Things are moving along nicely…

We have not been idle of the last three months.  The Advocates are in place and ready to start blogging and uploading datasets.  The publishers are now able to access Open Data email and are uploading information in the form of reports and articles onto the relevant websites and linking these to the raw datasets that can be used and reused by those interested enough.

The one we are following closely is the Equality and Diversity data, should be published by 31st January by our publisher Matt Hawthorne.

Warwickshire has also successfully recruited a new GIS Manager who will eventually be the contact point for Open Data in Warwickshire, his details will be published in time, once we have inducted and prepared him sufficiently.

Opening up Warwickshire’s data – again!

The main driver for open data is that the current Government has pledged to making public sector data openly available.  It is high on their agenda, supported by the Opposition, and soon to be a legal requirement.

What is Open Data and how will if effect you?

The idea is that collections of non-personal data held by the public sector should be freely available to be used and re-mixed by anyone who is interested. The objectives for this is that our data will be:

  • open so that it can be turned into useful applications
  • transparent so government can be accountable
  • shared between public sector partners more efficiently.

Datasets owned by Warwickshire will be encouraged to be made public wherever practical and secure to do so.

  • Data will be published on the council’s websites.
  • All data will be published in formats which will allow easy reuse with csv as a default.
  • All data will be issued as free to use, in accordance with the Open Government Licence which is compatible with a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.
  • Datasets will be recorded in HM Government’s register of open data at http://data.gov.uk and at http://opendata.warwickshire.gov.uk.
  • Dataset versions and published date will be clearly labelled, with a schedule for regular maintenance.

What does this mean for you?

One of the benefits of continuing to develop our open data resources is that by increasing our catalogue of datasets allows for the development of new, innovative and accurate web sites and applications to enhance the dissemination and use of data.
It will also aid and promote the concept of recycling and reusing application resources as a single dataset can be used in many applications, thereby creating a single source of the truth. By removing the issue of duplication of data records, it organically simplyfies the Information Architecture.
Our current applications can be found at the following address:
We need more datasets to be published and the applications that will naturally follow.  To this end Warwickshire has created an Open Data Group to set up the business processes needed to embed the principles of open data in our everyday culture.  So far it consists of  a group of advocates, including three publishers, that are tasked with finding and promoting datasets. The organisation chart and assorted documentation will be published on the  Wiki in due course (under ICT Strategy).

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.

Never mind the World Cup, here are the Hack Warwickshire results

After 3 hours locked in the War Room of Warwickshire County Council, we are delighted to announce that the winners of our inaugural Hack Warwickshire competition are:

 Lewis Wagner with his Warwickshire Library New Releases hack

 and

 Matt Hawthorne with his Warwickshire Wired Hack

Congratulations should also go to Karen Ramsey-Smith for her great idea and Chris Heilmann for his excellent use of Yahoo! YQL, who are both the recipients of Apple iPod Shuffles.

 The standard of entries was great and our judges were all very impressed with what they were looking at. Dave Coplin, of Microsoft, said

“My goodness, there’s some good stuff in there”

Thanks to everyone who got involved, we’re delighted with the outcome and, remember, there will be more opportunities to Hack Warwickshire soon.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Quick Preview

Now that we have loaded a healthy chunk of our initial open data sets up to the Amazon cloud storage that we will be using to serve them from I have started adding a few to the catalogue.

The catalogue is a Ruby on Rails application that will form the basis of our open data web presence and will look like a much more heavily populated version of this:

a mini screenshot from our open data catalogue front end