One of the first sessions on Sunday morning session at Open Data Camp 5 gave people from the ODI Nodes network the chance to meet and discuss progress, under the Chatham House rule.
There’s some tension between the ODI’s suggestion that the nodes might become more commercial, and some nodes aren’t really keen on that direction. Some – including Bristol – have reorganised on a way that would allow the work to continue even if they are no longer a node.
Continue reading ODI Nodes: a state of the nation discussion
There used to be a strategy board and an open data user group, and many other groups steering open data at the policy level. But most of these have now gone away. The one that seems to have survived in the Data Steering Group – but that has a wide range of interests – and we don’t know how interested they are in open data. Other groups seem to have evaporated. None of them have met since 2013/14.
Some sector boards still seem to be in effect. Should these surviving groups be steered from inside or outside government? There are some clearly missing. There’s a good pool of practitioners – but how do people outside the community find out about open data now? And how do we push for more release?
Continue reading Open Data: the policy problem
This session set out to create an open document (of course) full of resources and tools about open data. Leader Simon Redding said he wanted to find out where the gaps are; so they can be filled over time.
Other participants said such a resource would be useful for guiding communities towards data sources hey could use. This might address some of the issues surfaced during the expert Q&A session, which discussed concerns about the direction of the open data movement.
Continue reading Open Data for Newbies
Warning: Liveblogging – prone to error, inaccuracy, and howling affronts to grammar. This post will be improved over the course of a few days.
A session sharing handy open data tools that participants have built or found that might just make your life easier.
Google document for this session
Chris Gutteridge, University of Southampton
- Prefix.cc – look up namespaces for RDF
- Graphite PHP Linked Data Library – most of the RDF tools are written by academics who are clever, and assume that others are clever. Chris just wanted to build something easy – and that’s what Graphite is. It’s an easy way of exploring linked data. It makes it easy to debug the RDF code you create. The development version has a SPARQL interface, making it easy to build SPARQL queries.
- Alicorn – a tool for generating pages from linked data.
- RDF Browser – a quick and dirty RDF browser
- Triple Checker – a tool to check for common errors in RDF Triples.
- Hedgehog – an RDF publishing platform
All of the source code for these is available on GitHub.
James Smith, ODI
The ODI tends to focus on simpler tools – and formats like CSV. Some much data out there is in poor condition.
- CSVlint – a validator for data in CSV format, which also works with schemas. In alpha currently, and aiming for beta this year.
- Open Data Certificates – a project to help people make assurances around their data, that gives others the confidence to build from it.
- Git Data Publisher – a tool to help you publish your open data, guiding you through what you need to do.
- Gangplank – an open source data publishing platform
The gamification of big data is what Ellen Broud and the Open Data Institute are exploring with The Open Data Board Game Project.
Broud with her Australian brogue used her Saturday morning session at ODcamp to crowdsource ideas for what data could be used in the prospective board game, how, and, significantly, the wider benefits of using it.
The room was asked to feedback what types of open data would:
- help to establish some sort of utopia
- best fit the board game framework.
She used the example of energy efficiency, with prospective gamers using information to achieve greater savings. The game would highlight to non-data geeks how open data is a really important thing.
First, the group tried deciding what kind of game it would:
- Old school (as in actually on an board)
- Augmented reality.
It was mostly agreed that such a data-driven game would probably be more at home on a device, though they also stressed how they didn’t just want to make another Sim City.
The Complexity Crisis
Next question: complexity. The clever data types in the room have an expertise well beyond the gamers they’re pitching to. So how do you take that expertise and translate it? Do you try for a one-size fits all? Do you have different versions for different subjects?
Broud recalled her struggles learning to code using the hard-to-understand Ruby Warrior. The board game shouldn’t be like that. After some hemming and hawing, the game turned out like a crazy version of Sim City, but that’s not really a board game.
But what about the central thesis that the wall of ‘data idea’ post-it-notes was supposed to provide?
One audience closed the session by saying:
It should show that no data is bad. And that you should feel bad.