Open Data in Practice


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Presentation on Open Data in Practice to Irish Computer Society/Institute of Public Administration Public SEctor IT Conference 2012 in IPA, Dublin on 24th October, 2012

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  • Today I am going to talk about Open Data in practice; tell Fingal’s story; Open Data beyond Fingal; how this data is being used; policy; how to publish Open Data; what next
  • Some background about Fingal
  • Fingal is located to the north of Dublin City Dublin Airport is located in Fingal Map illustrates population density in the County 273,051 citizens 3 rd largest Local Authority Fastest growing & Youngest county Population is concentrated in the South and East of the County 3 main population centres of Blanchardstown, Swords and Balbriggan North-West is rural farmland
  • To cope with our phenomenal growth we made extensive use of data & visualisation for service planning.
  • 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.
  • Fingal County Council first became aware of Open Data in Summer 2010 We were preparing a report comparing financial 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
  • 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
  • Our former colleague Emer Coleman was heading up the London Datastore and they advised us on how to develop the initiative
  • Legitimacy for the project derives from the PSI directive The 2003 EU Reuse of Public Sector Information Directive was designed to allow European companies to exploit the potential of Public Sector Data and to contribute to economic growth and job creation. In a 2009 report, the EU cited the value of EU Public sector data at an estimated €27B.
  • As part of Innovation Dublin, ScraperWiki organised a Hacks and Hackers Day in October 2010 We set this event as a target for the launch of Fingal Open Data
  • This is the Fingal Open Data site as it looked when we launched
  • This is how the website looks today – it is now on version 3 It provides public access to source data from Council systems.
  • There are currently 170 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
  • 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.
  • The data is subject to the Irish PSI Licence, drawn up by the Department of Finance, which allows for fair use of the data.
  • After we launched the site, it took a while before Open Data started to broaden out beyond Fingal
  • Open Data featured as a theme of the Irish Internet Association Annual Conference 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
  • JustPark which came second in the challenge has been developed since then and has been rebranded as ParkYa
  • Distillr came third in the competition and has also continued to develop its offering
  • The Dublinked initiative was announced on 27 th June 2011 and launched on 18 th October 2011 A collaboration between Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Fingal & South Dublin County Councils and NUI Maynooth 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 The aim is to enable innovators to collaborate on tackling challenges facing the Dublin city region using public sector data as the basis.
  • 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 Themes focussed for first release of data were Land Use, Transport & Environmental 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
  • Apps Showcase
  • Past Events Planning Technology Spatial Data Visualisation Open Innovation Future Events Public Sector Transport
  • For Open Data to be of value, it must be put to some use The most common use is through web or mobile Apps
  • 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 entered
  • 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. has gone on to develop the service further, now incorporating data from 12 local authorities
  • 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 are a number of other examples of how Irish open Data has been reused
  • While the apps4fingal concentrated on Fingal services, many of the Apps incorporate data from other services and across the whole of the Dublin region. In addition, most could scale up to National or International services. One App that has been developed since the competition and which makes use of Open Data is KidsMaps. This takes the playground data from the Fingal Open Data site, but also includes playground data sourced from most of the Local Authorities in Ireland. This is a great example of how Apps based on Open Data can be scalable.
  • The National Transport Authority released a dataset of all Public Transport nodes in the country These were then mapped by a member of the public
  • The Property Services Regulatory Authority has started publishing the Address, Price and Date of Sale of all residential properties sold in Ireland since 1 st January 2010 A member of the public downloaded this data and used Google Fusion Tables to map the properties
  • has taken the data and incorporated it into a prototype system which shows mapped properties for sale alongside sold properties
  • 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 consume the data behind the site – location, details and resolution of Reported issues
  • FixMyArea is a commercial website which utilises the FixYourStreet interface to submit reports to those Local Authorities using the system
  • FixMyStreet is a voluntary website which utilises the FixYourStreet interface to submit reports to those Local Authorities using the system
  • What is the Open Data policy situation in Ireland?
  • This map illustrates Open Data initiatives worldwide
  • 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
  • The Irish eGovernment Plan was published in April 2012 The Plan includes Requirement for Public Sector agencies to publish Open Data Data contained in Published Reports must also be published in Open data formats Agencies must carry out audits of data holdings Inter-Agency Data Sharing Integration of Administrative Data Data Sharing Clearing House Review of Data Sharing Legislation The Public Service Reform Plan also includes Centralised Open Data Portal
  • The eGovernment Action plan contains 3 specific actions relating to Open Data All public bodies will publish Open Data Data published in reports should also be published in parallel in open formats Public bodies will identify data holdings and release by default
  • How do we go about publishing Open Data
  • How to publish Open Data Choose Data for Release Extract in Open Format Create Metadata Create Open Data page Publish Data & Metadata Link to PSI Licence
  • What Data should you publish? Data from your Website currently in non-Open formats currently under restricted Licence Data in Reports Data from Online Services & Maps Requested Data Open Data Census
  • Check the Data Requests page on Fingal Open Data to see what is being requested
  • Likewise, check the datasets requests forum on Dublinked
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation has identified 10 national datasets that should be released by Governments which have been chosen for their breadth and relevance
  • The Open Data Handbook provides guidance on releasing Open Data
  • What are the next steps for Open Data?
  • Each Public Body should assign responsibility for Open Data to a named individual – which is most likely to be the person responsible for FOI and PSI
  • Public bodies should start releasing data Possibly use Dublinked to try it out No need to build a website – add a page to the website 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 Do you have a PSI page on your website covering website content? Is any of your content covered by a restrictive licence? Does it really need to be? 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
  • 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
  • We need to agree standards for data formats, service vocabularies, data catalogues We need to measure the quality of the data and records within the data and publish these quality measures We also need to ensure that once we publish Open Data, we continue to do so on an on-going basis We 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
  • While datasets should be published, we also need to look at publishing data as web services e.g. JSON
  • The Public Service Reform Plan includes an objective for a national public sector data sharing portal
  • We need to move to a model of publishing by default We need to ask “why shouldn’t we publish the data”, rather than “why should we publish”
  • Ideally, in the future as Open data matures, the public sector should move to a model of building its own online services on top of its own Open Data Then, if there are any problems with the Open Data feed, it will affect the public body in the same way as those reusing the 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 There may be a possibility to use it as an opportunity for improvement through crowdsourcing (UK bus stops) There can also be a reluctance to opening up the decision-making process We’ve always done it this way, the legislation doesn’t allow for Innovation requires that we question why we do the things we do and the way we do it Legislation needn’t be a barrier – so long as it doesn’t say that we can’t do it We in the public sector need to Let Go a bit
  • The first Irish Open Data Meetup will take place at 7:00pm on Thursday 25 th October in Engine Yard Barrow Street, Dublin 4
  • To conclude Open Data is now Government Policy Each public agency should be developing a plan for how it will publish this data It makes sense to do this as a by-product of internal and inter-agency data sharing and in conjunction with meeting INSPIRE commitments 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 in Practice

