Tag Archives: #odcamp

Open Data Camp: 7 up!

Sarah Roberts, who is a member of the team at Swirrl, one of our Bronze Sponsors, has written about Open Data Camp 7 on Swirrl’s blog. Here’s what she said.

We’re happy to be sponsoring Open Data Camp again, which heads to London the weekend of Nov 2nd and 3rd. In honour of the seventh edition of the camp, here are seven recent bits of data discussion which have caught our eye …

In at Number One

Image Source

The recently published Northern Ireland Open Data Strategy, is straight in at Number 1. The strategy runs from 2020–2023 and has four main themes:

  • Increasing the rate of publication and sharing of government information as open data
  • Promoting original, useful ways of using open data to show its benefits.
  • Engaging with the public sector to promote Open Data through events, setting up an innovation fund and running open data competitions
  • Training so Open Data’s a business function, rather than an ad hoc activity.

There’s a lot of interesting content in the strategy, and it’s especially great to see ‘making data accessible and easy to use’ as one of its key principles. And a mention of tidy data. Be still my beating data heart.

Two: Sweet Harmony

And tidy data makes me think of another good thing going on with open data : The Connected Open Government Statistics project. This is a GSS project which aims to harmonise data across departments so it’s interoperable. There’s a lot of good stuff going on here to tackle the disparate data landscape in a standardised way and a lot of organisations involved. More on this here.

Three: Stand(ards) and Deliver

Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants. Image Source

I don’t go to many conferences, but those I have been to this year have all included AI as a topic. I was talking about this to my colleague, Jamie Whyte, who said one similarity between AI and data science is that they both depend on the quality of data they operate on. Bill Roberts spoke about the same thing from a different angle at our Power of Data event a couple of weeks ago: the idea that if you want to do data science you need some data, most likely from lots of data sources. And if that data’s not in a good shape when it goes it, then the risk is that automation will generate poor quality results. Standards at the point of publication are the answer here — not Adam and the Ants, really. But enjoy the ear worm.

Four: Never Ending Story

Storytelling with data. I know, it’s not new but it’s still something that hooks me in. At the recent GSS conference in Edinburgh, Mark Robinson of NHS Health Scotland presented a really engaging talk on the use of data in interventions for health inequalities. He showed this Shiny app (screenshot below) in his talk, which allows users to select the area & health outcome they want to look at:

5ive

I’m totally showing my age now, I know. Image Source

In at number five are the Indices of Deprivation. This data was released last month by MHCLG and Bowie Penney covered some of its uses at the same GSS conference. The uses are wide ranging, from contextual funding use to estimating life expectancy, and people are already making stuff with it, like Open Data Manchester’s lava lamp visualisationRob Fry’s interactive map and Alasdair Rae’s work. Get to the IMD postcode apparea app and the Indices of deprivation datasets here.

Six: Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Slide from Jeni Tennison’s talk at Power of Data 2019

The Open Data Institute have been doing a lot of work around the idea of data institutions for the new data age. I love the Data Access Map (shown) and other related work includes research on Data Trusts and a joint paper with the RSA & Luminate on data rights and data ownership. Open Data Camp’s a huge collaborative effort and there’s another opportunity to meet up with people collaborative style at the next cross-government API meeting in Newcastle next month.

Seven: One Vision

Not the catchy Queen song (although, what a song) — the National Data Strategy. We were lucky enough to have Gaia Marcus, who heads up the strategy at DCMS, chair a panel on this at our event a couple of weeks ago. Panelists included Rosalie MarshallSiân ThomasGavin Freeguard and our very own Bill and questions ranged from opportunities to improve public services through effective data use to priorities of data standards and data infrastructures. The videos will be up very soon — worth a watch!

This time Swirrler, and long time Open Data Camp supporter, Jen will be there — say hi if you see her there!

 

Three black women in tech sitting together with laptops

You are welcome here

We are committing to a diverse, inclusive Open Data Camp 7

Name: Open Data Camp

What’s that? It’s a free event about open data

OK, that sounds technical….

We promise it isn’t just for people who love data! Open Data Camp is also for people who are new to this data thing like this person who wanted to craft the perfect foi request, people who work in museums, GPs, teachers, people tackling loneliness, parents, librarians, people who work in retail and everyone else.

Open Data Camp is an unconference, so it’s whatever we make it, together.

What the heck is an unconference?

