Tag Archives: blog

Food Standards Agency supporting Open Data Camp again!

The Food Standards Agency is delighted to be sponsoring Open Data Camp 5 in Belfast.  Particularly as it is home to some of our staff and one of our offices.  And in the Open Data world of food, Northern Ireland is pretty special – it is the second country to mandate display of FHRS ratings for food premises.  So, if you are joining us in Belfast be sure to look out for eateries with a high score!

Of course, the catering provider for the event has an FHRS of 5!  Wouldn’t want anything other than ‘Good’ for our attendees.

Finally, FSA staff attending look forward to seeing many of you in Belfast.  We are really looking forward to an Open Data focussed weekend with like-minded people.  Look out for us throughout the event.  Siân, John and Naomi.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency sponsors Open Data Camp

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency are pleased to be sponsoring the Open Data Camp NI promoting the use and re-use of government statistical data.

The Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS) is one function of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), an Agency of the Department of Finance.

The aim of NINIS is to make small area information held within Central Government and Non-Departmental Public Bodies available to as wide an audience as possible. The NINIS website contains over 2,600 datasets on a range of socio-economic themes at small-area statistical geographies; area profiles that provide statistical snapshots of an area and interactive maps that enable statistics to be interpreted readily in a spatial context. All datasets are accompanied by standardised metadata with contact details for the data supplier.

The NINIS data portal (www.nisra.gov.uk/ninis), which has been around since 2003, is one part of NINIS. We also provide advice on understanding small area statistics on an ad-hoc basis through the NISRA customer line and email, and through NINIS monthly seminars.

NISRA is committed to increasing the amount of data released in open and re-usable formats in the production of its statistical outputs and NINIS is key to progressing this Open Data Agenda with data being free to download in Open Document Spreadsheet (ODS) format.

The NINIS website has had on average over 10,000 visits each month.

Users can keep up to date with NINIS by subscribing to the NINIS E-zine or by following NISRA on twitter (@NISRA).

Driving Open Data Impact

#OpenDataImpact

Ireland has been highlighted as an Open Data Leader in Europe, ranking 3rd in a European Open Data Maturity Study on Open Data readiness, maturity, impact and policy. An impressive outcome considering that the Irish National Open Data Portal is relatively new. Officially launched in 2014 by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, data.gov.ie has grown from 450 datasets to over 5,500 datasets, and has ~7,500 monthly visitors.

Derilinx has supported data.gov.ie since its launch, and in that time, we have seen more and more Public-Sector Bodies engage with the Open Data Initiative. Originally, the focus of the Initiative was on making data available – Raw Data Now – release the data quickly, even if it is a bit messy. Users were mainly categorised as citizens, looking for more information about public sector services, or developers, building apps on top of datasets.

As Open Data Initiatives mature, so too does the way that Open Data is being used and can have an impact. Today, we see that there are multiple beneficiaries of Open Data release; from individuals using Open Data as a core element of their work (e.g. citizens, journalists, students), to research institutions and civil-society organisations that want to carry out and give context to studies; and from SMEs that are incorporating Open Data as a key ingredient in their business models, to MNCs that are utilising Open Data in their analysis and decision-making.

Open Data Impact is one of the most important aspects of an Open Data ecosystem, but often one of the biggest unknowns. That is why Derilinx decided to launch the Open Data Impact Series – to promote awareness, adoption and use of Open Data in different sectors, and support the publication of high-quality Open Data. Our inaugural session ‘ Creating Business Opportunities with Open Data’ took place on 26th Sept 2017 and focused on how Open Data is a valuable resource for businesses, which can be used to build new applications, enhance existing products or provide additional context for decision making. You can read the outcomes of our event here.

At ODCamp 5, we want to continue the discussion, picking up on a number of points that were highlighted at the #OpenDataImpact event, namely:

Demand-driven Open Data

On the one hand, we all want to get our hands on as much Open Data as possible asap. On the other, putting in place automated publication processes for up-to-date, high-quality datasets takes time and effort. Should the publication of certain datasets be prioritised by Public Bodies, and if so, how can this prioritisation take place?

How to measure Open Data Impact

Everyone is interested in knowing the impact of Open Data reuse. However, because access to Open Data is anonymous, how can we identify and measure the direct and indirect outcomes of Open Data publication?

Motivating Public Bodies to systemise Open Data publication

While publishing datasets one at a time is good start for Open Data publishing, how can Public Bodies be encouraged to embed Open Data publication into their overall data management strategy, so that they are truly Open by Default.

