Water, water everywhere

Lea Gorgulu Webb, a data consultant, wanted to talk about water.

Why? Because Ofwat is asking water companies to publish data as open data. So, she asked, what kind of data would be useful? How raw should that data be? How much curation would be useful? What, in short, should Ofwat, as a regulator, be asking water companies to do?

Drawnalism of Water, water everywhere session at Open Data Camp 8 at the University of Wolverhampton on 2023-07-01

Participants had more useful background.

The ODI has been working with Ofwat on its H2Open strategy. Some companies are on side, and already publishing information on, for example, storm overflows.

However, there are problems.

Continue reading Water, water everywhere

The NHS, open data, and AI

This session was led by John Kellas, an expert in community development in healthcare, and the “complicated” subject of healthcare, AI and licensing. He asked people to share anything they felt was important, with a view to making recommendations to policy makers.

“In 2017, I helped run a series of webinars on AI in healthcare,” he said, “and on the back of that I was asked to be part of the Academic Health Science Network core AI advisory group and support the development of a national survey on AI in healthcare.

“I was already interested in open data and open source, so I asked for a small question on licensing to be included in this survey. What we found was that about 38% was proprietary, and much less was open source, although there was a lot of ‘don’t want to say’ or ‘don’t know.’

“Since then, we’ve had a £250 million pot for AI in the NHS, and some vague talk about a value return. But I think there is room for something stronger. Because it’s clear that the data for AI is very valuable, and it’s reasonable to think that patients should get some return for it.

“And at the moment, there seems to me to be an issue around whether the NHS is going to procure AI, or develop it, and how we are going to secure that value is not really clear.”

Continue reading The NHS, open data, and AI

Open Data Camp 8: Ready, set, pitch!

The first thing to know about unconferences is that there’s no agenda.

What happens is decided by the participants. People make a 30 second pitch for a session, and everyone votes for whether they want to go along. The campmakers keep track and use sticky-notes to draw up a grid of what is happening where.

Pitching for Open Data Camp 8 has just been taking place in the auditorium of the University of Wolverhampton’s Springfield Campus (described, fairly, by someone walking in as: “A lot posher than your average unconference.”

Drawnalism of the Open Data Camp 8 Pitching for sessions on day one #ODCamp - at University of Wolverhampton
Pitches for sessions at #ODCamp 9 on 2023-07-01

Continue reading Open Data Camp 8: Ready, set, pitch!

Helloooo Wolverhampton!

Welcome to the Live Blog for Open Data Camp 8.

We’re at the University of Wolverhampton’s Springfield Campus, which is a modern building, updating a brewery, and who couldn’t like that? Ahead of us lie two days of ‘unconferencing’ about all things open data.

Stand by for updates on the pitching, the discussions about the hot topics in data collection and use, and some great examples of why open data really matters. It’s going to lively, it’s going to be FUN…

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.

Open Data Camp #8: Wolverhampton, 1-2 July 2023

Hi Folks. ‘Ow am ya? After a bit of a break, we have decided it is time for Open Data Camp to hit the road again. Making sure we hold these events in a wide range of places is really important to us and after our previous trips to Winchester, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Belfast, Aberdeen and London it seemed like it was about time that we tried a jaunt to the midlands. With that in mind, we are delighted to announce that the next Open Data Camp will be happening in Wolverhampton over the weekend the 1st and 2nd July 2023.

Open Data Camp 8 - Wolverhampton

All the glitters is Old Gold. 

The eighth Open Data Camp will be held in at the Springfield Campus of Wolverhampton University

The University of Wolverhampton’s Professor Mohammad Patwary, Digital Innovation and Solution Centre is generously providing the host location of the Springfield Campus.

Why Wolverhampton? Logistics are a factor, the Springfield Campus is close to the train station and a wide range of accommodation choices very close by. It is a modern building which hopefully means good levels of accessibility for all attendees and it is a continuation of our commitment to make sure that these events happen in a wide range of geographic locations. 

We have not done one of these for a while, but the small team of volunteers that put on these events are as committed as ever to the importance of open data and for 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 will be arranging a social event on the Saturday evening and are very excited to have a chance to catch up with people we have not seen for a while and to welcome some new people to our community 

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, potentially catering, a few drinks at the pub, and take some inclusion action. 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 ODcampuk@gmail.com or via twitter @ODcamp (you can also contact @puntofisso, @I_am_LisaAllen or @mr_dudders directly on twitter).

At each camp, the surplus goes to the wider UK Gov Camp community. 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. As usual, we will be releasing multiple batches over the next few weeks.

Open Data Camp is a two-day event, which gives us a great chance to cover loads of open data topics together. Sometimes people can’t make both days and that is fully ok. We will send a survey later on to get an understanding of numbers.

ODCafe – thank you and goodbye

Open Data Cafe

That is a wrap on our first ever open data cafe. This is a quick post with some reflections from me on how the process of running an online minimal viable unconference went and some of the themes that seemed to come through from the sessions on the day.

Our goal was to run a minimal viable unconference. The core gang of kind folks behind odcamp are all busy people and lockdowns are tough, we weren’t 100% sure if we should do something, but this idea of a minimal, lo-fi community event seemed to be so in keeping with what Open Data Camp was about, that it seemed like it could be a thing we might make work.

Continue reading ODCafe – thank you and goodbye

ODCamp 7: Thank you and goodbye


And so, as night draws in, the latest Open Data Camp draws to a close. Thank you to all the sponsors, the camp organisers, and the campers. Open Data Camp moves around: it has now been in Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester and Winchester. Where will it be next? That depends on… someone volunteering to take it on…

If you are interested in hosting the event, then get in touch. But, for now, catch up on all the blog posts, Tweet (using the hashtag #ODCamp), blog, and generally pass on all the good stuff from two great days. And we’ll see you at the next one.

Data Visualisation: making it work

An Open Data Camp 7 session on data visualisation, led by Ian Makgill. These are live-blogged notes.

Drawnalism: data visualisation

There is a lot of temptation to use really exciting visualisations. But 90% of the time, you end up with bar or line charts – because they work. If you have more than 20 data points along the x axis, you probably want a line chart, not a bar chart.




Continue reading Data Visualisation: making it work