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?
Session leader Phil Weir from Flax&Teal said he had decided to pitch the session because his company had been working on a project to report on data sets and issues with them. In the course of doing that, he said, potential users of data said their problem was finding it.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
And so we have announced @ODcamp 2: 10-11 October, in Manchester.
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:
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:
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 sponsorspages.
Many thanks, and we look forward to seeing you in October!