Open Data approach to Digital Government


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Presentation on Open Data and it's role in Digital Government to Public Sector IT Leaders Forum in Croke Park, Dublin on 29th March, 2012

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  • Today, I am going to explain what we mean by Open Data and why we would consider it share our experience with Fingal Open Data talk about the Dublinked innovation network review the Apps4Fingal competition talk about recent developments look at the challenges Open Data presents examine the opportunities
  • Open Data is …
  • Public data Which is not subject to data protection or other limitations
  • Open Formats Available in non-proprietary formats e.g. CSV, XML, KML, RDF, open APIs
  • Machine Readable In a format that computers can process
  • Accessible Available to the widest range of people for the widest range of uses
  • Why would we publish Open Data?
  • Transparency To Open up Government and enable the Public to see the underlying information. What is the actual evidence-based reality as opposed to the perceived reality
  • Participation To increase citizen engagement with Government. If Government and Citizens are to cooperate, then Government can’t be the only ones with the information
  • Collaboration In addition to Citizen-Government collaboration outlined earlier, also - To enable the combination of data from different public sector agencies To enable other sectors to collaborate with Government.
  • Economic Opportunities Public sector data can be used as the basis for online services, mobile applications, analytics, etc.
  • What about Fingal?
  • The Fingal area covers North County Dublin – north of the Liffey and the M50 including Blanchardstown, Howth, Swords, Balbriggan and Dublin Airport It is the 3 rd largest Local Authority area by population as per preliminary Census 2011 figures It is the youngest area in the country It was fastest growing from 2002 – 2006 (22%) and 3 rd fastest growing from 2006 – 2011 (14%)
  • To cope with our phenomenal growth we relied heavily on data for service planning. We built up considerable experience of data sharing.
  • The Fingal Data Hub was created by the Fingal Development Board in 2009. It was a collaboration between 9 partner agencies. It was designed for sharing of anonymised data between partner agencies, to enable interagency cooperation and service planning. In 2010 the data was made publicly available.
  • Fingal County Council launched the first Open Data website in the country in November 2010 Fingal Open Data evolved from the principles of the Fingal Data Hub and the Open Data movement. In Summer 2010 we were preparing a report with data about all Local Authorities which was difficult to find and only available in PDF We discovered the Open Data movement and felt that this was a better way We decided to take the initiative with the backing of the County Manager and Fingal Open Data was born It is available at The website, which you can see on screen, provides public access to source data from Council systems.
  • There are currently over 120 datasets organised into 12 categories Detailed information is provided about each dataset, including description, date published and available formats.
  • We have added a new facility to request data We will check if we have the data and whether it can be released If we can, we will publish it to the site
  • The site has a Featured Apps section to showcase uses that Fingal Open Data has been put to
  • There is a blog where we post updates on Fingal Open Data and Open Data in Ireland
  • The About section gives general information about Fingal Open Data and a link to the licence governing the use of the data
  • The data is subject to the Irish PSI Licence, drawn up by the Department of Finance, which allows for fair use of the data.
  • MS Dynamics – Ease of development & maintenance of Administration module for Data Catalogue; automatic updates from Data Audit tool created in MS Dynamics Evaluate Open Source options – Drupal, GeoNetwork & CKAN Available for anyone else to use DERI Open Data Publishing Pipeline Distillr publishing platform & Open Data API
  • Dublinked is …
  • A collaboration between Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Fingal & South Dublin County Councils and NUI Maynooth The Dublinked initiative was announced on 27 th June Platform provided by IBM A Network for Sharing Data to facilitate innovation in the urban environment through collaboration between private, public and research partners with the Dublin city region as a proving ground
  • Datastore - 200 datasets (557 files) Data from 4 Dublin Councils and OSI data in research zone (thanks to OSI for being the first) National datasets (Hazardous & Transfrontier Waste Shipments; National Public Transport Nodes; NIAH) Regional Datasets 1 st data release themes - Land Use, Transport & Environment Zones – Open and Research (Members) – O & M Data criteria for Members zone – Legal issues, Technical (e.g. streaming/live data (samples); binary (Traffic)), Commercial (high-value) Formats – open & non-proprietary where possible; can be onerous to convert – working towards this goal; go ugly early; respond to feedback Metadata for each dataset – Dublinked ‘lite’ standard developed in partnership with Dept. Environment, NUI Galway, Dept. Marine & Natural Resources; compliant with international standards
  • NIAH Survey data has been provided by Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht
  • NapTAN national transport nodes data has been provided by National Transport Authority
  • Past Events Planning Technology Future Events Spatial Water Visualisation Transport Innovation & Commercialisation
  • Membership Section
  • Dublinked is an innovation network. The aim is to enable innovators to collaborate on tackling challenges facing the Dublin city region using public sector data as the basis.
