MediaMill Gazette 65

R, open data innovation and automagical data viz. New time, same old Media Mill!

OpenData.Innovation: an international journey to discover innovative uses of open government data
“Mor Rubinstein (Open Knowledge International) and Josh Cowls and Corinne Cath (Oxford Internet Institute) explores the methods and motivations behind innovative uses of open government data in five specific country contexts – Chile, Argentine, Uruguay, Israel, and Denmark; and considers how the insights it uncovers might be adopted in a UK context”

Lasers, hedgehogs and the rise of the Age of Yoghurt: reflections on #OpenDefra
You can’t argue with a headline like that can you. Helen Broad reflects on her time as an expert adviser on data to the Secretary of State

VIDEO: FiveThirtyEight’s data journalism workflow with R
A great video that walks through a number of the well-known DDJ site’s stories and projects and looks at how R played a part. If you like that then you might also enjoy’s “So you want to be a data journalist?” video featuring the Guardian’s George Arnett.

Convert GB Eastings and Northings to WGS84 Latitude and Longitudes.
A neat windows application by Tom Forth that converts geolocation formats.

Q&A: ODI’s Nigel Shadbolt explores if Brexit is a disaster for digital
The New Statesman asks Shadbolt about where digital goes next after Brexit. His conclusions – “more open data, stronger data infrastructure, innovation, transparency, accountability, and open standards across the globe”

How open rail data is changing the way passengers travel
An interesting overview of the way open data use has developed to disrupt train information services.

EVENT: 10 Aug 2016 -11:00am – 12:00pm  Welsh Audit office: Open data hangout 
The Welsh Audit office are running a google hangout looking at how Open data might play a part in the  implementation of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Might be interesting  to readers elsewhere in the UK around areas such as the Public Services (Social Value) act 

Open data and the role of the chief executive
““This is not something for ICT. It requires ownership from senior leadership” So says Stephen Baker, chief executive, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils

I love a bit of sensor journalism so was very excited by this from  John Keefe who is kind of a pioneer in the sensor journalism field and heads up the US based data news team at WNYC. There’s always something interesting going on the site or on his blog.

Kicking and screaming’: 50 years of FOIA
The US Freedom of Information act is 50. This piece, with a nifty timeline, tells the story.

Is a lack of strategy holding back councils from realising the benefits of smart cities?
“Members of 187 councils across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were contacted by DJS Research, the independent agency that carried out the research. 80% of those contacted said that they had little or no involvement in smart initiatives”

Government retreats from Land Registry sale
Apparently it was “fierce criticism from a succession of Tory backbenchers in a Commons debate held against the turmoil of the party leadership race” what did for it. More here.

Beware ‘nefarious’ use of open data, summit hears
David Petley, pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of East Anglia says: “Public understanding of climate change has been really damaged by open data,”

Plaqr  – blue plaque game
A nice experiment using open data on Blue Plaques. Can you identify the location of the Blue Plaque from the description.

Factivated – strength in numbers
A site offering an interesting mix of data search engine and visulisation tools. Looks good even if they have used the word “Automagically”

Natural Language Interfaces for open data and NGOs.
Could natural language interfaces [and chat bots] be useful to create a stronger social ethic, and build a new sense of democracy based on transparency?

Britain’s most walked paths revealed. 
The OS have been making some nice images based on routes that people create using their tools online. Some nice pics.