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: Cardiffcontinues 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.
It’s several weeks since the third UK Open Data Camp. In case that means nothing to you:
‘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.
‘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.)
‘Open’ means that the publisher of the data has made it available with little or no restriction on its use, as set out in a licence. The most common licence for public sector in the UK, is the Open Government Licence, which is usually referred to by its acronym, OGL. There are lots of other licences. For a detailed overview, take a look at the Guide to Open Licensing.
“Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share.”
Open Data Campers
So, Open Data Camp is an event where people – from lots of different sectors, and with many different perspectives – get together to discuss absolutely anything to do with open data. There’s also networking, socialising, and generally a good time is had by all.
There’s a widely held view that national events favour London. As the nation’s capital, and most densely populated city in the UK, that’s perfectly understandable, but there’s a risk that other cities across the UK might be overlooked. From the outset, therefore, Open Data Camp has (so far) deliberately avoided the metropolis.
That’s not to say we don’t love London too – we do – it’s just that there’s loads of open data activity right across the UK, not in just one place.
Previously, Open Data Camp has pitched-up in Winchester (South-East), and Manchester (North West). This time, we were in Bristol, in the beautiful South West of England.*
There’s masses going on in Bristol , and it’s a leading light in the UK Smart City scene with Bristol is Open – a joint venture between Bristol City Council and University of Bristol:
Using data sensors, smart city technologies will be able to respond in real-time to everyday events including congestion, waste management, entertainment events, e-democracy, energy supply and more. Together we are creating an open programmable city region.
The timing for Open Data Camp was perfect for it to be featured as part of Digital Bristol Week – a week-long series of workshops, masterclasses and other events, coordinated by the BBC Academy.
Our venue was the lovely Watershed – ‘Cultural cinema and digital creativity centre’ – right by the Harbourside. We were also really fortunate to have access to the adjoining Pervasive Media Studio, which meant that we had a large and really versatile space available.
Capturing what happened
The introduction and session pitches were livestreamed both days, and are embedded below for your viewing pleasure. The pitches from both days were used as the basis for the session grid, which became the agenda for the weekend.
The list of sessions is also included to give you a flavour of what was discussed. Most of the sessions have notes taken by volunteers. N.B. The notes are blank for a small number of sessions. If you led or attended Open Data Camp and can add anything to the notes, please do.
We are very aware that all three camps so far have been in England, whereas it’s ‘UK’ Open Data Camp. Don’t worry, we are on the case. Open Data Camp 4 will return towards the end of 2016, somewhere in the UK.
An Open Data Camp in Bristol? We’d be mad to miss it.
At Epimorphics we’re really excited to see the Open Data Camp journey come to the connected digital city so close to our home, we are so excited that we are happy to be sponsoring and supporting the visit.
Some of us are ODCamp newbies, but the last 6+ years has shown that open data is part of our DNA, for example we’ve been working on exciting projects with others such as the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Land Registry and Companies House to get their open data out there, accessible and usable as linked open data. We’re looking forward to meeting and chatting with some kindred spirits.
A handful of Epimorphs will be around at Open Data Camp 3, so if you have a particular interest in open data about water quality at beaches and elsewhere, river levels and flood alerts, house prices and indices or company profiles – do seek us out and we’ll be very happy to help you get going. Or maybe you’ve got some data of you’re own and would like to breath some life into some lifeless URIs we can introduce you to some of open-source tools we use or make.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Bristol and learning and sharing ideas.
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.)
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!
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.
“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.
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.