Standardisation of Open Data across Public Bodies

Different organisations collect, manage and process a wide variety of datasets, which can then be published as Open Data. The value of Open Data is often derived when it is consumed with data from different sources. However, such integration requires that data is interoperable; otherwise a large amount of effort is spent on data cleaning. How can the use of standards be promoted to facilitate data interoperability?

As a regular participant at ODCamps, Derilinx is delighted to sponsor ODCamp5 in Belfast!

Belfast Open Data Camp: how are YOU getting value out of data?

At the last OD Camp, Leigh Dodds pointed out that:

“We’re often struggling to work out where the value is coming from”

This is completely something we are keen to continue talking and hearing about at OD Camp 5 in a few weeks’ time. Like Paddington Bear, Jamie and I will be packing our marmalade sandwiches to travel across the sea. Unlike Paddington, we’re doing it because we’re keen to hear about what problems people are solving with data and what the different approaches to solving those problems are. Who’s collecting the data? Who’s communicating the analysis to those people making decisions? Who, what, when, where, why?

Paddington Bear: fellow seafaring traveller and marmalade sandwich fan

As Ric (our CTO) puts it:

“Much of the value of data comes from combining it with other things, so it’s definitely worth putting effort into making it connectable. And each step of the chain needs to be able to communicate clearly with the adjacent steps for this to work well, which relies on agreement and coordination from the actors involved”

It’s going to be all kinds of good — look forward to seeing you there!

Swirrl are sponsors of Open Data Camp 5, which is coming to Belfast on 21st October and have been sponsors of Open Data Camp since it first sprouted its wings in February 2015.

Open Data Camp – 10 out of 10. Would attend again

This post was originally published on the ONS Digital blog

In October this year a group of like-minded folks will be meeting at Queen’s University in Belfast to chat about open data. They will be doing so under the banner of Open Data Camp, an unconference for those interested in making information from a wide range of sources “open”.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of an unconference, it is a format based more around peer-to-peer learning, creativity and collaboration.

In the context of this unconference, open can mean many things. In the depths of the technicalities of machine readable serialisation, the legality of data reuse, or how to convince your boss that making information available in only PDFs tends to be, shall we say, sub-optimal.

The reason I am writing this post here on @onsdigital is because I am pleased to say we are sponsoring Open Data Camp. We get asked to be involved in a lot of different conferences, but are not able to say yes to many, so I wanted to write a little about why this one is important to us and what we hope to gain from the weekend.

Primarily, we do this because we care about this community hugely and want to help ensure events like this can be financially viable. We also do it because ONS data being open is important if we are to ensure the greatest possible social and economic benefits for the public.

I’ve written about some of this over in my own blog, but don’t take my word for it, listen to Sir Tim during his Ted talk .

As part of this, Tim suggests:

“What you find if you deal with people in government departments is that they hug their database, hold it really close, so that they can build a beautiful website to present it.

I would like to suggest: sure, make a beautiful website, but first, give us – all of us – the unadulterated data. We have to ask for raw data now.”

I still regard this as pretty much the most important statement anyone has made about what the digital relationship between the citizen and the state is and what it could be.

Here at ONS we have been thinking about this a lot, have done some things that hopefully start us in the right direction for opening things up and know we have an awful lot more ground to cover.

We started with defining (with the help of Leigh Dodds) some open data publishing principles.

We are using these to inform the work we are currently doing on a project we are referring to as “Customise My Data”. This is a project to make some fairly fundamental changes to the way we publish data. The goals are to ensure that we move away from being an organisation that publishes excel and into one that publishes a consistent backbone of data, that allows users to breakdown our data into smaller parts and enables machine readable access to statistics (not spreadsheets)

I am hoping to pitch a session at open data camp around how we can make the data we publish through this system as open as possible and as useful for our users as we can make it.

A few final tickets for the event are going to be made available soon (it is free to attend) and I look forward to having some interesting conversations with those of you I get to meet over the weekend.

If you are unable to attend, but are interested in offering feedback on the work we are doing around open data at ONS, please get in touch with me directly, or register your interest to take part in the user research we are undertaking. We have upcoming sessions in London, Sheffield and Liverpool.

Photo available under Open Government Licence v3.0

Open Data in Northern Ireland – what’s happening??

We recently blogged about our excitement that Open Data Camp is coming to Belfast! As we said in that post:

“This is hugely exciting news for everyone interested in the release of & the re-use of Open Data here in Northern Ireland, providing the local open data community with a fantastic opportunity to engage with colleagues working with open data in other parts of the UK and further afield.”

In this guest post for Open Data Camp, we thought we’d provide a bit of background on what has been happening around open data in Northern Ireland.

