Tag Archives: opendata

Open data to tackle loneliness

The government recently published a loneliness strategy, asking how support could be provided for people in “society as it is now”. In other words, in a society in which people travel further for work, but shop online and make use of social media.

How could open data support its aims? What data would be useful, where would we find it, and is just sharing that data enough?

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Are Open Data businesses viable?

Is just repackaging and selling open data viable? Or should businesses be more sophisticated, aggregating and adding valuable insights to the data?


Some data sets are switching from OGL to restricted licences – like the ratings list. That has stopped some uncomfortable commercial uses – but killed some academic uses as well. The OS polygon data has been problematic because the co-ordinates can’t be republished. That’s been tightened up in a way that makes them completely useful commercially, because of wording that encapsulates all “benefitting” from the data.

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Open Data: the policy problem

Open Data: the policy problem

Owen Boswarva

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?

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Open Data from space

ODCamp Day One_5

WARNING – liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling affronts to grammar and syntax. Posts will be improved over the next 48 hours

There’s increasing amounts of data available from remote sensing – satellite, aerial – and more existing data sets are being opened up. Some of it is about land covers, some about surface elevations and some about pollution modelling.

But the data is challenging. There’s a lot of it, and it often requires several steps to get to the information you actually want. You have to identify the area you want – and draw out the data you want.

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How do we persuade businesses to release open data?

WARNING – liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling affronts to grammar and syntax. Posts will be improved over the next 48 hours

Opening up corporate data

Google Docs notes for this session

The Food Standards Agency is working hard to open up its data. But how do they encourage others in the food chain to open up business data? There’s some clear value in doing that.

Is that value also there in other sectors? And how do we persuade business to open up their data?

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How to map everything – and how to share it

WARNING – liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling affronts to grammar and syntax. Posts will be improved over the next 48 hours

Map Everything_1

Google Docs notes for this session

(Alistair Rae introduced the ideas for this session in a blog post: How to map everything (but you definitely shouldn’t)

The age of open data has created an George Mallory approach to geo data: why did you create it? Because it’s there. Alistair has created loads of maps just because he could. But “why?” needs to be asked more.

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Datopolis: the board game for open data

Datopolis - captured

Google Docs notes for this session

Datopolis is a board game, created by Jeni Tennison and Ellen Broad from the Open Data Institute. At the outset of the session, Ellen explained that the game has been in development for around 12 months, and is still being prototyped.

The aim, naturally, is to explain the principles of open data and how they can be put to work. Jeni took a keen – if slightly apprehensive – set of players through the basics. The key pieces are hexagonal data tiles, she said, which represent data sets of different types. Clouds, for example, are weather data. Trains are transport. The tiles have two sides: a closed side and an open side.

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Open Data Camp 2.0 – Details Announced

Map of United Kingdom and Ireland with markers showing where ODcamps have been, in Winchester and Hampshire
ODCamp on Tour!


On the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June, several of the organisers of Open Data Camp were at Blue Light Camp – helping to spread the open data love. In the midst of the activity, a tweet was smuggled out:

All true..!

We have been working hard to make sure that Open Data Camp moves around the country, and given the first one was in deepest southern England, we really wanted to bring the next one up North. We asked for people to put forward their recommendations – and though there was some initial interest from Leeds and Bradford – the only concrete proposals were from Manchester (The Shed, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital Innovation Centre) and Preston (The Media Innovation Studio at the University of Central Lancashire). Both are excellent venues, but we, the organisers, decided that because ODCamp is still in its early days, we could make good use of the well-established open data community in Manchester to bring a local flavour to the camp, while retaining the national (international?!) prominence.

So, the details that we know so far are that it will be held on the 10th and 11th of October 2015, at The Shed, Manchester. And that’s it! Because it’s an unconference, we don’t know what will happen, but if its anything like the first one, there will be a LOT of cake excellent sessions, pitched by incredible open data people.

Any suggestions, comments or feedback would be great – either through the comments box below, or on twitter. You could probably tap up the organisers directly if you want the personal touch. As a reminder, we are:

Mark Braggins
James Cattell
Neil Ford
Hendrik Grothuis
Martin Howitt
Lucy Knight
Pauline Roche
Giuseppe Sollazzo
Sasha Taylor
Sian Thomas
Jamie Whyte

We think we need a smattering of local knowledge to make sure the camp is a success, both to help connect us with local groups and businesses, and to help with the social side. For these, we’ve asked two people to join the organisers:

Julian Tait, of Open Data Manchester
Vim Appadoo, of SpacePortX

Keep an eye on this site for more details as they are released – ticketing etc. You should also follow ODCamp on twitter for updates.

Finally, these sorts of things would absolutely not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors. If you feel like you can contribute to the costs in exchange for publicity (and a warm feeling inside), see our sponsors pages.

Many thanks, and we look forward to seeing you in October!

The Organisers