This was the talk I did at Pecha Kucha Coventry in November last year. It might sound a slightly odd title for a talk that is all about open data, but I was keen to do the whole presentation without using the phrase “open data” once. This was because I was part of an evening that had a variety of different speakers, not all of whom were technical, so I really couldn’t assume any prior knowledge of what open data is from the audience.
I also think that using the phrase is often a way of excluding people from the discussion. This was a useful opportunity to prove to myself that it’s possible to talk about open data in a way that is easy to understand for people who don’t want to know anything about the technical details.
I think that’s pretty much most people.
So, here it is. It is essentially me talking about three projects I’ve been involved with: the Birmingham Civic Dashboard, AidView and some ongoing work I’m doing with Mike Cummins about secondary school admissions.
Since April I’ve been doing a few days a week working for aidinfo on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI provides an agreed open data standard to which organisations are publishing their aid data.
aidinfo are one of a number of supporters of the Development Data Challenge at The Guardian offices at the end of August. Co-ordinated by Mark Brough from Publish What You Fund, it promises to be a stimulating weekend of data wrangling and visualising.
Having spent the last few months getting up to speed on what people are doing in this area I’m really looking forward to seeing what people create over the two days.Continue reading
When the Cabinet Office released its white paper on open data last month I asked this question:
So, can I FOI Service Birmingham now?
This was because, while the Open Data white paper can be viewed as a continuation of policies which develop our right to open data, we are also going through a period where the organisations which provide public services are being dispersed, often out of the public sector itself.
Whether it is privately owned health providers or social enterprises delivering local authority contracts, more and more of the organisations which hold and create the data produced in the course of public services are exempt from Freedom of Information legislation.Continue reading
When I was at BCU the other week I gave a presentation to Dave Harte‘s MA in Social Media students about open government data. We spoke about why open government data is a relevant topic for public organisations at the moment. Then we looked at different approaches to exploit the possibilities of open data, and I spoke about some of my experiences of doing this with Digital Birmingham. Finally we discussed why open data was a relevant topic for a course about social media.
Because I was worried this was all going to be a bit dry, I started off by showing them this video by Mark Flood.
I spent the second afternoon of UK Gov Camp in the session on open data platforms for the public sector. I was fortunate enough to have a shared interest in this with Tim Davies who lead the group work we did. Tim has written up the development of a Charter of Engagement for open data that he and others did during the session on his blog.
Harry Harrold of Neon Tribe had also spoken to me about some ideas he had for prototyping what an open data platform should look like. He came armed with a variety of hi-tech gadgetry: he had cardboard, scissors, paper, sticky-backed plastic……I was a little disappointed not to see any empty washing-up liquid bottles, but you can’t have everything.Continue reading