All posts by Lyn Whitfield

Learning to love Linked Data

Linked data has been a topic of discussion at successive Open Data Camps. So at Open Data Camp 4 in Cardiff, Jen Williams of Networked Planet whipped through the basics.

Linked Data at Open Data Camp

“When people talk about linked data they are talking about putting it into a statement,” she said. “So in a normal spreadsheet, you have a lot of columns… with linked data you start with an identifier and then go to the column header, the ‘known as’, and then you go to the value. Continue reading Learning to love Linked Data

Do we need portals for open data?

After a quick sandwich lunch, people attending the Open Data Camp in Cardiff were challenged to a debate. Is a single point of access, aka a portal, the best way to open up access to data sources?

 

Speaking for the debate was Giuseppe Sollazzo, who co-authored a report on the NHS and open data. “One of the things we have discovered is that there is a recommendation for a single point of access. I am not necessarily a fan of a portal, but at this point we have no other option. Continue reading Do we need portals for open data?

Using open data to support Welsh speakers

The Welsh government has set ambitious targets to increase the number of Welsh speakers. At the moment, there are perhaps half a million, but by 2050 the government wants to see 1 million.

 

Session leader Ben Proctor said this presented an interesting open data challenge. “One of the things we have been kicking around in ODI Cardiff that there might be some useful things to do from a data point of view to inform this [target],” he said.

“We have been looking at whether there are existing models for language growth – there probably are, but we can’t find them – and if not can whether we can take some standard growth models and use them.

Continue reading Using open data to support Welsh speakers

What open data standards do we need?

Terence Eden from the Government Data Service had one of the most reacted-to pitches at Open Data Camp 4. Surely, he suggested to the more than 100 attendees packed into Cardiff’s Pierhead, data should always be released as pdf?

Open Data Standards

Of course, this was a joke. And at the session on ‘what open data standards do we need’ he said he had insisted that government departments released data in open document format.

This wasn’t openness for openness sake, he added. It was because he didn’t think it was reasonable for open data users to be expected to buy licenses for expensive, proprietary database and software projects where good, open and free alternatives existed.

Continue reading What open data standards do we need?

Open data ecosystems

The aim of the session was to map some open data ecosystems – because, as session leader Leigh Dodds of Bath:Hacked put it:

“We are often struggling to work out where the value is coming from.”

He added: “We often try to identify users and publish case studies, but there are lots more people working in open data than just publishers and users, so we want to try and capture some of these. We want to test out some roles, and find out how they fit together in a value analysis.”

Dodds had come up with a list of potential roles, which he was keen for the session to test out. These are available at bit.ly/odcamp-mapping: along with a sample map of Bath:Hacked’s own ecosystem.

Continue reading Open data ecosystems

The nuts and bolts of open data camp 3: a group review

New Doc 15_1

Feedback from day two: was mostly procedural (or what one delegate called ‘hygiene’ issues):

The goldfish bowl approach to debate?

Pro votes: 2. Anti votes: 1 Pro points: you know where the debate is coming from. Anti points: It’s against the spirit of an unconference; makes it hard to contribute; in principle you can signal that you want to take part or step out, but can you, actually?

Continue reading The nuts and bolts of open data camp 3: a group review

Open Data for Newbies

Open Data for n00bs

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

Expert panel/Q&A

Building-the-perfect-FOI-request-DrawnalismNew-Doc-13_1.jpg

An expert panel session at Open Data Camp 3 turned out to be less of a Q&A on the minutiae of data sets and their use than a passionate debate about the direction that the open data movement is taking.

There was concern that after much excitement – even hype – about the impact that simply releasing data sets could have, disillusion was setting in as decision making processes remained unchanged and communities remained unaware of the information sources available to them – and the impact this could have. The debate concluded with some passionate calls to make it easier to uncover data and to make it less ‘scary’, so that more people could use it.

Continue reading Expert panel/Q&A

Open data platform requirements

Open data platform requirements, Bristol, capture

What should an open data platform look like? This was the question addressed by a session triggered by Martin Howitt of ODI Devon in relation to Bristol’s plans to develop its platform.

“[There is] an open data platform that was brought in by the council [to release] data sets, but it wants to move on to next level: e.g. citizen sensing projects, citizen data sets, information from third sector and even private sector partners,” he said.

Continue reading Open data platform requirements

Better Highways with Open Data

Highways open data issues capture

Highways may look like the perfect area for open data initiatives. There is lots of data about highways assets; there is public demand for new services, such as websites or apps through which they can report potholes; and councils have incentives to get involved.

As Teresa Jolly, the leader of a session on highways pointed out, councils need to start making better use of their data, because people are saying:

We have all these new demands on us, and we have no money. How can we start talking to our communities about meeting their real needs without breaking the bank.

Continue reading Better Highways with Open Data