Welcome to Open Data Manchester

Open Data Manchester has been leading the way in open data practice in Manchester since 2010. It was set up as an advocacy group to encourage and share open data practice between public bodies, business and citizens alike. It has been instrumental in the setting up of DataGM and various other open data initiatives in Greater Manchester and beyond. It is most well known for bringing together communities of practice to help disseminate and share knowledge, participate in policy making and support organisations using data. Now, having taken up residence at Federation in the centre of Manchester we are looking at building a centre for state of the art data practice by pulling in the knowledge and skills of the data community both in Greater Manchester and further afield. Get in touch and join us on our journey.

Buildings, internet of things and open data – Can we create consent?

Thursday 25th January 15.00 – 17.00
Federation
Federation Street
Manchester M4 4BF

Register here

Sensors and the Internet of Things have the ability to transform the way we manage infrastructure. Open Data Manchester in partnership with Sensorstream Ltd and Things Manchester in collaboration with Rennes Metropole is exploring how data from sensors can be collected, analysed and released as open data.

This workshop should interest building owners and managers, city officials, IoT technologists, open data activists, data governance and privacy specialists and anyone interested in how data derived from sensors can be shared.

Areas of discussion:

  • Overview of technologies being used for monitoring buildings – using as an example a pilot LoRaWAN sensor network being implemented in Manchester and programmes taking place in Rennes.
  • Can the sharing of sensor data help save money and make our cities more efficient and environmentally sustainable?
  • What are the risks of sharing and how can they be mitigated against?
  • How can data be licensed as open data?
  • Can we create a consent framework to allow data to be released?

The project

The Knowable Building Framework is developing an open source internet of things consent framework for monitoring the performance of older commercial buildings in a non-invasive way using discrete low power sensors, and if appropriate publishing the data from these sensors as open data. Unlike modern stock, older buildings often fall behind as far as the utilisation of new technology is concerned. Many landlords undertake a certain amount of retrofitting such as zonal heating or movement detection systems but these tend to be ad hoc and unconnected, with no ability to monitor how effectively these systems are working either singly or together. The internet of things and the analysis of data derived from sensors can give landlords, building management and tenants insight into the performance of buildings, enabling adaptations that can be economically and environmentally beneficial, whilst also creating opportunities for behaviour change within those buildings. The sharing of performance data as open data can also have benefits for mapping energy usage and demand within cities as well as creating a debate about responsible energy consumption.

 

Work with us

Call for freelance staff (paid)
Open Data Manchester has an ambitious programme for 2018 that includes events, workshops, training and data projects. To help us deliver these projects successfully we would like to call on the Open Data Manchester community to help.

At present we are creating a register of people we can call on to help deliver forthcoming projects and the skills we will be looking for will be as diverse as the programme that we seek to deliver.

So if you are if data is your thing, you can wrangle code or manage events and help keep Open Data Manchester going please send your CV and availability to hello[@]opendatamanchester[.]org[.]uk. We can’t promise anything but we may contact you soon. See below for the rates we pay.

The rates are averaged from a number of sources and worked out as:
Half day rate is day rate / 8 * 4.5 and rounded to the nearest £10
Weekly (contiguous days) daily rate * 4.5 rounded to the nearest £10
Fortnightly (contiguous days) daily rate * 9 rounded to the nearest £10

For longer periods of work we will be offering fixed-term and fixed fee contracts.

Fancy volunteering
Over the next couple of months we will start to develop a volunteer programme to do more more outreach work. If you are interested in joining us drop an email to hello[a]opendatamanchester[.]org[.]uk outlining your interests and availability. Open Data Manchester has a policy of reimbursing reasonable expenses for travel and food when volunteering.

Open Data Manchester is committed to making opportunities available to all regardless of sex, race, marital status, disability, age, part-time or fixed term contract status, sexual orientation or religion. Our Equal Opportunities Policy is a living document and can be found here.

So you think you know your country? Data, democracy and demographics

Tuesday 30th January
18.30 – 20.30
Federation
Federation Street
Manchester
M4 4BF

Sign up here
So you think you know your country? is a series of events challenging some of the assumptions that we hold about the UK, the communities in which we live and how data can help create better awareness, understanding and change.

The first event – Data, democracy and demographics – takes a look at emerging trends and patterns within the UK from metropolitan centres to towns and rural communities, how people perceive economic differences and how these shifts are affecting the political landscape of our country.