  • Dublinked publishes public sector data as open data where possible Some data cannot be published as Open Data for various reasons including commercial and security considerations Some data cannot be published due to technical challenges Dublinked incorporates a members zone where data is made available for research purposes under a legal framework
  • A key element of Dublinked is facilitating the Innovation Network Providing opportunities for members to meet at events, workshops, etc and to make contact with subject matter experts from Government
  • Dublinked provides an opportunity for developers and innovators to test out new solutions in the Dublin region
  • On the 4 th & 5 th July, the NDRC ran Ireland’s first Open Data Challenge In partnership with Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, Microsoft and the Irish Internet Association Participants developed ideas and business propositions based on Fingal Open Data and Dublin City data
  • In order to encourage the reuse of data published on Fingal Open Data and Dublinked, Fingal County Council organised the Apps4Fingal competition The competition ran from 9 th November 2011 to 9 th January 2012 There was a prize fund of €11,500 thanks to the generosity of our sponsors
  • 23 Apps were submitted
  • 36 Ideas were submitted
  • The Apps4Fingal section of Fingal Open Data contains all the information about the competition including details of and links to the competition entries, rules, judging criteria and the shortlisted entries I am going to give a quick run-through of the winning Apps
  • Winner of the Ideas Category was Fingal Deals The Fingal Deals App idea is intended to encourage people to shop locally in Fingal and give local businesses a boost. The app would showcase current special offers and discounts offered by a wide variety of businesses, and could be refined into business type categories to facilitate searches.
  • Winner of the Student Apps Category was Fingal Day Tripper Fingal Day Tripper is a Web App that allows day trippers to select the type of activities they prefer, as well as if they would like to stop for a coffee. They can also specify whether they are travelling with children or disabled passengers. The app will then suggest a day trip in the local area, showing locations of interest on the map. It also provides the option of getting the route and driving directions for the trip and details of each attraction.
  • Winner of the Community Apps Category was Fingal Traffic View Fingal Traffic View is an Android Mobile App which provides information about traffic cameras, parking zones, disabled parking, train stations and Garda safety zones. These are displayed on a map and users can also view images from the traffic cameras. The App also incorporates a live feed of twitter accounts related to Dublin Traffic.
  • Winner of the Enterprise Apps Category was is a Web App which uses Planning Application data from all 4 Dublin local authorities. These are displayed on a map allowing users to easily check planning applications in an area. Features include a notification service, a 3D interactive house showing what works need planning permission, a professional directory and planning-related news feed. Planning applications are colour coded by status and more info can be displayed.
  • Winner of the Overall & Tourism Apps Categories was Discover Fingal Discover Fingal is a Mobile Web App in which users are encouraged to discover historical and cultural sites in Fingal through a Find and Reward Facebook App and Mobile Website. Detailed information is provided about each site. If a user checks into three cultural sites they are rewarded with a voucher for a free cup of tea or coffee which can be redeemed at Skerries Mills.