An unconference is an event where those who attend decide together on the day, what the topics will be. No speakers, no pressure, no experts. It’s free, informal and invigorating to pitch a session (or have someone pitch on your behalf!), attend sessions you want to and vote with your feet – if the session isn’t working for you, find another, chill out in our quiet spaces or meet someone new.

On a weekend?! What will I do with the kids?

Weekends are tough! We want this event to be welcoming to families, so child care is something we’re working on. We’re investigating options and we’re keen to hear from people who have suggestions. Get in touch by email ODCampuk@gmail.com or on twitter Open Data Camp.

Is this going to be mainly men?

At Open Data Camp 4: bigger, better, wetter, we noticed our organising team was pretty good on gender diversity but that wasn’t reflected in the makeup of the camp. That’s why we’re working on ways we can make Open Data Camp 7 as welcoming as possible. Here’s what campmaker Sian Thomas says about Inclusivity and feeling able to make your best contribution.

Campmakers at Open Data Camp 5

Will there be folks who look like me?

Being the only person of colour in the room can be jarring – I know – that’s why I volunteered for Open Data Camp 7. Thanks to the success of events like Afrotech Fest, a tech festival by and for Black people of African and Caribbean heritage, we know events are not serving our ethnic groups as well as they could. We also know we need to work on the ethnic diversity of our campmakers.

We want to change and we know it will take more work than writing a blog. Our starting point is setting aside tickets specifically for underrepresented groups. You can book a ticket for Open Data Camp 7: London using the code ODCamp7EDIticket. On both days of the unconference we will have at least one session for people from underrepresented groups to get together, discuss the topics that matter, and help each other.

And if I’m LGBT+?

You’re very welcome at Open Data Camp! We’re working on ways we can make this and future events as welcoming as possible. We’re trying to do better please let us know what we can do. Get in touch by email ODCampuk@gmail.com or on twitter Open Data Camp.

What if I need a space to pray or meditate?

We’re providing a quiet space, the Marie Tharp retreat room, where you can pray or meditate during the camp. It’s private and available for anyone to use during the Open Data Camp weekend.

Marie Tharp Retreat Room
Marie Tharp Retreat Room

What else are you doing to make the camp welcoming?

We’ve developed our code of conduct and our campmakers are on hand if you have concerns.

So how do I get tickets?

Our next ticket launch will be announced on twitter Open Data Camp.

Open Data Camp 7

Open Data Camp #7: London, 2-3 November

In the past few years, the Open Data Camp charabanc has travelled from Winchester to Manchester, from Bristol to Cardiff, and from Belfast to Aberdeen. We’ve always made a point of being as inclusive as possible and giving the wider Open Data communities a way to coalesce in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. We have avoided London as “everything happens there already”.

It’s time to visit the capital

But we felt it was time to bring the charabanc to the capital. We are very happy to announce that the seventh Open Data Camp will be held in at the Geovation Hub in London, on 2-3 November 2019.

Why London now? Logistics are obviously a factor, with many in the organising team possibly busy around Whitehall for a certain other event in October. However, hosting a camp in London also resonated with many people and organisations in our wider network. Many things in the data space have been happening in London and we don’t want to ignore them. For example, there is ongoing work in London, where the National Data Strategy and Data Policy teams are based, while the ODI is running a series of great initiatives from their HQ in London. But we also know that mySociety is running its TICTeC Local conference on 1 November, an event we strongly recommend to the Open Data folks because of a huge overlap of interests and intent with the Civic Tech community it attracts.

We do hope that this will keep the diversity of angles and participants strong.

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, and Ordnance Survey are offering the venue at no charge, 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. These things cost money.

Sponsor packages start at just £500, 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 (but you can also contact @drsiant or @puntofisso directly).

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.

Tickets

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 but, with our regular ticketing arrangements, that means we’ve included them in the headcount even though someone else might have been able to attend instead. So we’re trying something new this time: we will issue three types of tickets:

  • tickets for both days
  • Saturday-only tickets
  • Sunday-only tickets

If you can make both days, please take a 2 day ticket. If you can only make one day, please take a Saturday-only or Sunday-only ticket. This should mean that more people can attend because we won’t have vacant spots. We’ll be reviewing the take-up of these tickets as we release batches so we can adjust the proportions to match demands. Please let us know what you think.

The first ticket batch will be released at 12 noon on Wednesday 31 July on our Eventbrite page.

Open data careers

What is the professional background of the people who have found themselves working in open data? And how are their careers likely to develop in the future?

The answer to the first question is that: it’s very diverse. A session at Open Data Camp 5 heard from people who had started out as foresters, commercial under-writers and as architects. And from people who had begun their careers in large DIY chains and councils.

