Open Data Can't Be Done ALONE


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OpenData Cities presentation for the Local by Social Conference Nov 4th 2010.

OpenData Cities is a project that was developed in May 2009 to enable the local authorities of Greater Manchester to adopt Open Data. It set out to develop and create awareness in multiple communities who would then from part of a sustainable Open Data Innovation Ecology.

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  • Hello my name is Julian Tait and I lead the Open Data Cities for FutureEverything a not-for-profit innovation lab and digital festival in Manchester. The Open Data Cities project was devised in May 2009 and sought to make Greater Manchester the first Open Data City in Europe. This was a hugely ambitious task and in retrospect quite naïve. Especially as Greater Manchester consists of two cities, several large towns that could be considered cities, ten boroughs each with their own democratically elected councils.
  • At the time Open Data in the UK wasn’t on local authorities radar. There were releases of information through FOIA and EIR but these were a mechanism to extract data rather than data being proactively made available.
    The original case we promoted for the move to Open Data was through the development of an Open Data Innovation Ecology and the benefits it would bring to citizens, business and public bodies alike.
  • We also realised that for Open Data to be sustainable we had to engage with four key communities.
    Public bodies being obvious as they are the key enablers in creating the space that will allow this ecology around Open Data to develop
    Developers and digital businesses within Greater Manchester are a key community as they have the skills to work with the data and create novel and innovative services
    Education we are in the process of engaging with digital and computing courses within local universities and encouraging them to develop skills around the creation data. – There is an argument that as we move to a data driven society the ability for students to be able to understand data and its implications at an early age is crucial.
    A relationship with the media is important as it provides validation, critical feedback and a mechanism for creating public awareness
  • The project was originally proposed as a pilot to prove the business case for Open Data in Greater Manchester. This was unrealistic at the time as ROI were few and far between. We did identify certain high value datasets that would create the most interest from developers and the public. It was obvious from the outset that not all data was going to be used immediately, but like a library, not all books are read immediately.
    As well as developing a business innovation case we also had to create narratives that could be understood at all levels. The benefits for public bodies have been well stated elsewhere but we did focus on the need to chill the £3-4 million costs of servicing FOIA in the Greater Manchester region. Narratives were also created that showed how open data would benefit citizens and businesses
  • Key to the OpenData Cities project was the development of Communities, there had to be a grass roots developer community that was supported by but also independent of the project. We were fortunate that Greater Manchester has quite a vibrant hacker/developer community that used channels such as googlegroups, wikis and twitter to convene and share information and knowledge. We created Open Data Manchester as a distinct group of developers who were interested in data. We also had to make the boundaries of these communities porous
  • Open Data Can't Be Done ALONE

    1. 1. OpenData Cities OpenData Cities OpenData cant be done alone
    2. 2. OpenData Cities OpenData benefits citizens businesses public bodies
    3. 3. OpenData Cities Developing awareness to create a sustainable ecology Public bodies Developers Education Media
    4. 4. OpenData Cities TARGET VALUABLE DATA Transport Police and Crime Stats Financial not all data will be used*
    5. 5. Building a communityBuilding a community OpenData Cities
    6. 6. OpenData Cities Open Data Cities Open Data working group Meet the developer days Pathways to Open Data
    7. 7. OpenData Cities COMING SOON
    8. 8. OpenData Cities FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS DataGM Creating European links Citizen - Generated Data