is booked from 5
Great Western, Corn Hill, Wolverhampton WV10 0DG
The first round is on our fabulous sponsors (be reasonable please!)

Arrive from 10:00
10:30 Welcome and Intro
10:45 Pitching starts
11:30 First session starts
13:15ish Lunch
15:45 Last session finishes, farewell
16:00 Time to leave!

Lunch will be available both days. Big thanks to all those who completed our food form.
If you have special dietary needs but have not completed the form, unfortunately we can’t adjust the order with the caterer so please consider making your own arrangements.

There are loads of different ways to get to the Springfield Campus, you can find all the travel details here.

And finally, please take a look at our Code of Conduct. This is an important part of how we keep Open Data Camp the friendly, welcoming and supportive event that it is. If you have any concerns while at the camp, you can speak with one of our volunteers, who will be clearly spottable in our somewhat classy maroon campmaker t-shirts.

Hendrik Grothuis

Obituary: Hendrik Grothuis

By Gesche Schmid

Originally posted on LinkedIn,  August 20, 2018.

I learned with great sadness of Hendrik Grothuis’ sudden death. He was a colleague, friend and a great advocate who championed open data insight with spirit and integrity.

 I met Hendrik many years ago when he was a researcher at Cambridgeshire County Council interested in analytics, data and geographic information. We were reviving the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) Local Public Services Interest Group to advocate the value and importance of geospatial information in connecting people and places and deriving insight. Hendrik took over the helm of the Group in 2010.

Hendrik and I worked together again for the Making open data work for you initiative led by the Local Government Association to engage with local communities and drive innovation and economic growth. Hendrik set-up the Cambridgeshire Insight and Open Data partnership, developed a data portal and shared his knowledge enthusiastically with the open data community. He became a cofounder of the Open Data Camp and a member of the Open Data User Group in 2014 to represent Local Government. He then advocated Open Insight for Smart Cities before working for the University of London at the Layers of London Project.

Again our path crossed just a few months ago when Hendrik was looking for new opportunities and very recently he became a delivery manager in the Defra data programme taking forward several data innovation projects. He brought to the programme drive, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Hendrik combined a hard working attitude with pragmatism and wit. He was a great collaborator and able to pick up situations quickly, listened and offered his valuable advice. He shared what he knew on social media and was always open for finding out more over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Hendrik, you will be hugely missed at work, in the community and as a friend.

Gesche Schmid

Push the boundaries of data science @ONS

Tom Smith, Managing Director, ONS Data Science Campus By Tom Smith, Managing Director, ONS Data Science Campus

Open Data Camp is a great community-building event, and a hugely creative space to compare notes and work alongside people tackling some of the most important and challenging data problems. I blogged about OD Camp 3 in Bristol here, which was one of my highlights from last year. So I’m totally delighted that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are sponsoring Open Data Camp 4 which is Cardiff bound this weekend.

I joined ONS last month to setup and lead the Data Science Campus, ONS’s hub and incubator for analysis announced in last year’s Budget, and based at the main ONS offices in Newport. Our goal is to explore how data sources such as administrative data and social data, and techniques such as machine learning and natural language parsing, can improve our understanding of the UK’s economy, communities and people. Our research programme is based around ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’, and will deliver projects under five themes: urban and rural future; society; sustainability; evolving economy and UK in a global context.

ONS Research Themes

As well as running exploratory projects with partners across government, academia, industry and not-profits, we are also building capacity – increasing the pipeline of data science skills into government and more widely. From December we have been running the UK’s first data analytics apprenticeships, programme with 8 apprentices in the Newport Campus – and applications for the next round are open until 26 February. We are also funding a number of students to study for PhD and Masters in data science, and mentoring students on the Government wide Data Science accelerator programme.

We are formally launching the Campus at ONS’s HQ in Newport next month, and over the next few weeks we will be starting to take the wraps off our research programme. If you are interested in pushing the boundaries of data science and statistics and research for the public good, do come and find me at Open Data Camp to talk – I look forward to meeting you!

Tom Smith

Open Data Camp Code of Conduct

The organisers of Open Data Camp have this year decided to adopt an explicit Code of Conduct for the event. This is to ensure that we continue to have an enjoyable event for all comers.

The code can be found here. We are using the same code as adopted by our colleagues at UKGovCamp.

Attendees will be informed at the start of each day who on the organising team they should contact (there will be two people – one female, one male) if they have an issue.

Epimorphics at Open Data Camp 3

An Open Data Camp in Bristol? We’d be mad to miss it.

At Epimorphics we’re really excited to see the Open Data Camp journey come to the connected digital city so close to our home, we are so excited that we are happy to be sponsoring and supporting the visit.

Some of us are ODCamp newbies, but the last 6+ years has shown that open data is part of our DNA, for example we’ve been working on exciting projects with others such as the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Land Registry and Companies House to get their open data out there, accessible and usable as linked open data. We’re looking forward to meeting and chatting with some kindred spirits.

A handful of Epimorphs will be around at Open Data Camp 3, so if you have a particular interest in open data about water quality at beaches and elsewhere, river levels and flood alerts, house prices and indices or company profiles – do seek us out and we’ll be very happy to help you get going. Or maybe you’ve got some data of you’re own and would like to breath some life into some lifeless URIs we can introduce you to some of open-source tools we use or make.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Bristol and learning and sharing ideas.

Bristol 10K road closures

As has been previously mentioned, the Sunday of ODCamp 3 coincides with the Bristol 10K run. This means that there are going to be a number of road closures around Bristol City Centre and some considerable disruption to travel.

Full details of the road closures can be downloaded as a pdf from

Unfortunately for us, Waterside is in the most heavily affected part of the city. We are in communication with the event organizers to get details of where the course crossing points will be and we will pass that information on as soon as we have it. The best advice we can give is to allow extra time to get to the venue on Sunday and if at all possible, don’t drive in to the city on Sunday.