The Political Mashup and Open Data

According to Wikipedia, there are many types of mashup. Now, thanks to David Cameron and Nick Clegg there is a new type of mashup – the Political Mashup (if I could copyright that, I would). 

I’ve been having tremendous fun reading “The Coalition: Programme for Government” this morning with my Open Data glasses on looking for more carrots and sticks to “encourage” data out of WCC. It seems Dave and Nick have heard my furious swearing after yet another unsuccessful phone call with one of our data huggers (that’s what I call them on a good day). Here are just a few extracts from the programme that should help local authorities overcome some of the problems we are currently having: 

  • Setting government data free will bring significant economic benefits by enabling businesses and non-profit organisations to build innovative applications and websites
  • We will require public bodies to publish online the job titles of every member of staff and the salaries and expenses of senior officials paid more than the lowest salary permissible in PayBand 1 of the Senior Civil Service pay scale, and organograms that include all positions in those bodies
  • We will publish government ICT contracts online
  • We will require full, online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over £25,000
  • We will create a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis
  • We will require all councils to publish meeting minutes and local service and performance data
  • We will ensure that all data published by public bodies is published in an open and standardised format, so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties
  • We will implement the Sustainable Communities Act, so that citizens know how taxpayers’ money is spent in their area
  • We will oblige the police to publish detailed local crime data statistics every month

I’d like to end on a positive note as I feel I may have overplayed how difficult I am finding getting data out of WCC. On the whole, everyone has been marvellous at getting me their data and been very supportive. The ones that haven’t, you know who you are.

Advertisements

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.

Don’t stop us now…

The WCC open data team are having such a good time.

Like the Icelandic volcano, our open data work has been rumbling along nicely over the last few weeks. We’ve had a steady stream of new data being delivered neatly on our doorstep and the excitement of being “officially” launched.

Just in the last few hours we’ve had exclusions data, bridge weight limits and height restrictions.

Like the new kid at school, we have been received well and everyone has been very kind and gentle, but now it’s time to get on with the job and ensure all of our hard work produces some great results before we get roughed up behind the bike sheds.

In the pipeline we have listed buildings, school crossing patrols, congestion, budget and revenue, and pension fund data, to name just a few.

As we speak, my colleague is busy writing the rules for our Hack Warwickshire competition, due to launch within the next couple of weeks. We have also been developing some very exciting sample applications to give you an idea of what could be done with our data.

So keep watching, we will be flaunting ourselves shamelessly around the open data community over the next few weeks.