The UK is amongst the best in the world at releasing Open Data at a national level – but the same can’t be said at other parts of government. What can be done?
Could it be that the data at lower levels is less accessible? For every piece of valuable data, there’s at least one local authority doing it well, but rarely more than a couple. For example, around 100 local authorities have published business rates data, but several hundred more haven’t. The vast majority of local authorities haven’t published empty homes data.
Continue reading Getting Better Open Data at national, regional and local levels
Google Docs notes from this session
Councils have really good data sets: but they can find it hard to find out what local communities would like to do with it. The ‘Lessons Learned’ session packed a break-out room with Open Data Camp participants keen to share their issues, ideas, and solutions to the problem.
The session was opened by Lee Dodds of Bath Hacked, who is working with council and local community to use data “for benefit of those who live in the area and those who visit us.”
Continue reading Lessons learned from open data use
A cathartic session of data ranting, where Open Data Camp attendees shared their data horrors under the Chatham House rule:
Horror: A PDF full of screenshots
Looking for the location of fire hydrants? If you make FOI requests, you’ll be told they’re national security, or private data or… One council did send the info – but as a PDF. And in the PDF? Screenshots of Excel spreadsheets.
Lesson: Ask for a particular format…
Horror: Paved with good intentions
A government ministry was asked for its spending data, but had to be fought all the way to the Information Commissioner, because they argued that they had intended to publish, and that was enough to give them leeway not to publish. he Information Commissioner disagreed.
Lesson: Just saying “intent” does not let them off the hook
Horror: Customer Disservice
An angry Twitter user asking about his broadband speed was sent a huge dataset of broadband speeds by postcode, as a zipped CSV. And was a bit cross when he realised he couldn’t use it. So a member of the organisation helped out by creating way of reading it – and got told off by his manager for helping the public.
Lesson: No good deed goes unpunished.
Horror: The art of the inobvious search
Googling a list of GP locations, they found an NHS search service – no place to download it. ONS? 2006 data. It took her getting angry, walking away from the computer, and coming back and making a ridiculous search to find it. If you aren’t make it accessible, why bother?
Lesson: Just creating data isn’t enough.
Continue reading 11 Horror Stories of Open Data