Open Data Manchester launches
Paul ‘Vagueware’ Robinson writes:
There is a real buzz all over Europe at the moment about “Open Data” initiatives where repositories of information are made available for exploration by the general public. Of course, it’s not sufficient to just make the data available – there is a growing need for new tools to explore datasets, perhaps similar to Google’s recently announced Public Data Explorer.
Whilst projects like data.gov.uk provide a starting point for national data sets, momentum is starting to build at local and regional levels for more detailed, higher resolution information held by local public bodies. By comparison, most European cities are some way behind the impressive local data catalogue published by the city of Vancouver.
Many public bodies might feel there is not a large enough community to make use of the data, or that it is of insufficient value to make available to the public. In Manchester, a new group hopes to change that.
Open Data Manchester is a new group that has as its stated aims to:
“[…] help developers and designers become more familiar with tools, datasets and other projects around the World; identify datasets of use to local data users and of interest to us generally; [and] to provide a catalyst for local authorities in Manchester and the North so that they might make data available for exploration, knowing there are established groups who wish to use it
The group plans to have regular meetings (probably at MadLab, the new home for most digital communities in Manchester), but there is also a Google Group for those further afield with something to contribute, or just keen to hear about what’s going on.