Open Data in Northern Ireland – what’s happening??

Northern Ireland was a bit of a late starter to Open Data, but we hope because of this we have been able to learn from others about what works and what does not….

The NI open data portal went live in November 2015 and in 2017 we were placed 10th in the Global Open Data Index out of 94 nations/regions assessed! We were delighted at this placing, however, we still have a huge amount of work to be done in order to realise our goal of making all NI public sector data ‘open by default’.

Background

Strategy

“Open by default” is the position of the Northern Ireland Open Data Strategy published in 2015. There are obvious exceptions in respect of personal data, security, commercial, intellectual property rights or environmental importance.

There are nine open data principles in the strategy, and these determine how we implement open data in Northern Ireland. You can read all about them in the NI Open Data Strategy.  

Portal/s

There is one portal for all Northern Ireland public sector open data – OpenDataNI. This is a CKAN platform which is supplemented with a Microsoft Azure cloud for larger datasets. It went live in November 2015 and we are concentrating on getting key datasets that are in demand published.

The aim of the ODNI portal is to establish & promote best practice standards, to not only enable access to the data but also to ensure that it conforms to metadata standards & open accessibility standards.

The portal has the facility for users to Suggest data to be published – Departments then have 10 days to reply to say if the data can be released (i.e. does not fall within any of the exceptions in the strategy) or not and if it can be released, they must put forward a date by which the data will be published.

Users can also comment on published datasets and on other people’s suggested datasets.

Outside of the public sector there is the Detail Data portal which is part of the detail data project – a BIG Lottery NI funded partnership between the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and The Detail investigative journalism website.

The aim of the project is to develop the ability of the voluntary and community sector to use data effectively to create and enhance social, economic and environmental value.

The positives – So what is working?

OpenDataNI Portal

Technically enforcing the mandatory creation of DCAT metadata in order to publish open data has been very successful.

Enforcing a mandatory level of 3 Stars of open data has also been successful.

To date, we have 260 datasets published on the open data portal with an average audience of just over 2000 users per month which is steadily increasing.

We have had some key datasets published including all government held LiDAR data for rivers, road upgrades and key heritage sites. There are also 450,000 rows of prescription data published on the site per month, totalling a staggering 5.4 million rows of data per year – we now have 4 years’ worth of prescription data published.

Stimulating reuse

We currently have 16 showcases published on the portal; via twitter, we promote these showcases and seek more from the OD user community so as to demonstrate what they are doing with open data. We have showcases on topics ranging from an application to identify trees in Belfast City Council area, to an interactive visualisation of car accidents in Northern Ireland.

We also ran a successful challenge last year asking participants to use data from OpenDataNI to create new and innovative teaching resources for either primary or secondary level schools.

The 2 winning projects were Our Raging Planet aimed at geography students to simulate natural disasters such as volcanoes and earthquakes in a local environment, and Gaff Game which teaches students to learn SQL programming language using datasets from OpenDataNI to find the best place to live in Belfast. You can check out our video about the challenge or read more about it.

User community

We are increasingly working with a wider user community for NI open data. We have an internal Implementation Board driving forward the open data strategy with representation from all 9 government departments. But we also have set up an Open Data Advisory Panel which consists of local private sector companies, academia, voluntary and community, open government representatives and local technical activists. We consult them for advice and as a sounding board for ideas.

The ODI Belfast node launched in September 2015. It is a Learning and Networking Node which aims to contribute to the local and regional development of open data, ensuring open data for everyone.

The node has been a great addition to NI providing training, completing research projects, holding open data events and generally promoting the benefits of open data for Northern Ireland. ODI Belfast is based at the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).

The Ulster University runs an Interactive Media BA (Hons) course and now has a module entirely devoted to working with OpenDataNI data!

The barriers – What is not working?

Despite extensive engagement by the OpenDataNI team with the broader NI public sector, we are still faced with low levels of proactive publication of open data by our public sector…. the majority of releases are driven by the Suggested Dataset mechanism by the user community.

What we are hoping will change this is a combination of

    • more targeted engagement at senior level to highlight the benefits of publishing data as open data;
    • we are also planning to publically release a dashboard created from our open data publications, of the numbers of datasets by publisher and also the status of the suggested datasets; and
    • we are also working towards automated data publishing and are currently running a pilot project.

We obviously are open to all other suggestions and are really looking forward to #ODCamp in Belfast, where we can chat with others who may be able to tell us what in their experience helps.

Tourism plug!

Belfast has much to offer attendees from here and further afield…. just by way of example, Belfast was named as the best UK city at the 2016 Guardian and Observer Travel Awards.

