Sessions at OpenTech 2011 about Open Data

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Saturday 21st May 2011

  • 1C - Open Data Cities

    by Jag Goraya, Greg Hadfield and Julian Tait

    Open Data Cities: Manchester

    Julian Tait


    Open Data Cities: Brighton

    Greg Hadfield

    By 2050, 70 per cent of the world's population will live in cities - networked cities in a networked world. Open-data cities can get a headstart on the journey into the future. But can Brighton and Hove, Manchester, and Lichfield rival San Francisco, New York, and Washington? Should UK cities have CIOs, as US cities have? And what is an open-data city anyway?

    Open Data Sheffield

    Jag Goraya

    Seizing the open data city initiative. Addressing public sector stakeholder and geek community expectations.

    At 10:45am to 11:25am, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

  • 2C

    by WDMMG, OKFN and Rufus Pollock

    Adopt a paragraph

    juliano spyer

    A few years ago i started a project called Adopt a Paragraph to product collective translations of texts from English to Portuguese. It worked really well and it only used Google Docs and Twitter. here: http://bit.ly/aynXbL

    Introducing Open Spending: "Where Does My Money Go?" Goes Global

    Slides: http://m.okfn.org/files/talks/op...

    Rufus Pollock

    The "Where Does My Money Go?" project helps UK taxpayers to better understand the public purse. It uses a range of interactive tools to enable users to explore and visually represent complex datasets. Internationally it is widely cited as a shining example of the reuse of open government data. Building on this, Open Spending aims to take the project global, developing both a platform and a a flexible range of open source tools to represent spending data from around the world. We're exploring, structuring and mapping out different kinds of public finance from all around the world - state budgets, spending reports, grants and subsidy data. Our goal is to create an interactive platform similar to OpenStreetMap: while on OSM you map your block, on OpenSpending it's your local government spend.

    At 11:40am to 12:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

    Coverage audio clip

  • 3C - linked data

    by Paul Makepeace, Francis Irving, ScraperWiki, Hadley Beeman and glynwintle

    Hadley, Link, Gov! - LinkedGov

    Hadley Beeman, Glyn Wintle, Alex Coley

    Updates and engagement in this highly entertaining talk by the linkedgov project.

    Crowdscraping - real stories of using ScraperWiki to gather worldwide datasets

    Francis Irving

    Track every company in the world? Every farmers market? All the planning applications as they come in? Increasing computing power, cheaper data storage, neater screen-scraping libraries, and new collaborative software, together combine to let us gather data sets we never would have dreamed of before.

    Google Refine

    Paul Makepeace

    Refine is a powerful, fun, fast tool for exploring, visualising, and 'cleaning' datasets. Data rarely comes in the form we want it in: inconsistencies, formatting errors, corrupted accents, schema mismatches, ... Refine can help interactively discover patterns and sift out and transform your dataset, without scripting or programming. I'll cover core concepts: faceted browsing and clustering, as well as touch on the GR Expression Language, and reconciliation.

    At 1:30pm to 2:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Seminar Room, University of London Union

  • W4 - The quest for open rail data

    by Jonathan Raper

    --- Jonathan Raper - placr.co.uk ---

    The rail industry in Britain receives over £5 billion of public funding but releases no open data to allow publication of novel real time information products or to allow independent scrutiny of performance. This is due to the fact that Network Rail, the private sector infrastructure owner operating under public regulation and guarantee, has exclusively sub-licensed all passenger information publication to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), another private body.

    ATOC therefore currently have a monopoly on the provision of train departure information, and they operate under a licence from the Office of Rail Regulation that allows them to make value judgments about who should have access to the data. Consequently ATOC have denied access to their National Rail Enquiries API to several developers whose plans for the use of the data did not meet with their approval.

    This talk will explain how this situation has arisen, and what campaigners and developers can do to change it. Firstly, the Office for Rail Regulation has a consultation open about how passenger information should be provided by Network Rail and the train operating companies (TOCs), and this needs to hear the views of those looking for open data releases. Secondly, Network Rail have an internal rail industry train departure portal called TD.net and this could be used to make information available without changing the work that ATOC do with National Rail Enquiries.

    Network Rail need to be encouraged to make it freely available as part of a developer programme. Successfully releasing train departures as open data would allow a massive expansion of open transport data across the country, which would be likely to unleash a wave of innovation.

    More on all these topics on the placr blog: http://placr.co.uk/blog/2011/05/...

    --- Peter Hicks ---
    Peter followed up on the politics with a dive into some of the technicalities of file formats such as CIF used by the UK rail industry.

    At 2:30pm to 3:30pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Room 3E, University of London Union

  • 5A - interesting questions

    by Chris Taggart, Tim Ireland, Dave Cross, Denny, Police State UK and Helen Lambert

    Watching the Press

    Dave Cross

    The growth of blogging and social networking has given readers a way to challenge some of the disinformation that is published by the press every day. We'll look at some of the projects which are shining lights where newspapers would rather they weren't shone and highlight some examples of press inaccuracies. Some of them will make you laugh. Some of them will make you angry.

    SEO Kung Fu Spotlight

    Tim Ireland

    Previously, to shine a light in dark corners, you needed to cooperation of a publisher or broadcaster or someone working for them. Now you can do it onyour own, but it is foolish to expect that you can reach the same number(s) of people as these outdated behemoths, or even that you need to. Besides, they lie about their numbers, just as those who copy them do. Keeping an MP honest, for example, starts with an audience of one. This will be an entertaining talk on political impacts. The Commercial version is one you can pay Tim for: http://www.bloggerheads.com/seo-...

    OpenCorporates :: Building an open global database the distributed way

    Chris Taggart

    OpenCorporates has one simple (but big) goal, to have a URL for every company in the world, to allow campaigners, journalists and governments match their existing messy data with the actual real-world corporate entities, and connect the data together. But we could never do this alone, and fortunately with the help of some cool tools, a few small bounties, and a fantastic community, we're not having to, and already we've got over 8 million companies in over a dozen jurisdictions. Here's how we did it.

    At 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Saturday 21st May

    In Main Room, University of London Union