In a world where many of our digital spaces are becoming more closed than ever, open data is a concept that is rapidly on the rise.
In this talk we explore what open data is (and what it isn't), and why we should care about it. We'll look at how you can introduce it into your projects with regards to practical publication and consumption, and discuss some useful tools and reference points.
Open data isn't just dry and technical - it gives us great scope to be creative, and throughout this talk we'll go through some of the amazing things that it has been used for globally in the hope that it will inspire you to create something amazing yourself.
data(ˈdeɪtə ; ˈdɑːtə)
• a series of observations, measurements, or facts; information
• Also called: information (computing) the information operated on by a
Although now often used as a singular noun, data is properly a plural. From
Latin, literally: (things) given, from dare to give
The Open Definition
The Open Deﬁnition sets out principles that deﬁne “openness” in relation to data
It makes precise the meaning of “open” in the terms “open data” and “open
content” and thereby ensures quality and encourages compatibility between
different pools of open material.
It can be summed up in the statement that:
“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any
purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and
Put most succinctly:
“Open data and content can be freely used, modiﬁed, and shared by anyone
for any purpose”
You must be able to easily acquire and use the data
for any purpose
You must be able to re-use and re-distribute the data,
including being able to mix it with other data sets
There should be no discrimination involved - for example data
shouldn’t be limited to ‘non-commercial’, or only for education
Data should be in a format that can be processed
and manipulated by a computer
“How far do you live from your workplace?
Chances are, you'd answer that question in
minutes rather than miles. An hour on the
bus tells us a lot more than 47 miles. That's
why we made Mapumental.
Given any start point or destination, it'll
show everywhere within the chosen
commute time, by public transport.
Mapumental Property narrows property
results down, only showing you houses that
fall within a decent commute time from the
places you visit regularly - like work, school,
or the shops.”
“How accessible is your nearest school, post ofﬁce,
or GP’s surgery? In Wales, that’s not always a
simple question: the country’s mountainous
landscapes, rural populations, and sometimes
infrequent bus services can mean that those
without cars are rather cut off from public service
“Just how quickly could ﬁre engines reach a given
postcode in case of a ﬁre? It’s a question that’s
pivotal to decisions made by both the emergency
services and the insurance industry.”
Make your stuff available on the Web (whatever format)
under an open license.
Make it available as structured data
(e.g., Excel instead of image scan of a table).
★★★ Use non-proprietary formats (e.g., CSV instead of Excel).
Use URIs to denote things, so that people can point at your
★★★★★ Link your data to other data to provide context.
“Air Transformed is a series of wearable data
objects that communicate this physical burden in
different ways. Though seemingly decorative, they
are based entirely on open air quality data from
Shefﬁeld, UK, a former steelmaking city and
notorious for its bad air.”
Thank you to these lovely people for making their content open under a
Creative Commons or public licence:
Linking Open Data cloud diagram 2014, by Max Schmachtenberg, Christian Bizer, Anja Jentzsch and
Richard Cyganiak - lod-cloud.net
DougMcCune - dougmccune.com