To help explore this changing landscape we’ll be joined by Jane Green – Professor of Political Science at Manchester University and Ian Warren founder of Election Data and the Centre for Towns.

There will be presentations followed by an opportunity for lots of discussion.

Following events in the series will be – Who owns the land? and A question of money. Join our mailing list at http://www.opendatamanchester.org.uk to get advance notification of these and other events and training we’ll be running in the new year.

Open Data Manchester launch

 

The Open Data Manchester story began a new chapter on Thursday 28th November with our launch at our new home of Federation in Manchester. It has been our mantra over the last eight years that we are guided by and seek to represent the interests of the data community in Greater Manchester, and the community is wide and diverse from people who use data in their day to day to data activists who seek information to further a cause. From public to private sector, from Diggle to Orrell and anywhere in between.

This new chapter starts with us being a Community Interest Company with a mission “To promote a fairer and more equitable society through the development of responsible and intelligent data practice”. Being a company will allow us to develop a more sustainable programme and be ambitious in what we do. We have a board of directors, Michelle Brook, Linda Humphries, Julian Tait, Farida Vis and Jamie Whyte with Julian also being the CEO.

After the introductions and talks from Linda, Julian and Jamie the attendees were invited to help guide what Open Data Manchester does by writing down suggestions as to what they wanted to do and what they wanted to see.

These suggestions have been broken down into three categories – activities, data and projects. These are listed at the end of this post. Over the coming months we shall endeavour to answer some of these requests and if you are interested in helping with them, let us know.

To get the ball rolling Open Data Manchester is using a Medium channel https://medium.com/@opendatamcr which we invite submissions. Subjects can be broad, but need to be relevant to our community of practice. They can be critical but not defamatory. If you need any help let us know and we will usually sub-edit before posting anyway.

Suggestions

Projects
Improve very local, community level data access
Understanding pregnancy and birth rates across the region
A ‘civic data authority’ not-for-profit partnership for Manchester
Understand how many children with learning difficulties are in the school system without support

Data
Pothole data for Manchester
Underused spaces in buildings that could be used by the community
Local government data: performance, spending, democracy
Budgets for mental health and wellbeing in schools
Ambulance times to destination across the region

Activity
An open ODM blog that all can submit posts too – Done
Expand the potential labour market and jobs available in GM
Helping with data literacy
Help with accountability for devolved power in GM
Work professionally and voluntarily with ODM Manchester
Make it easier to access tools, data and platforms for non-specialists
Hackathon
Open Data Hackathon (Defined objectives could be a ++)
Support and Open Data Manchester Data Dive

Knowable Building Framework

Open Data Manchester working with Sensorstream Ltd and Things Manchester is developing a platform for gathering, analysing and sharing insight from sensors within buildings.

The Knowable Building Framework is an Internet of Things framework for monitoring the performance of older commercial buildings in a non-invasive way using discrete low power sensors, and if appropriate publishing this data as open data. Unlike modern stock, older buildings often fall behind as far as the utilisation of new technology is concerned. Many landlords undertake a certain amount of retrofitting such as zonal heating or movement detection systems but these tend to be ad hoc and unconnected, with no ability to monitor how effectively these systems are working either singly or together. The internet of things and the analysis of data derived from sensors can give landlords, building management and tenants insight into the performance of buildings, enabling adaptations that can be economically and environmentally beneficial, whilst also creating opportunities for behaviour change within those buildings.

The initiative will harness the connectivity of the public Things Network, that covers a large proportion of Greater Manchester and across the North, and will allow the project team to design and connect sensors and analytics platforms seamlessly to the internet. The power of the project will come from the ability to share an appropriate amount of  data across portfolios of buildings and also to the wider community as open data, enabling insight to be gathered across the city. This will have the further benefit of not only measuring building performance but connecting other sensor data as as well.

It is a collaboration with the City of Rennes in Brittany, seen as a centre of excellence regarding the development of Low Power Wide Area Networks and open data, and is funded through the Open Data Institute.

We will be running a workshops in Rennes and Manchester with building owners and technologists in January and February, to understand how better to design and implement the framework. If you would like to be involved, email us at hello [a] opendatamanchester.org.uk

Open Data Manchester Launch – 28th November 2017

As of the beginning of November, Open Data Manchester is a Community Interest Company (CIC). This means that our mission to promote a fairer and more equitable society through the development of intelligent and responsible data practice is now baked in to our constitution. Being a CIC allows us to develop and promote our community-focussed programme whilst also allowing us to work commercially to help support its delivery.

