On the 20th of April City of York Council held its second York Open Data event at West Offices, dedicated towards increasing the dialog and involvement around its recently launched open data platform. This event was aimed at creating a space for discussion, stimulating new ideas and hearing from the public which data they would like to see on this platform.
Ian Cunningham, Group Manager of the Shared Intelligence Bureau, presented yorkopendata.org and explained the reasons, development path and the achievements in the city with regards to Open Data, pointing out that a lot more can be done and published with the help of entrepreneurs, IT professionals, and residents.
He spoke about how this platform could be a home for datasets of all types from opening up KPI’s and raw datasets, as well as datasets which are part of the transparency agenda and he hoped this would mean making an opportunity for others to create useful products and services based on using the data published within the platform.
He also spoke about trying to be realistic with platform users expectations, as although the platform has gone live with some data mainly around high-level KPI’s, the majority of local authorities have found it difficult to continually release high quality datasets due to cost and data quality. He talked about experiences of other cities attempting to bring more private business data on to the platform and hoped this could be a reality in York.
After Ian finished, it was a great opportunity to have Jim Semlyen, director of Castlegate IT, to talk our guests through all more, technical aspects of the platform.
The floor was then given to Mark Barrett from HEBE Works, an organisation based in Leeds that provides turnkey solutions based on Open Data and that is a partner to the Media Mill project of which this platform is a part. He gave a presentation about the apps and services that his company is creating. This is a great example for the York Open Data project, because it shows how a company can create added value from the reuse of data published by the public sector.
A number of interesting insights came from the public during the Q&A session, as well as their experiences arising from interacting with the York Open Data platform and future expectations.
Two group activities were scheduled for after the refreshments, choosing between “Publishing and using Open Data” and “Future Direction and Opportunities”, however, the lively chat, encouraged by the informal disposal of the chairs in tables, created a nice atmosphere and a positive discussion, which was exactly what the organisers were hoping for.
We will post up in the next few days some of the feedback / ideas that we believe we can realistically achieve over the next few months, and we will run a similar event in early summer around June time.