DIY data store for your town

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Overview of opendata politics in the UK and how to build your own data store for no money with no coding in no time. final slide details steps to DIY data store

Overview of opendata politics in the UK and how to build your own data store for no money with no coding in no time. final slide details steps to DIY data store

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  • Drug dealer living in caravan. Police would occasionally raid it but he kept drugs up tree in the park. Led to interesting behaviour by tree squirrels. Incident ended after many months when local criminals nearly killed him with baseball bat and left him for dead in the street. I faces a choice – move to the suburbs or get stuck in to solving local problems.
  • Scenes from in front of my flat 2002 , 400 metres from kings cross station – taken by my upstairs neighbour


  • 1. DIY Data Store
    WMRO #wmod10 event
    15July 2010
    William Perrin -
    Talk About Local (West Midlands) Ltd
    William Perrin TAL
  • 2. 1984 - Freedom of Information Campaign starts up
  • 3. Gordon Brown
    Tim Berners-Lee
  • 4. Maintain momentum
  • 5.
  • 6. "Getting council business out in the open will revolutionise local government. Local people should be able to hold politicians and public bodies to account over how their hard earned cash is being spent and decisions made on their behalf. They can only do that effectively if they have the information they need at their fingertips.
    Organisations that might have been effectively locked out before, including voluntary sector and small business, will be in a much stronger position to pitch for contracts and bring new ideas and solutions to the table."
    @dominiccampbell "there are no rules, we want to see what you can do, your innovation" - @ericpickles #localgov
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. The ‘Crackavan’
    Rufford Street c2002
    In front of my house
    Pics – Mark Bailey
  • 11. Public Sector Information in action
    Brand new street light broken for 163 days
    Someone isn’t living up to contract
    From snagging to failure
    Can performance data help hold to account?
  • 12. 2007-2008 Took a lifetime to find basic relevant information on web
    Street light repair – Islington average 26.5 days v 163 here
    Lever for getting things done
    Light gets fixed due to this and other factors
  • 13. Abandoned cars and weekly arson
    Bingfield Park, Rufford Street 2002
    In front of my house
    Pics – Mark Bailey
  • 14. This 2010 open data would have been priceless in 2002 when fighting acute arson problem in Caledonian Ward
  • 15. Towards a DIY datastore – first catch your data
  • 16. Towards a DIY datastore – store your data
  • 17. Towards a DIY datastore – publish links to your data
  • 18. DIY data store: no cash, no programming , no brainer
    First catch your data –
    For tips on what data to ask for go to London Data Store and ask your council for what London publishes, in machine readable form such as CSV or excel spreadsheet
    Put in two requests a day for data citing and linking to Eric Pickles and David Cameron’s statements. Use
    Ask in the right way. Either – ask nicely if you think the LA will publish or you have a relationship. Or copy some of my aggressive FOI request language in whatdotheyknow, borrowed from Heather Brooke.
    Get some mates to help you to spread load and prevent ‘nuisance’ issues
    Send an email to the Leader of the Council explaining what you are doing – a common courtesy. Then if the Council plays up, FOI what s/he does with the email internally
    Store the data – and google docs
    Set up a free Google mail account and use google docs – put CSV data you receive in a Google sheet and click to publish/share the sheet (this gives it a URL accessible over the interweb etc). If they give you pdfs you can store them there too.
    Publish the data
    Go to and set up a simple free blog, use the standard theme and don’t fanny about making it look pretty
    Call blog e.g. – will quickly rise up Google
    Give it a simple title – Midfordshire Data Store – helps with Google
    Create categories in the blog for the types of data you are requesting
    As you get each new piece of data store it in google docs, then write a short blog post explaining what data and what format it is in your wordpress blog, with link to google docs and
    Tell people about it and get them to link to you