Just one participant had been recruited to an open data project from university. And he had studied history while he was there.

Continue reading Open data careers

Making Open Data Camp matter – to local economies and more

What is the value to the local economy of open data – and open data unconferences? The wider benefit of open data to local economies is harder to quantify. There’s no E-MC^2 equation of open data benefit yet.

So let’s talk about unconferences, and Open Data Camp in particular.

 

Some organisers have a sense that it stimulates the economy, but no sense of how to measure that. There’s local sponsorship – so they’re expecting some return on that investment. It might be an opportunity to meet potential customers, or to improve their operational intelligence.

Corporate social responsibility is one reason people sponsor: it’s both a community benefit, but it also benefits companies to have a thriving open data ecosystem.

Continue reading Making Open Data Camp matter – to local economies and more

Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?

The interface team in Northern Ireland is tasked with dealing with the peace walls – Interfaces – which separate Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast and elsewhere – which are due to come down by 2023. The program has a Twitter account and Facebook accounts to increase engagement with individuals and communities concerned.

Cupar Way is the largest of the interface structures.

 

In order to get them down, then government has committed to only removing them with the consent of the involved communities – but actually reaching this point present significant challenges. And some of these areas are the most deprived in Northern Ireland.

Continue reading Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?

Open Data Camp 3 is underway: session pitching

ODCamp 3 Pre Work_3 small

And we’re off. Open Data Camp 3 (Bristol!) is underway. Probably about a third of the attendees are Open Data Camp veterans.

It’s pitching time. Let’s hunt for some themes:

  • Women and Open Data – not a women only session, men are welcome to listen.
  • Dataopolis – the open data boardgame
  • Hardware hacking – getting data from devices

Continue reading Open Data Camp 3 is underway: session pitching

Open Data Camp: The Good, The Bad and the Surreal

 

Liveblogged notes from the feedback session closing Open Data Camp 2015

Acts of ?Deity

  • Rain! Bad rain!

Logistics

  • Too many t-shirts
  • Too much food
  • Maybe stuff with a longer life to make it easier to donate
  • No milk for tea on Sunday
  • Bit more variety in veggie stuff
  • Vegan?
  • Cake was good!

Data

  • More information needed on who attendees are
  • Maybe split registration so we know how many people are attending each day
  • Capture geographical data
  • Capture Twitter handles and site addresses
  • Some people not happy to share that with commercial sites
  • Wordle of attendees’ RSS feeds?

Connectivity

  • WiFi connectivity is bit dodgy (but better than most conference)
  • VPNs are a problems.
  • SSID missing from badge

Social

  • Pub was a bit far away
  • No afterparty

Timing and organisation

  • Clarity on time – the change to the starting time wasn’t widely shared
  • Don’t assume newbies will understand how an unconference will work.Give them more details.
  • Tell people what times the sessions are at the beginning
  • Have the key organisers (or at least some who are free to aid people) introduce themselves, so you know who to go to for help.
  • One colour of organiser t-shirt, not two. Star Trek demands that it’s red…
  • Maybe the decision to coincide with Open Data Day was a mistake
  • We lost interesting people to local events
  • Ride share system? Cars – or travelling together by train
  • The Google Groups were difficult to use and hard to find
  • Hotel rate negotiated?

Session structure

  • 25 min to 30 min slots than can be put together for longer sessions
  • Lightning talks? 5 to 10 minute talks. Brings variety to the day
  • They would need gaps, a breakout area and Twitter handles on screen

Activities

  • The Cabinet Office released data sets for us – and they weren’t used
  • That means we don’t really have anything to show now
  • More diversity of datasets – museums? art galleries?

Marketing

  • We relied on Twitter and blogs
  • Sold out quickly – could we have used other channels?
  • Danger of getting stuck in one bubble of data geeks
  • T-shirts maybe not working?
  • Get sizes in advance
  • Stickers? NOT mugs
  • Publish data about the event on the site – a digital souvenir
  • Snoods? Hats?
  • Water bottle is a popular idea – would reduce waste
  • Room keen on no physical goods and digital data store
  • Lunchboxes for the food with stickers on?

Sponsors

  • Read them out
  • As URIs on the site?
  • Are we tracking why they sponsor us?
  • Sponsor talking slots – 5 mins.
  • Not all sponsors want more than the event to happen

Diversity

  • Gender diversity an issue on Sunday
  • More designers at the event? We need more data users.

See you next year?