Visitors to Open Data Camp 5 in Belfast can be assured of the warmest of warm welcomes, and we hope that many will avail themselves of the opportunity to take in some of the many sights and attractions that Belfast and the surrounding area has to offer whilst here. Here are some links to find the top things to do in Belfast before and after #ODCamp!

Discover Northern Ireland

Visit Belfast

 

The Data Place sponsors Open Data Camp

 

The Data Place is delighted to be a sponsor for Open Data Camp 5; democratising the publishing and use of open data is something we firmly believe in and there are few better ways to do that than by bringing people together to talk, experiment and collaborate.

Although we only formally launched a few months ago, we’ve spent over a year participating in data-focused events around the country to get a real understanding of what people need from data and how they can get the most from it.

Screenshot from The Data Place

We’ve seen at first hand the importance of data communities—intersecting interest groups who believe in the power of data to tackle problems, find new opportunities and hold those in power to account—and Open Data Camp has proved to be one of the most fertile grounds for their emergence and development.

So, as sponsors of the latest event we’re actively supporting the growth of this important forum, but we’re also being a little bit selfish: taking an active role allows us to benefit even more from the wisdom, ideas and needs that help us build a better product. And, of course, it’s a pretty fun weekend.

Open Data Camp with a Welsh flavour

This post was first published on the Epimorphics blog.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Open Data Camp continues to grow and and build a diverse open data community. I’m delighted that just before St. David’s Day it is visiting the Pierhead in Cardiff….

Image: “The Pierhead” by: Alex Coley: CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d2Fuef  

Open Data Camp continues to grow and and build a diverse open data community. I’m delighted that just before St. David’s Day it is visiting the Pierhead in Cardiff.  Cardiff was my home for many years and is a place I have huge affection for.  More importantly, this is a great opportunity for the open data community to discuss and highlight some of the Welsh context of Open Data.

There are many public bodies in Wales doing great things with Open Data. The Welsh Government is growing their open data resources and implementing their open data plan. The ODI Node: Cardiff continues to grow, connect and equip people across Wales to innovate with data. It would be great for all of us to be able to add some data stories to the developing community from across Wales.

We at Epimorphics are looking forward to what has become great forum for discussion, hearing great data stories and sharing challenges. We will be attending again and are proud to be sponsoring the event.

We’d love to see you there but as a reminder tickets are going fast. The next batch of tickets will be released on Sunday 8th Jan, see here for more details.  

Byddwn yn eich gweld yn fuan.

 

Open Data Camp 4 – festive update

This is a quick post to update you on preparations for Open Data Camp 4, and to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Preparations underway

So far, we’ve released two batches of tickets, and they’ve been snapped-up really fast.

49 tickets have been issued so far, and there are another 71 remaining.

These will also be released in batches on the following dates:

  • Sunday 8th January at 8pm
  • Friday 13th January 2017 at 4pm
  • Thursday 19th January at 12noon

Who’s coming?

As you probably already know, Open Data Camp is free to attend, and is open to everyone. We often get asked who attends Open Data Camp. We obviously can’t divulge any personal information, and some people choose not to volunteer any additional information about themselves, but we can share a summary.

Sector theme

We suggested some sector themes for attendees, and those who responded selected the following themes:

Sector theme Number
Data Infrastructure 13
Open Cities (or Smart Cities) 13
Data as Culture 11
Agriculture and Nutrition 4
Global Development 2

Job titles

There’s a really wide range of job titles amongst attendees who chose to tell us their title, with students, researchers, policy people, founders, directors, CEOs, analysts, developers and technicians, and many more besides.

We’re starting to get all Christmassy, so here it is as a picture (click to see full size).

Organisations

Here are some of the organisations attendees identify with. With three more ticket releases to go, there will be lots more yet to come.

Diversity

At the moment, attendees are approximately ⅓ female and ⅔ male, which is remarkably similar to all three previous events. There are still several opportunities through the forthcoming ticket releases on Jan 8th, 13th and 19th to attract a diverse range of attendees. The Open Data Camp organising team currently comprises 10 men and 6 women, and for the previous Camp, we adopted a Code of Conduct to ensure that we continue to have an enjoyable event for everyone.

Practicalities and logistics

If you’ve managed to grab a ticket, you may have some questions about how to get to the venue, and where to stay. Take a look at the Venue and Accommodation page on the web site. We’ll be keeping it updated, and posting more information as we get it. If you’re stuck, let us know at @ODCamp on Twitter, or through the contact page on the web site, and we’ll try to help. We’d also welcome any other suggestions on good (and cheap!) places to stay, or any tips on local hostelries.

