Re-animating Warwickshire Open Data

jurassic park posterFor the last year or so the WCC open data project has been in a state of near hibernation – although we have been steadily updating our open data site with various bits and pieces (most notably monthly information on all payments over £500) – a number of factors have meant that the amount of time and effort that we have been able to put into this area has dwindled.

It is now time for a crack multi-disciplinary team of WCC staff to re-animate this slumbering giant. Rather than some complicated DNA based cloning method, we have brought together a variety of staff from across the organisation to form an open data group.

The purpose in creating this group is to spread the idea of and responsibility for open data across the authority rather than it being seen as an ICT-centric initiative.

There will be more news and information on these exciting new developments very, very soon. And with a bit of luck it won’t involve anyone getting eaten.

Mature County Council, GSOH, seeks local media developer to share good times, funding opportunities

Hi, I’m a large public sector body based in Warwickshire, I have lots of experience, a great sense of humour and a burning unfulfilled desire to make the most of my prodigious open data assets.

I’m looking for a dynamic local digital media development company to share evenings out, trips to the cinema and maybe something more lasting… like working together to apply for up to £30,000 worth of funding to develop exciting new open data applications for Warwickshire, more details here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/networked_society/digital/make_it_local

If you are interested please get in touch via opendata@warwickshire.gov.uk – you don’t need to include a recent photo, but some details of your experience would be welcome, as well as any ideas you have for open data applications that we could build together.

We can meet in Warwick town square, I’ll be dressed as a huge concrete building with a pond out the front.

New Hack Warwickshire Prizes in Association with Yahoo!

Very excited to announce that we will have two more categories for prizes in our Hack Warwickshire competition. Both have been made possible by the marvellous people at the Yahoo! Developer Network.

In each case these prizes are open to everyone eligible to enter Hack Warwickshire, whether a member of the public or a member of staff at Warwickshire County Council. The two new categories are:

Best Hack Warwickshire entry using Yahoo! Query Language

As the title suggests so succinctly we will be awarding a prize to the entry that makes the best use of YQL, best described as “Pipes for the command line”. Dveelopers will find it super-easy to use – have a play at http://developer.yahoo.com/yql/console/ or check out the documentation at http://developer.yahoo.com/yql. The winner of this category will receive an iPod shuffle.

Hack Warwickshire: Give us an idea

If you have a great idea for an application but are not a technical person we have a new category in Hack Warwickshire to get you involved. Send your ideas for applications, web sites or mash ups that you think should be built using Warwickshire data and the best entry will win an iPod shuffle, once again kindly supplied by Yahoo!

To enter, send us a description of your idea to opendata@warwickshire.gov.uk –  feel free to include as much or as little detail as you like, pictures/diagrams welcome. We will publish them on this site on the Give us an idea page and the prize winning entry will be chosen during the Hack Warwickshire event on 9th July at WCC headquarters. Your idea needs to be with us by the end of Friday 2nd of July.

Three Weeks Left To Hack Warwickshire

There are still three more weeks to submit your entry to Hack Warwickshire, the closing date is Friday 25th June – still plenty of time to develop an all conquering example of how Warwickshire’s Open Data can lead to new and innovative ways of working as well as winning yourself a brand new Apple Ipad.

There are plenty of examples to check out on our App Gallery page – so have a look, get inspired and sign up at our open data community to see what else is going on.

Just to keep things interesting we are going to be opening up two more categories in the competition – further announcements today.

Cinematic Hack Warwickshire Action

So, the Hack Warwickshire competition is well under-way, @808kate is co-ordinating a media blitz and we already have some great ideas and examples rolling in through the Open Data Community. In an especially marvellous move, Chris Heilmann of Yahoo! has created a screen-cast of the process he went through to create his entry, a map showing various services and associated details.

It’s well worth a watch if you are interested in how you could use Yahoo Pipes and YQL to help build your own project. This and a load of other examples are now available for your perusal in our App Gallery.

App Gallery Launched With Bacon Sarnie Showdown

There are many, many books on management theory and motivation techniques, but if you want to get the best out of a group of ICT developers I have now discovered that your best bet is to give them a slight chance of winning a bacon sandwich.

