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Open Data at Edinburgh City Council

Open Data at Edinburgh City Council



The NESTA project at Edinburgh City Council

The NESTA project at Edinburgh City Council



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  • Good morning and thank you for inviting me to speak at your conference
  • This morning I am going to be covering: The open data picture for local government in Scotland – and abit wider than that What’s happening in Edinburgh What the Council are doing How we use the API on our website – Suraj Kika will be carrying out the demo for this Finally our plans for the future
  • Local Government in Scotland has been fairly slow off the mark with open data although there has been a lot of discussion informally about it. I’m referring to Openly Local here for benchmarking processes Openly Local is a project providing a place to access local government data in a usable format. OpenlyLocal’s assessment of Scottish local authorities is not great. However, I am not sure when this was last reviewed. We are, for instance, actively taking forward an open data analysis at the moment . OpenlyLocal records show what is available rather than what might be.
  • So, here are the three authorities that OpenlyLocal recognises as really providing Open Data. Of these I’d like to choose Aberdeen for a case study.
  • Set up after the signing of the Scottish Digital Participation Charter in November 2011 The DPAG charter commits the signatories to bringing together their collective skills and resources over the lifetime of this Parliament to increase digital participation levels in Scotland and delivering the associated economic, social and environmental benefits. Success will be measured by the contribution that the signatories to this Charter make to delivering Scotland’s Digital Ambition. Edinburgh Council currently working with D PAG
  • What’s happening in Edinburgh? Well, quite a lot = running from research and data stores to hackathons and data labs. I’m covering areas and organisations the Council is working alongside but there is much more than that happening.
  • School of Informatics at Edinburgh University is a high flyer in the sector. You will all probably know more than I do about their work. The Council felt that this could be a good partnership for both of us Dominate the European scene; top echelon in the world with MIT, Stanford and CMU as peers.
  • A broad range of research areas which inter link – and offer the Council many opportunities for joint projects
  • Experimental data hub Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, a registry of open knowledge packages and projects (and a few closed ones). CKAN makes it easy to find, share and reuse open content and data , especially in ways that are machine automatable. EDINA is a UK national academic data centre, designated by JISC on behalf of UK funding bodies to support the activity of universities, colleges and research institutes in the UK, by delivering access to a range of online data services through a UK academic infrastructure Edina Data Library offers a wide range of research based data Edina’s unlock offers the ability to search for related projects and data on place names and places
  • The Open Innovation project is funded by the European Union Interreg IVB NWE Programme .  Edinburgh is one of the partners in this project. This programme provides partial funding for transnational projects in the  North West European Co-operation Zone over the period 2007-2013.  The priority areas for the programme are :  Innovation; Environmental challenges; Connectivity, and: Promoting strong and prosperous communities. The NWE Zone includes:  France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland The project is broken down into 3 themes, each of which focuses on the potential of open innovation for categories of user. 1. Open innovation and the community 2. Open innovation for small and medium sized businesses 3. Open innovation for universities Wide range of European partners
  • The Edinburgh project follows the 3 themes, each of which focuses on the potential value of open innovation to categories of user. 1. Open innovation and the community 2. Open innovation for small and medium sized businesses 3. Open innovation for universities Edinburgh works with a wide range of European partners NEXT SLIDE
  • The Council is working with Open Innovation to identify potential opportunities to open up data and provide case studies – through challenges, networking and strategy planning
  • And still with Open Innovation as it funds the Festival this is an exciting annual technology festival which is wide ranging and challenging.
  • NESTA is the UK’s Innovation Foundation/Charity . Their mission statement is to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. They provide investments and grants and mobilise research, networks and skills. They have partnerships with other innovators, community organisations, educators and investors too.
  • Talk through pic
  • Open as much as it is within our own power to do so with our API Define a strategy for the organisation – Surely an opportunity to collaborate with other agencies Identify a senior champion – who will be the sponsor for the Council Get visibility within the organisation – get into newsletters / briefings etc ( & outside by engagement with other parties!) Internal education – debunk the myths So, for example remind people that open data is not the same as Open Government or FOI although there are links, as Open Data can support these Sell the success stories Sell the benefits
  • So, what are the benefits of open data? If we free up the data then what can we expect? Improved internal sharing as well as external – mixing data sets up gives you back more than the sum of the parts Simplify data management –rationalising our data in the process then we approach a single version of the information There are many eyes to spot errors and anomalies– so we can crowd-source the error checking Reputational, perceived transparency & improved engagement – people will thing better of “the council” Social & economic value – the community out there can do much more with the data than we could ever hope to do And back to the open-ness agenda we can cut FOI requests for data (which isn’t all FOI) – and just point to the data
  • Dublinked offers a large number of datasets and from these case studies of successful applications. It’s offering opportunities to members, hosting events to generate more innovation and changing the face of the city for its citizens Open Data Manchester was set up as part of are working on or interested in Open Data in the region. It was key in the setting up of DataGM – The Greater Manchester Public DataStore. They work with Swirrl (who are active in Scotland too) and key players are working to innovate through groups such as Manchester Net Squared and Manchester Bootstrap Club London offers a Developers fund to encourage innovation, and is working with London boroughs and major organisations in the city such as London Ambulance Service, Office for National Statistics and Government depts – education/health/transport to open up data. It has the highest awareness in local government but other local authorities aspire to do the same. Like these cities, Edinburgh generates very large volumes of data centered around the interactions of our citizens within the city environment. Some of this data is generated by ourselves, some of it by private companies delivering services in the city and more is generated by residents of the city.  Within such an environment, there are opportunities for better services, less waste, and new opportunities for people to interact with the city - whether it be how to find the nearest bus stop or in discovering the latest concert venue. These city data stores been created to harness this rich resource of information, and to combine it with people who want to be innovative, to be creative, to think about new ways to do things in cities. This is something Edinburgh should be doing too.