That’s it for now

Merry Christmas!

Picture credits

Word clouds thanks to Tagul

Announcing Open Data Camp 4

Open Data Camp is back!

Click to skip to this post in Welsh.

odc4-1We are delighted to announce that Open Data Camp is returning once again. Open Data Camp 4 will be the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 25/26th February 2017, at The Pierhead in Cardiff.

We are extremely grateful to Assembly Member Mark Drakeford, of the National Assembly for Wales, who has sponsored our use of the Pierhead building.

In case you’ve no idea what Open Data Camp is, here’s a quick recap:

Open

‘Open’ means that data has made available with little or no restriction on its use, as set out in a licence.

Data

‘Data’, refers to text, words, numbers, images, sound and video etc. (Hang on, what’s the difference between data and information? See this useful explanation.)

Camp

‘Camp’ is a term commonly used to refer to an ‘unconference’, which basically means it’s an event with no predefined agenda – instead, attendees ‘pitch’ session ideas to each other.

“Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share.”

More to follow

Tickets (free!) will be released in batches on the following dates & times (all times are GMT):

  • Wednesday 14th December at 3pm
  • Tuesday 20th December at 12noon
  • Sunday 8th January at 8pm
  • Friday 13th January 2017 at 4pm
  • Thursday 19th January at 12noon

We’ll be sharing lots more information – including how to book your ticket(s) – on the Open Data Camp blog, via @ODCamp on Twitter, and using hashtag #ODCamp in the coming weeks.

 

29929792165_c091995192_z
The Pierhead

Photo credit

The Pierhead building, by Nigel Bishop on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/MAN1tp

Open Data Camp word cloud based on Pierhead building outline, created using Tagul

Yn datgan Gwersyll Data Agored 4

Mae Gwersyll Data Agored yn ol!

Rydym yn falch i ddatgan bod Gwersyll Data Agored yn dod yn ol unwaith eto. Bydd Gwersyll Data Agored 4 yn cael ei gynnal ar benwythnos dydd Sadwrn a dydd Sul y 25/26ain o Chwefror 2017, yn Adeilad y Pierhead yng Nghaerdydd.

Rydym yn hynod o ddiolchgar i Aelod Cynulliad Mark Drakeford, o Gynulliad Cenhedlaethol Cymru, sydd wedi noddi ein defnydd o adeilad y Pierhead.

Rhag ofn nad oes ganddoch syniad beth yw Gwersyll Data Agored, dyma crynodeb sydyn:

Gwersyll

Mae ‘gwersyll’ yn cyfeirio yn aml i ‘anghynhadledd’ (‘unconference‘), sydd yn golygu bod yn ddigwyddiad yn dechrau heb agenda rhagosodol – yn hytrach, mae mynychwyr yn cynnig (‘pitch’) syniadau i’w gilydd ar gyfer sessiynnau.

Data

Gall ‘Data’ cyfeirio at testun, geiriau, lluniau, swn, fideo, a.y.y.b. (Ond disgwyl.. beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhwng data a gwybodaeth? Gwelwch yr esboniad defnyddiol yma.)

Agored

Golygai ‘Agored’ bod data ar gael hefo ychydig neu dim o rwystrau ar sut ellid ei defnyddio, fel a osodwyd allan mewn trwydded.

“Data agored yw data gall unrhyw un cyrchu, defnyddio a rhannu.”

Mwy i ddilyn

Mae ticedi (am ddim) yn cael eu rhyddhau mewn sypiau ar y dyddiadau & amseroedd canlynol (dengys yr amser yn GMT):

  • Dydd Mercher 14fed Rhagfyr am 3y.p.

  • Dydd Mawrth 20fed Rhagfyr am 12y.p.

  • Dydd Sul 8fed Ionawr am 8y.p.

  • Dydd Gwener 13fed Ionawr am 4y.p.

  • Dydd Iau 19fed Ionawr am 12 y.p.

Byddwn yn rhannu llawer mwy o wybodaeth – yn cynnwys sut i archebu eich ticed(i) – ar flog Gwersyll Data Agored, ar @ODCamp ar trydar, ac yn defnyddio hashnod #ODCamp yn yr wythnosau sy’n dilyn…

Credyd ffoto

Yr adeilad Pierhead, gan Nigel Bishop ar Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/MAN1tp

‘Cwmwl geiriau’ Gwersyll Data Agored ar amlinelliad o’r adeilad Pierhead, wedi’i greu yn defnyddio Tagul