To stock our new App Gallery, I offered the applications strategy team the chance of winning said sandwich for the person who submitted what their peers considered to be the best example using a source from our open data site.

After some rapid brainstorming and development, the chaps came up with several examples which you can peruse on this very site, using the App Gallery link at the top of the page. Chris Jones was a landslide winner for his clever use of school admissions data to show a notional catchment boundary for WCC education establishments on his Warwick Schools Admission Information app. This has been a labour of love for Chris and he won’t mind me saying that he was really quite emotional about winning, although punching the air and shouting “In your face” at the other finalists wasn’t very sporting.

There is a load of information and discussion on all of these initial projects on our Warwickshire Open Data Community, we are all looking forward to Hack Warwickshire starting on Monday and hope that these quick initial apps give everyone some inspiration or ideas to build on over the next six weeks.

Finally huge thanks to Sue and Estelle at Warwick’s world famous and cunningly named “Coffee Shop” for supporting innovation in Local Government by sponsoring this event with a bacon sandwich and a can of coke for the winner. Pop in and see them if you are a fan of quality lunches and service (occasionally) with a smile.

The World Famous Coffee Shop

Hack Warwickshire competition announced

You may have noticed a new tab has appeared at the top of this page, check it out for details of our Hack Warwickshire competition, which opens on Monday. We are looking for all types of exciting applications, web sites, mashups and visualisations to be built using Warwickshire Open Data.

The best entry as judged by a panel of WCC luminaries and industry experts will win a brand new Apple iPad.

We will be posting up some examples to get you started in our App Gallery on Friday and we hope to see a surge of activity in our open data community once the contest is launched.

We’re officially open for business

Despite the fact that it has been available for the last week or so the WCC open data site has now been officially launched by an official WCC announcement involving a pun, described officially as “awful”.

Now things are properly kicked off we will be taking a number of steps to grow the site and make it more useful over the coming weeks.

  1. Adding more data: Behind the scenes we are working with the authority to liberate a wide range of public information and ensure it is available in open formats. There will soon be data available on areas such as school exclusions, traffic, car parking, council buildings and WCC finance.
  2. Providing alternative formats: Just ironing out a few small problems and then we will be able to provide static data sets in multiple formats (CSV, XML and XLS).
  3. Introducing more dynamic data feeds and web services: this is part of our broader applications strategy approach (more at http://abigbang.wordpress.com) which is about the deployment of re-usable web services wherever possible for both internal and external application and processes. One key area will be making use of our GIS data now that it appears the rules around making OS derived data available are relaxing.
  4. Building a community: This will form part of the main open data site and will focus on feedback about the data available, providing a route for requesting new data or changes plus a showcase for web sites and applications that make use of any of the information we have published. Any thoughts on how such a community should function are welcome, either here or via opendata@warwickshire.gov.uk.

We are really happy with how things have gone so far and it was great to see the first example of something built using our data, a Yahoo! Pipes project at: http://www.meanboyfriend.com/overdue_ideas/2010/04/putting-warwickshire-libraries-on-the-map/ – hopefully the first of many.

New Data Sets Added

We have updated the Warwickshire Open Data site with the following sets of information you can find them all at http://opendata.warwickshire.gov.uk/datasets or for a more organised view, you can check individual categories.

In CSV format we have the election results, specifically:

Council Election Results 4th June 2009
Council Election Results 5th May 2005
Council Election Results 7th June 2001

As XML Feeds we have information and geographic locations for the following council services:

Country Parks
Libraries
Museums and Galleries
One Stop Shops
Recycling Centres

There will be more soon, keep watching this space or follow our twitter feed at @wccopendata

Warwickshire Open Data Site Now Live

As of now the open data site is available at http://opendata.warwickshire.gov.uk. the site will be officially launched next week but if you want to kick the tyres and check out the data that is already available please feel free. Any WCC people may find that this URL doesn’t work properly within our network – don’t panic we will be sending round an alternative address via other means.

Currently there is a small collection of data sets available, but by next week there will be more information available and in more formats. We will also be gearing up the community side of the site and have already set up a new twitter feed to help keep the wider world informed @wccopendata.

We are really keen to get any feedback, so please add comments here or get in touch via opendata@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.