Open Data Cities Manchester - OpenTech presentation


Published on

Presentation about the Open Data Cities project created by FutureEverything that laid the groundwork for DataGM - The Greater Manchester Datastore and to Greater Manchester becoming an Open Data City. Presented at OpenTech on 21st May 2011

Published in: Technology, Business, Education
1 Comment
1 Like
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • FutureEverything is based in Manchester UK and has been established for 16 years. It started out being a festival of mostly music and art and has since developed into a cutting edge, international conference looking at the societal impact of technology and mapping various future outcomes, an international art and technology award and year a round digital innovation lab.\nThe Open Data Cities project is one such lab that was born out of the then ‘Futuresonic’ conference in 2009\n\n
  • The Open Data Cities project arose out of a question. How would cities evolve if all information was openly available. Would a city evolve in the same way? Would the asymmetries that we find in the cities of today still exist and would they be diminished, shifted or exaggerated.\nThis is a map that Frederich Engels created whilst he was working in his father’s mill in Ancoats, Manchester. It is through this mapping of the inequities of the industrial city that prompted him to write ‘The Plight of the Working Classes’. As with most northern hemisphere industrial cities the prevailing winds meant that the poorer areas were mostly on the eastern side of the city.\n
  • At the start of the Open Data Cities project, there weren’t many city based open data initiatives and most of those were in North America and these were underpinned by mayoral decree. In 2009 Greater Manchester was slated to become a City Region that would pave the way for an elected mayor for Greater Manchester. In order for City Region status to be granted there had to be some reform as to how the ten local authorities used data.\nWe saw that the time was right to bring open data to the fore and we set about talking to the 10 local authorities and other public bodies.\nThe idea of talking about the conceptual idea of the city over the administrative one is also key. People work, rest and play across authorities, people see the city differently to the administrative model. Also if open data was to be sustainable it would have to have a larger impact - and potential market - than any one local authority.\n
  • FutureEverything sees itself as a grassroots organisation and although it has an international presence and works with many institutions, companies and public bodies, it is sustained by the various communities that engage with it.\nCommunity focus was key and it was essential that the project engaged with, created and spoke to as many communities as possible. These could be loosely described as ‘Data Users’ - People who would eventually create services and applications out of data that would be released. It was essential to engage with and sustain this community as we had to prove demand in the system for data release.\n‘Data Managers’ - People who had day to day contact with data. Often the people who we thought would know about data didn’t. We had a great deal of help from people who dealt with FOI requests\n‘Executive’ - Initially these people were difficult to engage. It was through persistence and being awarded a small amount of funding that we managed to get their ear.\nWe did not try and engage member as we were wary of making open data in Greater Manchester a party political issue.\n
  • The establishing of the Open Data Manchester community was key to opening up data. The idea that there was a community of people who were eager to create stuff was appealing to a number of data holders. We were particularly keen on getting hold of data that would have potential ‘quality of life’ impact and would get positive press coverage. TfGM - formerly GMPTE - dipped their toe in the water and made their entire bus timetable database open. Which through a hackcamp created a number of transport applications. This eventually encouraged TfGM to commit to making other data open.\n
  • In September 2010 FutureEverything with Trafford Council as the lead were given some funding to deliver DataGM - The Greater Manchester Datastore. It was an obvious partnership as Trafford had seen the potential benefits of creating a centralised repository of Greater Manchester’s data and the potential efficiencies that it would create and had started to release open data. The project was energised by executive level buy-in at Trafford. This allowed DataGM to form a steering group involving executive nominated officials from all the local authorities and pan-Greater Manchester public bodies.\nThe datastore is based upon CKAN and is adding more datasets all the time.\n\n
  • There is a diagram that was created by the Sunlight Foundation that describes the virtuous circle of open data and transparency. It describes a sustainable process where by opening up data, you create a demand for the data from people who can interpret and build value through apps etc. This allows the public to understand more about their society, giving legitimacy and feeding back into government. My description is a gross simplification of the process but it outlines that open data and transparency has to engage a broad spectrum of people. Journalists are key in this as they are in a position to interpret and provide context. When the Fire Service released data about fire incidents a number of journalists reported the data that it described. This created a better understanding of the difficulties that the fire service faced which has encouraged the Fire Service to look at more data that could be released.\n
  • At present their hasn’t been a deluge of applications built off data that has been released. But stuff is being created that is creating value. A company called Swirrl has been making linked data out of some of the datasets that have been released on DataGM. This has allowed the data to be easier to use by application developers. I imagine that with the release of data a lot of the value wont necessarily come from the development of novel smartphone applications - in fact I hope it isn’t or open data will be constrained. What I think we’ll see are the developments of things that iteratively add value to data, that will allow people to enhance the things that they are creating already.\n
  • We are most definitely at the start of this process. Although live DataGM hasn’t been officially launched. With our colleagues in Trafford we are having new conversations everyday and there is a sense from many in the public sector that this is a good thing to do. Colleagues in Trafford worked out that on any working day, there were 600 people in Greater Manchester public bodies, who couldn’t find the data that they needed to carry out their work. That has real impact on the workings of the public sector. This coupled with the cost of approx. £4 million per annum of servicing FOI requests means that there is a real incentive for the public sector.\n\n\n
  • As far as the initial question as to whether cities would evolve differently if all information was made open. The answer at the moment is that the asymmetries would still exist and they could become amplified. It is incumbent on ourselves to make sure that this doesn’t happen. We need to realise that open data is not just a technological initiative and that it is only a part of a much bigger societal change. It is up to us to make sure that it benefits everyone\n
  • Some twitter names. I can also be contacted on\n
  • Open Data Cities Manchester - OpenTech presentation

    1. 1. Julian Tait @julianlstarOpenData Cities
    2. 2. Engels circa 1840OpenData Cities
    3. 3. Conceptual overadministrative model of city Rochdale 206,500 Bolton Bury 262,400 183,300 Oldham 217,273 Wigan 305,500 Salford 218,000 Tameside Manchester 215,500 483,800 Trafford 211,800 Stockport 281,000Population 2.6 million OpenData Cities
    4. 4. THREE COMMUNITIES Data users Data managers Executive Not membersOpenData Cities
    6. 6. PartnershipTraffordManchesterSalfordBuryRochdaleBoltonWiganStockportOldhamTamesideTfGMNHSFire and RescuePoliceDeveloper CommunityFutureEverything
    7. 7. We are at the startEnvironmentHealthRealtime data
    8. 8. Will asymmetries still exist? YES
    9. 9. @opendatamcr@datagm@FuturEverything@julianlstar