  • All winners and runners up of the Apps4Fingal competition
  • There have been a number of recent developments in Open Data in Ireland
  • Enterprise Ireland are facilitating a National Open Data Working Group Membership includes Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council & LGCSB Chaired by Joe Horan Initiated in July, a workshop was held at the end of August to formulate ideas A briefing paper for Government has been produced and will be published shortly
  • The Reports recommendations include – Principle of data release, mechanisms for releasing data, crowdsourcing data, awareness within public sector In line with EC Strategy, no charge (or marginal) for Open Data Actions to support business in maximising potential of Open Data inc. supports from agencies, licence and re-use model, data charter to govern publication and updating of data to standards, SLAs Digital and data literacy programmes to enable citizens to interact with data, utilise data as a basis for interacting with Government and improving their community Implement postcodes and standardise addressing Create data standards Assign responsibility for Open data to a Government Department Develop an Open Data Strategy to include specific actions and target dates Establish an Open data Forum to advise on Open Data and engage with stakeholders
  • The Public Service Reform Plan was published in November 2011
  • The Plan include a number of objectives relating to Open Data as follows – Publish Public Sector Data Online Create a Centralised Portal Improve Internal Government Data Sharing Develop an Integrated Approach for collecting Administrative Data Review Data Sharing Legislation
  • In December 2011, EC Vice-President Neelie Kroes launched an Open Data Strategy for Europe
  • The Strategy includes communication on Open Data outlining a vision and policy proposal to revise the 2003 Directive on Re-use of Public Sector Information creation of a portal for the publishing of European Commission data creation of a pan-European data portal for data from member states provision of €100 million in research funding in respect of data-handling technologies In conjunction with the launch the EC published 5 studies relating to Open Data
  • There are a number of challenges in maximising the potential of public sector data
  • We need to have more Irish Open Data We want to encourage Local Authorities, Government Departments and Agencies to start releasing Open Data Government policy is a welcome advance We need to recognise that Open Data is a major challenge for the public sector who are protective of data holdings (for good reason) Support from Senior Management within releasing organisations is essential Should align with Organisational Objectives – Fingal : Tourism, Age Friendly County UK Government policy to release data; however, Local Government is finding it difficult – additional work with reducing resources Use it as an opportunity to create an Internal Data Catalogue for Information Management Align with INSPIRE directive requirements – single data catalogue/store for both
  • We also need to examine whether usage restrictions can be removed from data already released CSO, EPA, Heritage, Marine, Finance, HSE There are also opportunities for Open Academic Data, Open Scientific Data, Open Bibliographic Data, etc And why not Open Business Data? Open Product Catalogues; Airline Flights and Fares; etc. Enel, Italy’s largest power company, has released Open Data Nike have employed Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki, to work on Open Data
  • There is often a fear that the data will be misinterpreted or that the quality is too poor to release Use Metadata & release briefing notes to counter misinterpretation If the quality of the data is poor what about the processes that depend on it There may be a possibility to use it as an opportunity for improvement through crowdsourcing (UK bus stops) Maybe the Public Sector should adopt a patch culture, instead of aiming to be perfect all the time We in the public sector need to Let Go a bit
  • There is a need to make Open Data attractive to developers who will build apps with the data. This can be done through incentivising the development of apps – e.g. competitions, challenges There is also a need to identify what the potential market is for Open Data apps, so that developers build apps that are needed. The Public Sector needs to hear what data it should prioritise for release
  • We need to agree standards for data formats, service vocabularies, data catalogues However, this should not prevent us from starting to publish Open Data Standards can be applied retrospectively Potential users of the data would prefer that the data be released in the first instance (just not in PDF) Go ugly, early
  • Because Open Data is such a new development, it is often difficult to determine whether it is succeeding. Using a metric such as visitor traffic to an Open Data website does not give any indication of whether anything useful has been done with the data. The performance of Open Data should be measured against the reasons for publishing the data. Appropriate metrics need to be defined for these purposes e.g. number of apps created, number of businesses utilising the data as the basis for products, increase in citizen involvement in decision-making, etc.
  • Has anyone created a commercial service based on Open Data?
