Open Data and Open Analysis


It was great to have Glyn Wintle from http://linkedgov.org/ at Open Data Brighton & Hove last week.  For me it really helped clarify how “raw data now” sits alongside (and influences) the longer term change towards better, more meaningful data, the latter requiring careful prioritisation of effort.  We need to make sure we don’t get these things muddled up.

If you haven’t seen these TED Talks from Tim Berners-Lee on open data, you should.

Talk on linked data March 2009

The year open data went worldwide 2010

When public and voluntary sector organisations talk about “measuring what matters” they are talking about absolutely critical improvements where they take a hard look at how useful their current data collections are and make the necessary changes (note the context: new central government requirements here and commented on here)

Organisations are also talking about making data collection more efficient so there is more time to analyse the results and gain better insight.  We know open data has a part to play there of course in allowing analysis and mash-ups by anyone.  So it is very important to think about Open Analysis which is the strand which encourages thinking around prioritisation of issues – what do we really need to know more about?  What community problems need solving?

The Open Data Group, it turns out, has been struggling with this harder problem.  There is something more immediate to be done.  We have been talking statistics when we should have been talking Public Toilets and Parking Bays.  The datasets are different – some datasets throw up more issues to think carefully about in terms of privacy.  It will be helpful to try and draw some distinctions between types of data.  I suggest we have three broad areas:

  • People Data – who lives in the area and what happens to them?
  • Places Data – locations and descriptions of places in the area
  • Community Data – events, groups, interaction, participation and comment

In order to get quicker progress with open data, I realised speaking Glyn Wintle that we just need to have a look at what we’ve got and publish it more accessibly.  I  had a look at the council website and started to go through all the obvious datasets and lists.  I have created this editable ‘Wiki’ spreadsheet of the results.  I would like to have had more time to be confident I’ve captured it all – but that’s what ODBH is for!   It would be great if you could help build this useful product. There is an input list – please put anything you find on the council website or any other public organisation in B&H at the bottom of the list.  The there is an auto-sorted worksheet, which generates an A-Z list from what’s been entered.

Please help build the list with stuff that could be really useful when re-presented in apps and websites

Thanks!

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