Media Mill Gazette 18

The cost of open data, InnovateUK money up for grabs and mapping open data…all that and a map of cheap beer around the world!

** Mike Bracken steps down (https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2015/08/03/onwards/)

General surprise this week as Mike Bracken steps down from his role as Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office. No reason has been given and there’s some talk of disagreements on direction.

Bracken’s work seems to be have been genuinely well received and there is a general concern that without strong voices like Bracken the direction of digital, and by association data, is going to be harder to read.

** OPEN DATA CAMP 2 TICKETS AVAILABLE (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-data-camp-2-tickets-17882025620)

The open data camp team have opened up the Eventbrite page for their second open data camp. It’s generating a lot of interest and looks like being a really useful event with an interesting crowd for open data in general not just for open government data people.

** INNOVATEUK OPEN CALL FOR 5K INNOVATION VOUCHERS (https://interact.innovateuk.org/competition-display-page/-/asset_publisher/RqEt2AKmEBhi/content/innovation-vouchers-round-13)

InnovateUK have opened their 13th call for “up to £5k funding for start-up, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to work with an external expert to gain the knowledge to innovate and grow.”

** BBC AND HYPERLOCALS: A WINNING COLLABORATION? (https://soundcloud.com/journalismnews/bbc-and-hyperlocals-a-winning-collaboration?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter)

NESTA’s Kathryn Geels features on this Journalism.co.uk podcast talking about the BBC and their shifting relationship with hyperlocals. Worth a listen.

** LOCAL OPEN DATA ECOSYSTEMS – A PROTOTYPE MAP (http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/local-open-data-ecosystems-prototype-map)

More from NESTA (and Kathryn) here with their work on mapping
the open data ecosystem in the UK. They rate areas 1-6 based on a number of criteria (Leeds and York both get a 6!). An interesting project idea. In a similar vein the OpenDataMonitor continues with its development mapping and rating open data across the EU (http://opendatamonitor.eu/frontend/web/index.php?r=dashboard%2Fviewcountry&code=GB) . Interestingly the scores for the UK don’t look as healthy compared to say the picture painted by the Open data Barometer (http://www.opendatabarometer.org/report/summary/index.html) . Different metrics and different perspectives but all useful measures.

** INTERACTIVITY DRIVES TORBAY COUNCIL BI OVERHAUL (http://local-government.governmentcomputing.com/news/interactivity-drives-torbays-bi-overhaul-aims-4637692)

It’s essentially a story about how a local council has replaced its business intelligence system but the use of open data and the transparency code as justification and the information about the effort needed to work the process makes for some interesting insight.

** USING OPEN DATA TO TRACK YOURSELF (AND YOUR ENERGY CONSUMPTION) (https://medium.com/@md_bennett/using-open-data-to-track-yourself-and-your-energy-consumption-19ee43ee4b90)

A US energy firm has an online tool that allows you to track usage by address. So one resident used it to check the consumption of others in his block. A corporate understanding of energy consumption is becoming a big thing; collective bargaining for better pricing is one possible benefit of open utility data. It’s an interesting take on using data to put individual consumption in context but I do wonder if the neighbourly thing to do would be to share the advice to bring bills down. All of which reminded me of the excellent Tidy Street project from 2011, pictured above, which is worth a look (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2011/apr/12/energy-use-households-monitor-electricity) . Oh, and if you want some energy consumption data to play with the Centre for Sustainable Energy has some nice stuff to look at (https://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1259#Energy_consumption_data__domestic_) .

** THE (HIDDEN) COST OF OPEN DATA (http://www.governing.com/columns/tech-talk/gov-open-data-cost-problems.html)

“California lawmakers in June introduced a bill to establish a statewide open data policy that would affect more than 200 state agencies. An analysis of the bill’s fiscal impact showed the policy would cost the state $4 million to $5 million annually.”

This article suggests that some frankly eye-watering start-up costs, might be a millstone for US government data portals unless they seriously focus on releasing data with clear economic benefits. I can’t get a consistent idea of the comparable costs in a UK context but the idea of an ROI being the driver to what is opened up could be a challenging one.

