Open Data - Opportunities for Researchers and Developers


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Presentation in School of Computers and Informatics, University College Dublin on Wednesday 12th December 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.
  • Gives us the ability to profile a place Population, Age, Social Class, Deprivation, Unemployment, Social Housing, School goers To plan a place you must know a place
  • So, we have seen the importance of demographic and administrative data in the Fingal Data Hub; spatial data in the Development Plan; physical infrastructure and services data in the Greater Blanchardstown Initiative In the summer of 2010, Fingal County Council became aware of the Open Data movement Open Data is …
  • 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
  • In the United States, Barak Obama promised Open Government during his election campaign. This website, was created in 2009 to share US Government data. This is the seen as the main catalyst that has driven the Open Data movement The site now contains 4,717 datasets
  • Our former colleague Emer Coleman was heading up the London Datastore and they advised us on how to develop the initiative
  • In the United Kingdom, Tim Berners-Lee persuaded Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the UK should pursue an Open Data policy. This website, was created in 2010 to share UK Government data. David Cameron’s Government has continued this policy The site now contains 8,751 datasets
  • This map illustrates Open Data initiatives worldwide
  • 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.
  • A number of people had been calling for Open Data. This Internet group was established by interested people to discuss possibilities for Open Data in Ireland.
  • was created by a collaboration of people from the Open Data Ireland discussion group and DERI research centre in NUI Galway takes data from Government websites, converts it to open formats and publishes it
  • 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
  • What is the Open Data policy situation in Ireland?
  • 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
  • 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
  • Economic Opportunities
  • Discover Fingal won the Overall & Tourism Categories of Apps4Fingal Startup company App built using the LearningHunt platform for creation of guided tours NDRC funding and mentoring
  • won the Enterprise Category of Apps4Fingal Startup company Building Eye – visualising Building and Planning data Currently targeting US and UK markets NDRC Launchpad programme
  • Startup company – Hit The Road NDRC Launchpad programme Uses Public Transport data
  • 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 complementing the RateMyArea service
  • 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
  • JustPark which came second in the challenge has been developed since then and has been rebranded as ParkYa
  • Economic Opportunities
  • The public sector holds large volumes of traffic related data. This includes data relating to roads, speed limits, signs, traffic lights, traffic cameras. It also includes traffic camera feeds and traffic count feeds which are both Big Volume and Big Velocity.
  • National Weather Agencies collect large volumes of weather data
  • National Mapping agencies produce large volumes of mapping data
  • Water data includes data about the network itself as well as water flow data feeds - Big Volume and Big Velocity.
  • Public Transport agencies hold route, stops and timetable data. They also now collect data feeds of vehicle location and continuously calculate expected arrival times by stop – big volume and big velocity.
  • The public sector collects data relating to energy usage for various public buildings as do other sectors for their premises. Energy production, distribution and consumption data is generally held by the semi-state or private sector – Big Volume and Big Velocity. This data will need to become available in open formats in an appropriate manner if we are to address sustainable energy
  • Dublin City Council has published traffic journey times from its TRIPS system via Dublinked Visualisation above Potential reuse opportunities
  • Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority have implemented Real Time Passenger Information for Dublin Bus Cork buses in pilot Integrated Bus, Luas and Irish Rail on the way API on the way
  • Copenhagen Wheel Rear bicycle wheel which attaches to normal bikes Captures energy when cycling and provides power when needed Includes environmental sensors Use smartphone to lock and unlock bike and change gears
  • Map of pollution levels captured from Copenhagen Wheel bikes
  • CSO collect large volumes of Census data Previously difficult to access Small Area Population website makes it easier to access Demographics for each of 3,409 Electoral Divisions
  • Census 2011 data is also available at the new Small Area level of geoography 18,488 Small Areas Hugely valuable and mineable dataset if released en bloc Usage restrictions at present (non-commercial)
  • We need to have more Irish Open Data We want to encourage Local Authorities, Government Departments and Agencies to start releasing Open Data
  • Tim Berners-Lee has proposed five incremental levels of Open Data deployment Level 1 – just publish it with an open licence Level 2 – publish it in a structured format e.g. excel rather than PDF Level 3 – non-proprietary formats Level 4 – provide a method for assigning an identified to data items enabling linking directly to the data Level 5 – link the data to other data on the web