  • Sparkfish Creative are a Cambridge company specialising in App development The MassTransit app is their main product They also provide consulting and contract services
  • Brightscope are a company who provide Tracking for 401k plans (U.S. retirement savings plans) Provides Ratings, Financial Advice One of their data sources is the Government records relating to 401K (never previously requested)
  • iTriage is a Mobile Health App Healthcare questions, symptoms diagnosis Locate nearest healthcare providers Hospital waiting times Hospital pre-registration in selected areas
  • Placr is a Location Based Services company Earlier this year presented at Enterprise Ireland/Ordnance Survey Ireland event in Dublin Provide transport feeds to apps developers (timetables, live data) Consultancy, training and other Services
  • As well as Apps, Open Data also presents an Analytics opportunity Government holds large quantities of statistical data Analytics can be used to drive greater value out of this type of data – both for the public sector and the private sector SMEs in particular do not generally have ready access to analytics services for carrying out demographics analysis for business location or marketing purposes Much of the required data is held by Government Providing access to data and analysis tools could enable the SME sector to readily carry out such analysis
  • High value public sector data includes live streaming data such as traffic counts, transport data, water flow, energy consumption and weather This data is also more difficult to manage from a storage and access point of view Source systems designed for operational purposes – not to feed data This data also presents challenges with storage, sampling, aggregating and presenting in an accessible form – these are the Big Data challenges
  • There are no data protection or security implications with Open Data Cloud Computing is therefore an ideal platform for publishing Open Data The Cloud will also scale to handle large volumes of data such as live, streaming data
  • The other area where we can achieve a lot with Open Data is Community Engagement and eParticipation Besides being more open and transparent, Open Data can be used as the basis for improved services These include Apps which improve access to services It also includes new approaches to Service Planning – collaboration on the provision of new services, public consultations, policy making, budgeting, etc. And also the crowdsourcing data capture and data quality improvement
  • Engagement
  • Collaborate Ultimately, Government 2.0 is about enabling a new approach to citizens and Government working together in a collaborative manner on matters of mutual concern Ideally, collaboration should be capable of being initiated by either Government or Citizen This is an example from North Sydney Council, Australia in which citizens can participate in determining budget priorities The citizen can choose to increase, decrease or not alter spending under the budget headings Their selections are totalled interactively so that they can see whether they are over or under budget and if over budget what the implications are for rates Citizens inputs are compiled into a report which feeds into the Councils decision-making process
  • FixYourStreet is an open transparent tool for reporting problems to Local Government It also has an Open Data dimension, as the data is exposed for developers to write programs that comsume the data behind the site – location, details and resolution of Reported issues
  • The FixYourStreet approach has been taken a step further As well as allowing people to let ue know where there are problems, why not let them suggest where servcies should be located Bike Racks website evolved from New York City looking at how it could maximise the value of its CRM investment The website enables citizens to identify a location where they believe bike racks should be provided, to include a photo of the location and to outline their reasons for the suggested location Other citizens can vote on the suggestions Citizens can also check whether their suggested location meets Bike Rack Location Guidelines to see racks provided sooner
  • U.K. Department of Transport made NAPTAN bus stop dataset available to OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap volunteers check, edit and verify the data via the NOVAM viewer Improved data quality of public dataset Potential for the same approach to be used here with Government datasets
  • As well as the economic opportunities, there are opportunities for the public sector The different departments and agencies of the Public Sector have a need to access the data holdings of other agencies In most cases it is a laborious and time-consuming task to obtain data from other arms of the public sector Even within Public Sector agencies and departments it can be difficult to obtain data from other sections Adopting a data-sharing approach with catalogues and data stores within the public sector could bring great efficiencies in this area Then it is simply a matter of categorising the access permissions and releasing relevant data publicly
  • To conclude Open Data provides a great opportunity to extract untapped potential from public sector data Open Data can act as a driver for economic development and as a building block for the smart knowledge economy It can bring efficiencies to the Public Sector and it can enable community engagement As I mentioned earlier, Fingal Open Data is available at And you can also follow us on Twitter at fingalopendata
  • In line with the theme, this presentation is licenced for sharing under a Creative Commons licence It is available for viewing and downloading on slideshare Thank you.
  • Open Data approach to Digital Government

    1. 1. Open Data approach to Digital Government Public Sector IT Leaders Forum 29th March, 2012@fingalopendata
    2. 2. What is Open Data?
    3. 3. Data
    4. 4. Open Formats
    5. 5. Machine Readable
    6. 6. Accessible
    7. 7. Why Open Data?
