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Open Data Events

Posted by Dominic Byrne on Sun, 25 Nov 2012 02:09:30 GMT

You wait for an Open Data event and then two come along at once - the Open Data community was spoiled for choice on 22nd November 2012 with two Open Data events taking place in Dublin.

Dublinked event - Using Public Data to Drive Innovation

Dublinked organised the latest in an on-going series of events at the Science Gallery on the morning of 22nd November.  The event aimed to provide –

  • An introduction to Open Data, Public Sector Information, eGoverment Strategy and Dublinked
  • Gain understanding on the potential of the data for entrepreneurs, researchers and citizen
  • Insight in where to start and how to get publishing
  • Explore the benefit to public sector in sharing data with others

Over 120 people attended the event which was the largest attendance for a Dublinked event to date.

Data Drive 

Dominic Byrne @dominic__byrne was MC for the event and kicked off with an overview of Dublinked and the event.

Martin Troy and John Foley of Department of Public Expenditure and Reform @govdotie were first up with Towards an Open Data Policy for the Irish Public Service.  John gave an overview of the PSI Directive and the proposed changes.  It was interesting to hear that the draft proposal is likely to be finalised under Ireland’s Presidency of the EU.  Martin then talked about the eGovernment Strategy and the specific commitments in relation to Open Data.  He also invited feedback on the strategy via http://egovstrategy.gov.ie/feedback/

We then moved on to the Industry stream of the event.  Joan Mulvihill @joanmulvihill talked about Open Data as an enabler for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  Joan called for data to be released quickly – it may have hidden value for others.  She also asked that public sector bodies release data not because they must, nor because they should, but because they want to.

Jason Roe @jasonroe presented on Parking Made Easier with ParkYa – a service to make parking easier, built using public data.

Eoin Bailey @eoinbailey spoke about Open-ish Data Case Studies giving an overview of Hit The Road, the Petty Maps project and reuse of the Property Price Register.  He also outlined barriers presented by a lack of open official mapping data.

This was followed by a panel discussion with Joan, Jason and Eoin.  This included an interesting discussion on standards and whether Open Data should be published in RDF format.  The panel consensus was that while this is something that should be aspired to, the important thing is to get the data published initially.  Deirdre Lee of DERI from the audience gave a quick explanation of RDF and linked data.

Next up was the Policy and Practitioners stream.  Dominic Byrne gave an outline of Open Data in Ireland to date covering Fingal Open Data, Dublinked and Apps that have been built with the data – with particular emphasis on startup companies who are seeking to build a business model using Open Data and the potential savings/cost avoidance for the public sector.

We were very pleased to be joined by Ton Zijlstra @ton_zylstra, community steward for the EPSIPlatform @epsiplatform Ton had travelled to Ireland to speak at the event on Making Open Data work for the Public Sector in Europe.  Ton spoke about the barriers to data release not being the legal, technical or cost, but the need for public sector bodies to have a stake in releasing data.  This can include public sector bodies using Open Data to intervene in their own work.  He also spoke about the possibility of using Open Data as a policy instrument - focussing on the business needs and stakeholders, to assess if Open Data can enable value, efficiency or impact.  Ultimately, Open Data can be an enabler for changing the way in which Government Services are delivered through approaches such as codesign and coproduction.

The final speaker was Deirdre Ni Raghallaigh from Dublin City Council to talk about Give Up Yer Auld Data.  Deirdre spoke about how Public Sector Bodies could go about releasing data including taking the first steps, identifying data, overcoming resistance and publishing data.  Dublinked is offering to advise Public Sector bodies and the use of Dublinked as a publishing platform.

Then it was time for a panel discussion with Ton, Deirdre, Martin and John.  The panel was asked how the publishing of Local Government data could be scaled beyond Dublin.  The panels view was that Local Authorities are generally eager to publish data, that shared service initiatives in development will enable progress and that the work of the CIO Council will be a driver for data release.

The event concluded with a challenge to those Public Sector bodies present to target 10 datasets for release.

Thanks to all the speakers, to the Science Gallery and to Mary and Ciaran of Dublinked for making this event so successful.

#datadrive tweets have been captured and can be seen at http://storify.com/dublinked/using-public-data-to-drive-innovation-event-thurs

Open Data Ireland Meetup

Open Data Meetup 2 

Later that evening it was off to EngineYard in Barrow Street once again, for the second Open Data Ireland Meetup.

Eamon Leonard @eamonleonard welcomed everyone to the venue and gave a brief introduction to the Open Data Ireland community.

Once again, the MC for the evening was Denis Parfenov @xzy_ and he kicked off the meetup by introducing Deirdre Lee @deirdrelee from DERI

Deirdre spoke about Linked Open Data giving an introduction to the subject, outlining data standards and tools and bringing us through examples of Linked Open Data in practice.

Chris Taggart @countculture from Open Corporates joined via Google Hangouts.  Chris told us about the Open Corporates project and the different attitudes and challenges around the world to releasing Open Data about companies.

We were joined by Ton Zijlstra who had spoken earlier in the day at the Dublinked event.  For this event he shifted focus to present on Community Building as Scaffolding for a Working Public Sector and shared his experience of working with Open Data communities around Europe.  Ton also shared some Guidelines on Community Building.

Then it was time for pizza and beer, and lots of conversations about Open Data.

After the break Jason Hare @whitelabelguys joined via Google Hangouts to talk about his experience with Open Data in the City of Raleigh in North Carolina.  Jason also spoke about the open Triangle Community Wiki.

Last up was Richard Cantwell @manaboutcouch to present on OpenStreetMap - Faster, Cheaper, Better?.  Richard illustrated how a global community has created Open mapping that now compares favourably with proprietary mapping.

After some questions for the presenters, there was a general discussion about what the future format of the Meetup should be and how it could be developed.  It was agreed that more time should be spent on discussion and enabling separate parallel discussions to take place on subjects of interest to those attending.  It was also agreed that we would reduce the number of speakers at future events to three.  There was a suggestion that future events should include an opportunity to build solutions based on Open Data.  This led to a discussion about organising a hack day and the possibility of organising something for International Open Data Day which will take place on 23rd February 2013.

There was a discussion about the best mechanism for communicating and sharing between meetups.  The Open Data Ireland Google Group and http://opendata.ie were highlighted as the existing platforms for these discussions.  There was a request for more accessible platforms – it was pointed out that was the kind of thing that the community should collectively identify and provide.

Finally it was agreed that the next meetup would take place in January 2013.

Thanks to everyone who attended, presented and organised and once again particular thanks to Eamon Leonard and EngineYard for their hospitality and for the beer and pizza.

#opendatairl tweets from the meetup have been captured and can be seen at http://storify.com/FingalOpenData/2nd-open-data-ireland-meetup

Dominic Byrne,
Fingal County Council.

23rd November, 2012

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