** “FROM SMART CITIES TO DIVERSITY AT WORK: MEET THE OPEN DATA PIONEERS (http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/aug/04/smart-cities-diversity-work-open-data?CMP=share_btn_tw)

Kind of related to the above is an article from the Guardian on open data pioneers, doing their bit as the partner for the open data incubator. It’s getting a lot of coverage but more for the shift in open data it reflects. As OPEN DATA HULK (https://twitter.com/OPENGOVHULK/status/628573257688555520) commented*:

“HULK VERY EXCITED GUARDIAN CHOOSE TO RAVE ABOUT OPEN DATA. OH WAIT. EC SPONSORED CLICKBAIT. SOBS.

Ok, so opendatahulk is not a reliable source by any standard but it’s surprising how many commentators have picked up on this. One tweeter commented:

“Seems like a larger % of #opendata (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23opendata) / Tech mainstream media coverage is PR: Socrata,Oracle,IBM or other vendor”

It’s worth noting that Guardian Networks are the Guardians arms length way of doing commercial content, so the PR line is in keeping with the platform, but as someone who looks at a lot of this stuff I’d have to agree with the general concerns. The number of articles that are essentially up sell is definitely on the rise. More companies in the market than the market can stand? That said, this take on why charging for software is actually helpful for government (https://usopendata.org/2015/07/28/data-seal/) might ring true for some.

*do check out the link. seeing opendatahulk take on opengovhulk in the replies is a nice coda.

** GITHUB FOR DATA MOVES INTO BETA (http://dat-data.com/)

The US is going a bit data mad at the moment, particularly in the areas of civic and traditional media. The Dat project, part funded by big philanthropic hitter the Knight Foundation is a good example. This is a tool that adds version control to data sets. It’s pretty nifty. If this kind of thing is your thing, then this article on Data Warehousing for investigative data (http://pudo.org/blog/2015/08/03/investigative-data-warehouses.html) might also be your thing!

** WHEN IT COMES TO HYPERLOCAL BLOGS, LEEDS REALLY LEADS THE WAY! (http://www.communityjournalism.co.uk/blog/2015/08/03/when-it-comes-to-hyperlocal-blogs-leeds-really-leads-the-way/)

A nice piece from Cardiff’s Community Journalism Centre looking at the West Leeds Dispatch. As well as being a nice shout-out for Leeds there’s a plug at the end for the Community Journalism Centre’s free wordpress theme which how enabling open source is an important factor in sustaining hyperlocal ecosystems

** GOOGLE COLLECT POLLUTION DATA USING STREET VIEW CARS (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pollution-data-from-street-view-cars-adds-layer-of-accountability_55b8e2c1e4b0a13f9d1ae7d7?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000046)

US based sensor network firm Aclima have already worked with Google to track the internal environment of Google offices around the world. Now they are working together on a pilot to put sensors on Google Streetview cars. A great idea (sensors on bin lorries anyone?) and one that should yield some good open data.

We like a bit of eye-candy at Media Mill and this is agreat mash up of IOT and social media (http://wersm.com/weave-your-instagram-shot-with-f21threadscreen/) . A cotton reel display for Instagram pics. For sheer engineering work alone it’s worth a look

** 100 PARLIAMENTS AS OPEN DATA, READY FOR YOU TO USE (https://www.mysociety.org/2015/07/31/100-parliaments-as-open-data-ready-for-you-to-use/)

A nice post from MySociety that outlines some of the work from the Poplus project. Perhaps of most direct relevance here is the link to the Popolo standard (http://www.popoloproject.com/) , an open government data specification. The other links show how useful it could be for civic apps.

** NEW OS OPEN BASEMAPS AVAILABLE FOR FREE IN ARCGIS ONLINE (http://communityhub.esriuk.com/journal/2015/8/3/new-os-open-basemaps-available-for-free-in-arcgis-online.html)

If you use ArcGIS then the latest update has taken advantage of the OS opening up their maps to include some new basemaps.

** VISULISATION

http://www.statista.com/chart/3636/the-cheapest-cities-worldwide-to-drink-a-beer/
http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2015/08/03/fascinating-maps-show-whats-across-the-ocean-when-youre-at-the-beach/

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2015/08/start/infoporn-free-apps-are-giving-away-your-private-life/viewgallery/538186