    8. 8. Transparency
    9. 9. Participation
    10. 10. Collaboration
    11. 11. Economic Opportunities
    12. 12. Fingal
    13. 13. 3 largest rd Youngest Fast GrowingFingal © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA -
    14. 14. Rapid Population Growth
    15. 15. Shared Anonymised Data
    16. 16. Open Data relating to Fingal
    17. 17. Over 120 datasets in 12 categories
    18. 18. Request Data
    19. 19. Apps
    20. 20. Blog
    21. 21. About
    22. 22. Irish PSI Licence
    23. 23. Technology Version 1 .NET Front End & MS SQL Server Data Catalogue Version 2 Terminal 4 CMS Front End & MS SQL Server Data Catalogue Version 3 (in development) Terminal 4 CMS Front End & MS Dynamics Data Catalogue Future Evaluate Drupal for front-end; GeoNetwork/CKAN for Catalogue Open Data Publishing Pipeline Distillr
    24. 24. Dublinked
    25. 25. supporting data-driven innovation in the Dublin regionA Creative Dublin Alliance project
    26. 26. Dublin Region Innovation Network
    27. 27. Datastore
    28. 28. Events
    29. 29. Members Network
    30. 30. Innovation Network
    31. 31. What is Dubl:nked? A meeting place that has the objective of Removing barriers to innovation Generating the ecosystem that supports innovation innovators data Dubl:nked tools challenges
    32. 32. Simplifying Access to Data Open Data is a wonderful concept but.... Some data can never be made open (commercial, security, etc) It takes time to convince people that data can be open We have constructed a single legal framework so that you can access all this “extra” data in a single spot, without complexity. It also provides an secure means for sharing sensitive data from both the public and the private sectors
    33. 33. Simplifying Access to People Data may inspire, but it requires people to be innovativeWithout the right context and understanding, data is just 1’s and 0’s Dublinked will Host focussed workshops on topics – such as water, transport Provide means of asking questions about the data to the experts Workshops to share problems and opportunities for collaboration We want to be a conduit, to help connect people with problems with people with answers
    34. 34. How Can you Benefit??Cities are increasingly complex, larger, richer and economic hubs Dublin, and the local authorities are a major market, but Dublin is typical of many other cities around the world Solution developers, be it social, operational or technical, can Sell into the Dublin market, to the local authorities, to companies and to the citizens of Dublin Use Dublin as a testbed for new solutions and then sell to London, Paris and Shanghai The Dublin Authorities will proactively work with you to prove your technology.
    35. 35. is a work in progress We need your assistance and participation We are here to help you succeed Join us!!
    36. 36. Applications
    37. 37. 4th / 5th July, 2011 – NDRC, Dublin
    38. 38.
    39. 39. apps4fingalCOMPETITION9th November, 2011 – 9th January, 2012 @fingalopendata #Apps4Fingal
    40. 40. apps4fingal 23 Apps created
    41. 41. apps4fingal 36 Ideas entered
    42. 42. Apps4Fingal
    43. 43. Ideas Winner - Fingal Deals
    44. 44. Student Winner - Fingal Day Tripper
    45. 45. Community Winner - Fingal Traffic View
    46. 46. Enterprise Winner -
    47. 47. Overall & Tourism Winner - Discover Fingal
    48. 48. Apps4Fingal Awards
    49. 49. New Developments
    50. 50. National Open Data Working Group
    51. 51. National Open Data Working Group Report Recommendations •Data release (commitment, mechanisms, crowdsourcing) •No charge for Open Data (or marginal charge only) •Supporting Enterprise (licencing, data charter, SLAs) •Digital & data literacy programme •Addressing & Postcodes •Data Standards •Assign responsibility for Open Data •Develop Open Data strategy with specified actions •Establish Open Data Forum
    52. 52. Service Reform Plan
    53. 53. Public Service Reform Plan Open Data related Actions •Publish Public Sector Data Online •Create a Centralised Portal •Improve Internal Government Data Sharing •Develop an Integrated Approach for collecting Administrative Data •Review Data Sharing Legislation
    54. 54. European Commission Open Data Strategy
    55. 55. European Commission Open Data Strategy Open Data Strategy Contents •communication on Open Data outlining a vision and policy •proposal to revise the 2003 Directive on Re-use of Public Sector Information •creation of a portal for the publishing of European Commission data •creation of a pan-European data portal for data from member states •provision of €100 million in research funding in respect of data-handling technologies •publication of 5 studies relating to Open Data
    56. 56. Challenges
    57. 57. Data Release
    58. 58. Data Usage Restrictions
    59. 59. Let go …
    60. 60. Developers
    61. 61. Standards
    62. 62. Measuring Success
    63. 63. Opportunities
    64. 64. Boston Transport App
    65. 65. Retirement Savings Tracking
    66. 66. Health App
    67. 67. Location Based Services
    68. 68. Analytics
    69. 69. Big Data
    70. 70. Cloud Computing
    71. 71. Community Engagement
    72. 72. Transparency
    73. 73. Open Budgeting
    74. 74. FixYourStreet
    75. 75. Service Planning
    76. 76. Data Quality Improvement
    77. 77. Public Sector Data Sharing
    78. 78. Open Data approach to Digital Government http://data.fingal.ie
    79. 79. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License Use of any Fingal County Council or Fingal Development Board logos and brands are not covered by this license. Pictures as marked used under Creative Commons license.If you believe any content is infringing copyright, please contact us via