  • Linked Data essentially turns the World Wide Web into one huge database The BBC are making extensive use of linked data behind their website It looks like a normal website but there is separate identifier for each component of the page and this enables contextual links to other resources on the web
  • The Biography section of BBC’s Kate Bush page comes from Wikipedia
  • The BBC’s Kate Bush page links to MusicBrainz which is an online music encyclopaedia, also built with Linked Data
  • Previously, like most sites on the Web, individual BBC pages were created separately and linked manually, and then linked manually to the wider Web By adopting Linked Data, the BBC is joined to the rest of the Web in a meaningful contextual manner
  • 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
  • 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
  • Check the Data Requests page on Fingal Open Data to see what is being requested
  • Likewise, check the datasets requests forum on Dublinked
  • You can help by getting involved
  • This is the website for the Irish Open Data community
  • This is the Google Group for the Irish Open Data community – sign up to keep up to date
  • These are the contact details for Fingal Open Data and Dublinked – email or follow on Twitter
  • 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 INSPIR 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 - Opportunities for Researchers and Developers

    1. Open Data Opportunities for Researchers & Developers School of Computer Science and Informatics, UCD 12th December, 2012 @fingalopendata
    2. The Fingal Story
    3. 3 largest rd Youngest Fast GrowingFingal
    4. Rapid Population Growth
    5. Sharing Data
    6. Profile of a Place
    7. Open Data
    8. Our Search for Data
    9. Open Data • Public Data • Open Formats • Machine Readable • Accessible
    10. US Government - 4,717 datasets
    11. London Datastore
    12. UK Government - 8,751 datasets
    13. Open Data Initiatives Worlwide
    14. Reuse of Public Sector Information
    15. Open Data Ireland
    17. Hacks and Hackers Dublin 2010
    18. Fingal Open Data v1
    19. Fingal Open Data v3
    20. 170 datasets in 12 categories
    21. Request Data
    22. Apps
    23. Blog
    24. About
    25. Why Open Data? • Transparency • Participation • Collaboration • Economic Opportunities
    26. Irish PSI Licence
    27. Beyond Fingal
    28. Open Data 18-hr Challenge
    29. ParkYa
    30. distillr
    31. Dublin Region Innovation Network
    32. Over 250 Datasets in Datastore
    33. Transport Datasets
    34. Apps
    35. Events
    36. Open Data Policy
    37. 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
    38. 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)
    39. eGovernment 2012-2015
    40. Apps4Fingal
    41. apps4fingal COMPETITION 9th November, 2011 – 9th January, 2012 €11,500 in prizesCommunity, Enterprise, Tourism, Student & Ideas Categories
    42. apps4fingal 23 Apps created 36 Ideas entered
    43. Apps4Fingal
    44. Ideas - Fingal Deals
    45. Student - Fingal Day Tripper
    46. Community - Fingal Traffic View
    47. Enterprise -
    48. Overall & Tourism - Discover Fingal
    49. Apps4Fingal Awards
    50. Economic Opportunities
    51. Discover Fingal (Apps4Fingal)
    52. (Apps4Fingal)
    53. Hit The Road : Fingal
    54. FixYourStreet
    55. FixMyArea
    56. Map of Property Price Register
    57. Properties For Sale & Sold
    58. ParkYa
    59. Research Opportunities
    60. Traffic
    61. Weather
    62. Mapping
    63. Water
    64. Public Transport
    65. Energy
    66. Dublin Journey Times
    67. Real Time Passenger Information
    68. Live London Underground Tube Map
    69. Copenhagen Wheel
    70. Copenhagen Wheel
    71. Mercé Run
    72. In The Air
    73. Demographics (3,409 EDs)
    74. Demographics (18,488 SAs)
    75. Linked Open DataLinking Open Data cloud diagram, by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch.
    76. Linked Open Data
    77. Linked Data
    78. Linked Data
    79. Linked Data
    80. Linked Data
    81. Standards, Quality, Persistence
    82. Data Quality Improvement
    83. Fingal Open Data Dataset Requests
    84. Dublinked Dataset Requests
    85. Open Access
    86. Open Access Open-Access-Policy-Statement-FINAL-23-Oct-2012-v1-3.pdf
    87. Get Involved
    89. Open Data Ireland Community!forum/open-data-ireland
    91. Dublinked Events
    92. Fingal Open Data @fingalopendata Dublinked @dublinked dublinked@nuim.ie
    93. Open DataOpportunities for Researchers & Developers
    94. ReadingLathrop, Daniel and Ruma, Laurel. 2010. Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency andParticipation in Practice. Sebastopol: O’Reilly.Noveck, Beth Simone. 2009. Wiki Government: How Technology can make Government better,Democracy stronger, and Citizens more powerful. Washington, D.C.: Brookings.Poikola, Antti, Kola, Petri and Hintikka, Kari A. 2010. Public Data: an introduction to openinginformation resources. Helsinki: Ministry of Transport and Communications. Data Handbook http://www.opendatahandbook.orgOpen Data Cookbook http://www.opendatacookbook.netOpen Data Impacts: Exploring the impact of opening up Government Data
    95. 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