Tag Archives: community engagement

Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?

The interface team in Northern Ireland is tasked with dealing with the peace walls – Interfaces – which separate Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast and elsewhere – which are due to come down by 2023. The program has a Twitter account and Facebook accounts to increase engagement with individuals and communities concerned.

Cupar Way is the largest of the interface structures.

 

In order to get them down, then government has committed to only removing them with the consent of the involved communities – but actually reaching this point present significant challenges. And some of these areas are the most deprived in Northern Ireland.

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Can user research open up open data?

If open data providers are concerned about how often their data is used, that opens the door to user research. But are they more interested in finding our what else people could do with the data? That’s a much harder task. The user research questions could easily bias the data.

User research in open data

Could it spiral out of control, as the definition of “user” grows too wide?

There’s a fundamental challenge around user research for open data: what would you do if you knew? also, many open data users are highly technical – is that something that makes it harder to run user research, if you’re not yourself technical?

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Expert panel/Q&A

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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.

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