Coming Soon: Open Data Camp UK

Just over a week ago we held the latest in a series of (invitation-only) “Informing Hampshire” events, aimed (mostly) at people working in the public sector in-and-around Hampshire.

Open Data: Fuel for Decision-Making

The theme this time was “Open Data: Fuel for Decision-Making”, and there was a marvellous line-up of speakers bringing their perspective on open data. I’ll blog separately about that on the ‘new’ Hampshire Hub (as Protohub will shortly be retiring).

Not many of the people who attend Informing Hampshire are active tweeters, so we don’t usually bother with a hashtag. This time, however – as it was open data-related – we did a bit of tweeting using the #InfoHants hashtag. It was surprisingly popular, and a few people expressed interest in future events.

A big Camping fan

I’m a big fan of unconferences, particularly the GovCamp movement, with its various spin-offs and variants like:

I’ve blogged a bunch of times about unconferences, so I won’t repeat that here.

Wot, no Open Data Camp?

Last Saturday – still fizzing from the talks the previous day – I posted a speculative tweet asking if there was any appetite to bring together lots of people to talk (and possibly make stuff) with open data. It seemed so obvious it was difficult to believe that there hadn’t already been an open data and unconference mash-up (see what I did there?)

@ODCamp (UK) is born

Despite it being Saturday lunchtime, loads of people replied, many offering to help. Later the same afternoon, Sasha Taylor created a Twitter account @ODCamp, giving us an initial focal point.

James Cattell pitched in suggesting we get a Trello Board going to manage activities, and Ben Proctor pointed out that February 21st 2015 just happens to be International Open Data Day...

On Monday evening we – Sasha Taylor, James Cattell, Giuseppe Sollazzo – held a small Google Hangout to pool ideas.

We held another hangout on Wednesday with a larger group: @MartinHowitt,@drsiant, @NorthernJamie, @Jargonautical, @HendrikG, @Sasha_Taylor@NeilFord, @jaCattell.

A plan coming together

Over the next few days several potential sponsors** got in touch, and we began to look at potential venues in a bit more detail. Realistically it’ll take a few weeks to sort everything out and confirm details, but it’s really looking like Open Data Camp will happen, probably in February (hopefully the weekend of 21/22 Feb).

There will be a web site soon, and we’ll*** keep you posted with progress.


  • I confess to bias on this one, as I’m one of the organisers, along with Sasha Taylor

** We need more sponsors to help the event go with a bang, so please get in touch if you’re interested

*** I keep hearing talk about the need to break down barriers, work in partnership, collaborate more etc. The people involved in organising Open Data Camp are from across the UK (furthest North so far = Manchester, furthest South = Devon), from various sectors (Central Gov, Academia, Emergency Services, Local Gov, and Private Sector). All are volunteers, working in their own time.