Tag Archives: Swirrl

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!

 

Open Data Camp Episode 6: Return of the data

This post was originally published on Swirrl’s blog.

I’m totally ready for my unconference pitch (source: pixabay)

What are you doing on Saturday 3rd November and Sunday 4th? If you don’t know, but are a fan of all things open data, then head on down to Open Data Camp at the University of Aberdeen where a bunch of very enthusiastic and informed people, (including us!) will be there to discuss, debate, listen to and enjoy all manner of open data.

If you’ve never been to an Open Data Camp, you’re in exactly the same position as I was last October — to allay any worries that it may not be worth a weekend of your time please read my post on what you can expect there because (spoiler alert) it was ace.

We’ve sponsored Open Data Camp since it started and we’re happy to be sponsoring again. See you there!

Swirrl at Open Data Camp 3

We’re happy to say Swirrl is once again sponsoring Open Data Camp as it heads towards Bristol for its next leg.

It’s our favourite conference on data: attracting a crowd of people who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what they do, exchanging ideas and news in a relaxed atmosphere.

We’re grateful to the team of volunteer organisers (see the Eventbrite page for a list – thanks all!) for all their efforts to put on these events, and we’re glad to help by putting in some money towards the costs.

Our CEO, Bill Roberts, will be there and keen to talk about publishing, connecting and analysing open data, making better use of statistical data in the public sector, connecting up satellite data to the web, and more.

Looking forward to seeing you in Bristol!

(PS: if you like Open Data Camp, you’ll probably also like the Data-Driven Decisions event that Swirrl is running in Manchester on 26 May 2016. Tickets now available! Tickets are free, but we’re asking for donations to Manchester Coder Dojo, helping inspire and educate our next generation of technologists.)

 

Swirrl: We’re delighted to support ODCamp again

Open Data Camp v2.0 is coming to Manchester in October and we’re happy to say we’ll be sponsoring it once more!  Just like the first Open Data Camp, it’s devoted to all things Open Data over two days and is a great style of event; with an unconference set up and lots of enthusiastic people who really know their stuff on a range of topics.

We’re delighted to support ODCamp because if the Winchester event in February was anything to go by it will be great fun and very interesting, but also because there will be lots of current or potential users of our PublishMyData open data publishing platform there.

It’s a great opportunity for us to hear about what kind of problems people are trying to solve with data; what kind of datasets they are trying to connect together and what approaches they are taking to analysing the data to help them with their decision making.

We’ll have a chance to show off some of the ways we can already help with that, and go home with a bucketload of ideas for how to make PublishMyData better still.

And it’s being held 10 minutes walk from our office – so if anyone needs tips on where to find good beer or curry, let us know!

 

 

Linking open data

We’re happy to be sponsoring the first Open Data Camp UK and we’re looking forward to hearing, and seeing, what people are doing with Open Data. To us, as data publishers, the best thing about opening up data is the freedom it gives you to create something useful.

But if you link your open data the possibilities really open up. So, in that spirit, this post is about what publishing Linked Open Data really means and some of the practical advantages it has.

Linked Data is:

“a method of publishing structured data [on the web] so that it can be interlinked and become more useful.”

With Linked Data, each data point (i.e thing or fact) has its very own URL on the Web. This is unique and because it’s readily available on the internet, people can look it up easily. And Linked Open Data can also contain links to other facts, so you can discover more, related data.

The linked data “cloud”

But Linked Data also rocks if you want to make something with the data. This is because when you look up the linked data page, all the metadata about it is embedded in: so there are no ambiguous column names to slow you down.

And if data is published as linked, as well as being published on a web site, it means that it comes with APIs, including a SPARQL endpoint – so developers can query the data in a variety of formats and use the data in their own programs.

But it’s not just for the techies – if you’re not technical, linking up your open data has other advantages.

  • It makes it easier to work with open data across organisations and departments because it’s not locked into silos: anyone can access it, making it truly open.
  • Linking open data with other data sources and having specific names for things saves time and effort when problem solving. Take a look at Steve Peters’ post on Joining The Dots across departments.
  • It’s low cost and sustainable – you convert the data once and reuse it – again and again. As part of our PublishMyData service, you can update your data yourself.
  • By linking your open data, it makes it easier to create apps and visualisations which are a friendly, quick way in to the data.
Swirrl’s event space at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Technology

And on 21st April 2015 we’ll be sponsoring an event of our own: Local Open Data:Reaping the Benefits.

This is a one day event at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. Its aim is to bring together people working with, or interested in, data at a local level.

You can check out our awesome speakers here, or register your interest.

Photo credit

The linked data cloud features in the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linked_data and is attributed to Anja Jentzsch