International Open Data Hackathon – Birmingham

A combined Birmingham Open Data Hack Day and RHOK (Random Hacks of Kindness) will be held on December 4th 2010, hosted at Faraday Wharf, Aston Science Park, Central Birmingham.

For info, visit the open data day website.

Questions/comments to bodaceacat at

NESTA offering local authorities £30k to spend with digital businesses on open data projects

Cutout figures connected by green light

Brian MacAulay, Director Innovation Index at NESTA, mentioned the Make It Local initiative to encourage collaboration between local authorities and digital media developers. It’s timely in the light of our open data: challenges and opportunities event last week and the government’s consultation on underlying data publication announced today.

Make It Local, the NESTA initiative, aims to:

…encourage collaboration between local authorities and digital media developers, to provide innovative, web-based services for their communities.

Make it Local is encouraging local authorities to release publicly-owned data in a linked way which allows developers an opportunity to build new services using the information.

Local authorities hold significant amounts of public data– such as transport, carbon emissions, population and crime data – which may help to power a range of useful, digital services. In developing partnerships between local authorities and digital media businesses, NESTA wants to show the value to local authorities of releasing their data to developers who can make use of it.

NESTA is calling for digital agencies with ideas for new applications to approach their local authority and encourage them to enter.

NESTA is offering three local authorities up to £30,000 to spend with a digital media business in their area.

The criteria for applications, application process and application form are available on the NESTA website.

Speakers and slides: roundup of ‘Open data: challenges and opportunities’

The Observatory and Andrew Mackenzie co-produced an event called Open data: challenges and opportunities, held in Birmingham on 15th July.

Oliver summarised the event and asked for comments on practical steps, particularly ‘ways that the more able authorities and organisations might be able to help the less able, through sharing tools and techniques with the wider public sector.’

The hashtag for the day was #wmod10 – there’s an archive of tweets available.

In this post below, we’ve shared all of the presenter’s slides and, where available, provided the presentations with audio.

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Open data: challenges and opportunities

Photo by Andy Mabbett - @pigsonthewing

A star sudded cast of “Open data heroes” graced our event, Open data: Challenges & opportunities, yesterday. Following clear intentions expressed recently by David Cameron and Eric Pickles on opening up public data, it was clear that this was a well timed (and hopefully useful) event. Thanks to everyone who spoke and attended the event – a really great day. Special thanks to Andrew Mackenzie (@djsoup) and Richard Wilson (@rcw1969) for all the help pulling it together.

I was struck by a number of people passionate about using data to make a difference to their community or local area. From Will Perrin’s use of public data on his Kings Cross Environment site to fix street lights, combat drug dealing and remove abandoned cars through to local council officers such as Stuart Harrison at Lichfield District Council using innovative techniques, such as “My Area“, to help people access data from a number of sources.

For now, our Pageflakes page pulls together a lot of the content from the day. Some of the speakers have already shared their presentations (via Slideshare) and they are accessible through pageflakes. We’ll sift through and pull out useful links and information over the next week and will post an update here.

For those that were at the event, or following on twitter via #wmod10, can I encourage comments below on practical steps we might take to move ideas from yesterday forward. In particular, ways that the more able authorities and organisations might be able to help the less able, through sharing tools and techniques with the wider public sector. We discussed writing a crowd-sourced report directed at high level policy makers sharing ideas and practical ways forward.  Do you think this is the best approach? What else did you pick up on? Let’s keep the discussion going.

Open Data Commons Attribution License released

Open Data Commons have launched a new license that helps those who want to share data and databases and ensure attribution is maintained.

The Open Data Commons Attribution License (abbreviated to ODC-BY) is similar to Creative Commons Attribution license, yet is specifically for databases.

There’s a plain English summary and full license text.

If you want to share your data to enable others to share, create works based on it or adapt into new applications—on condition that any public use of the database is attributed back to you—this is a useful resource.

Open data in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County CouncilGuest blog post by Jim Morton, Applications Architect at Warwickshire County Council

Last week we launched the Warwickshire Open Data site at, joining other authorities such as London, Lincoln, Lichfield and Kent who have already started opening up their data to the public.

We hope that it will provide a greater level of transparency about the work of the council, as well as stimulating the development of websites and applications that can make use of our data, to provide new benefits to our citizens and visitors to the area.

It is going to take a while to build the site up as the focal point for all of our public facing information but we have taken some positive steps to build the foundations of how we should work with data from now on.

Continue reading


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