The board of directors are Michelle Brook, Linda Humphries, Julian Tait, Farida Vis and Jamie Whyte. Who will all be at Federation for the launch of Open Data Manchester on the 28th November so please do come and talk to us.

Register on Meetup here, it would be great to see you

Fare’s Fair – Why we need open fares data for public transport

Being able to understand how much your journey is going to cost is essential for encouraging mobility by public transport in our modern age. Not knowing how much a journey is going to cost before you make it, hinders forward planning and creates a barrier to use. How many people have stepped on to a bus only to find that the journey was more expensive than they first thought? Or that the fare charged yesterday was different than the fare you got charged today?

To this end transport campaigners have been vocal in their efforts to get public transport agencies and operators of public bus services to release fares data, so that people can make intelligent choices about the way that they get around. Transport Hack organised by the fantastic people at ODILeeds is one such example of this happening. Open Data Manchester was itself involved with opening up the bus fares data for all of Greater Manchester in 2010, only for TfGM to discontinue.

Yesterday we learn’t that TfGM had knocked back an FOI request for Manchester Metrolink fares data, citing issues of Commercial Interest.

We think this is wrong on a number of points.

  • Manchester Metrolink is the only tram operator in Greater Manchester – not counting the fantastic tramway at Heaton Park, which we don’t think is a competitor
  • The data is already in the public domain – therefore it wouldn’t take that much effort to aggregate it or get a picture of the fares structure
  • It is in the public interest to get as many people to understand the cost of mobility in Greater Manchester
  • Closed systems hinder the development of seamless ticketing and multi-modal travel by putting opaque commercial interests in front of public service delivery

To this end Open Data Manchester set about compiling the fares data for the Metrolink network. It did’t take that long – about a day – and we used programmatic as well as manual methods. The data is in tabular Excel form as well as a parsed text document. It is provided as is and we can’t be liable for any mistakes or inconsistencies – although we have checked it as much as we can.  Please let us know if you find any errors or create something interesting.

The data can be found here

Minor edits – addition of a link and additional bullet point were made at 14.00, 20.10.17

An edit was made regarding licensing 18.11.17

Open Data Manchester – Next Steps

Thursday 21st September 18.30-20.30
1st Floor
Federation House
Federation Street
Manchester
M4 2AH

Register here

After seven years Open Data Manchester has become a registered company and soon it will become a CIC. This will allow us to deliver better programmes and also work with others more effectively.

If you would like to hear more and suggest ideas for future activity. Join us

Internet of Things and Open Data Publishing

Tuesday October 3rd 10.30 – 13.30

FACT
88 Wood Street
Liverpool
L1 4DQ

Register for free here

If you have an interest in internet of things and how the data produced can contribute to the broader data economy, this is your chance to have a say.

The internet of things offers unparalleled means to create data from sensors, devices and the platforms behind them. This explosion of connectedness is creating huge opportunity for building new products and services, and enhancing existing ones. With these opportunities come some gnarly challenges. These exist around standards in data and protocols, security, discoverability, openness, ethics and governance. None of these are trivial but all of them need to be understood.

This workshop is for people involved in open data, Smart Cities and the internet of things who are starting to come up against and answer some of these challenges.

It is being run by Open Data Manchester and ODI Leeds for the Open Data Institute to look at the future of open data publishing and IoT

The Open Data Institute (ODI) is always working towards improvements in open data – from making it easier to find and use right through to refining and implementing standards. They are very keen to work with people who use open data to see what they can be doing to help and improve open data for everyone.

The workshops are open to everyone who wants to join in, contribute, or work with us. The output from the workshops will be put forward to the ODI and the UK government with recommendations on how open data should be published.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

If you can’t make it but would still like to contribute, we have an ‘open document’ available here. We encourage people to add their questions, comments, suggestions, etc.

After the workshop there is the launch of LCR Activate a £5m project led by Liverpool John Moores University with the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) and the LCR Local Enterprise Partnership. A three-year European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) initiative using AI, Big Data/High Performance Computing, Merging Data and Cloud technologies for the benefit of SMEs in the Liverpool City Region. Register here.