    1. 1. Open Data in Practice Public Sector IT Conference, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin 24th October, 2012 @fingalopendata
    2. 2. The Fingal Story
    3. 3. 3 largest rd Youngest Fast GrowingFingal
    4. 4. Rapid Population Growth
    5. 5. Sharing Data
    6. 6. Our Search for Data
    7. 7. Open Data • Public Data • Open Formats • Machine Readable • Accessible
    8. 8. London Datastore
    9. 9. Reuse of Public Sector Information
    10. 10. Hacks and Hackers Dublin 2010
    11. 11. Fingal Open Data v1
    12. 12. Fingal Open Data v3
    13. 13. 170 datasets in 12 categories
    14. 14. Request Data
    15. 15. Apps
    16. 16. Blog
    17. 17. About
    18. 18. Why Open Data? • Transparency • Participation • Collaboration • Economic Opportunities
    19. 19. Irish PSI Licence
    20. 20. Beyond Fingal
    21. 21. Open Data 18-hr Challenge
    22. 22. ParkYa
    23. 23. distillr
    24. 24. Dublin Region Innovation Network
    25. 25. Datastore
    26. 26. Apps
    27. 27. Events
    28. 28. Apps4Fingal
    29. 29. apps4fingal COMPETITION 9th November, 2011 – 9th January, 2012 €11,500 in prizesCommunity, Enterprise, Tourism, Student & Ideas Categories
    30. 30. apps4fingal 23 Apps created 36 Ideas entered
    31. 31. Apps4Fingal
    32. 32. Ideas - Fingal Deals
    33. 33. Student - Fingal Day Tripper
    34. 34. Community - Fingal Traffic View
    35. 35. Enterprise -
    36. 36. Overall & Tourism - Discover Fingal
    37. 37. Apps4Fingal Awards
    38. 38. More Reuse
    39. 39. KidsMaps
    40. 40. National Public Transport Nodes©
    41. 41. Map of Property Price Register
    42. 42. Properties For Sale & Sold
    43. 43. FixYourStreet
    44. 44. FixMyArea
    45. 45. FixMyStreet
    46. 46. Open Data Policy
    47. 47. Open Data Initiatives Worlwide
    48. 48. EC Open Data Strategy• Open Data vision and policy• Revise PSI Directive• Portal for EC data• Portal for member states’ data• €100 million research funding• 5 studies relating to Open Data
    49. 49. eGovernment Plan • Public Sector to publish Open Data • Inter Agency Data Sharing • Integration of Administrative Data • Data Sharing Clearing House • Review Data Sharing Legislation • Implementation Plans • Centralised Portal (Public Service Reform Plan)
    50. 50. eGovernment 2012-2015
    51. 51. Publishing Open Data
    52. 52. How to publish Open Data• Choose Data for Release• Extract in Open Format• Create Metadata• Create Open Data page• Publish Data & Metadata• Link to PSI Licence
    53. 53. What Data?• Data from your Website – currently in non-Open formats – currently under restricted Licence• Data in Reports• Data from Online Services & Maps• Requested Data• Open Data Census
    54. 54. Fingal Open Data Dataset Requests
    55. 55. Dublinked Dataset Requests
    56. 56. Open Data Census
    57. 57. Open Data Handbook
    58. 58. What Next
    59. 59. Assign Responsibility
    60. 60. Release Data
    61. 61. Data Usage Restrictions
    62. 62. Inter-Agency Data Sharing
    63. 63. Standards, Quality, Persistence
    64. 64. Data Services
    65. 65.
    66. 66. Open by Default
    67. 67. Our Own Dog Food
    68. 68. Let go …
    69. 69. Open Data Ireland Meetup
    70. 70. Open Data in Practice
    71. 71. 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