For more than a decade, Open Data Manchester (ODM) has been raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges of using data, and supporting individuals and organisations to build their understanding and skills.
- Born out FutureEverything’s Open Data Cities programme, and inspired by open data activists in the UK and internationally, Open Data Manchester (ODM) convenes its first meeting in April.
- As part of the first global Open Data Day, ODM brings together more than 20 people for its first hackathon, tackling the World Bank’s Apps for Development Challenge as a way to connect the local network with the global community.
- Successfully lobbies for regional transport agency GMPTE (now TfGM) to release its bus schedules as open data, becoming the first region to do so, and enabling the creation of new applications and insight.
- Using Freedom of Information requests, ODM gets GMPTE to release bus fare data – but it’s unusable without datasets that are restricted by government licensing. This sparks the community to create alternative ways ti find out how much it costs to travel, including Bus Fair, which asks people to photograph their tickets.
- ODM supports FutureEverything and Trafford Council on DataGM – The Greater Manchester Datastore – an accessible space for the region’s data and the first public-sector-community datastore collaboration.
- ODM partners with Manchester City Council to identify data to release for its first-ever hackathon – Lovely Data – starting a new kind of relationship between local authorities and local people.
- As part of Manchester City Council’s Code Fellow programme, Open Data Manchester successfully places a developer from the community into TfGM to help it develop open data applications.
- Launches What Is This Thing Called Open Data? – taking a critical look at the reasons and motivations for releasing open data – to start a conversation locally about the good and bad of data practice.
- Supports the Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme with FutureEverything to get Code Fellows into Salford, Manchester, Trafford and Stockport councils to identify and transform useful datasets – focus is on local planning as a lack of comparability is inhibiting coordinated decision-making.
2014 – 2015
- Partners on Everyday Growing Cultures, led by The University of Sheffield with The Kindling Trust and Grow Sheffield, to explore digital engagement and open data for allotment holders, those on waiting lists and people interested in growing on unused council land – designed to build stronger, more active communities, benefit local economies, and improve environmental sustainability and food security. One group uses the project to identify places in Greater Manchester with similar growing potential.
- To counter the corporate abuse of personal data, ODM explores the potential of data cooperatives through workshops involving business, government and the community in Berlin and Manchester. The findings are presented in the Open:Data:Cooperation paper at the Beyond Data Conference in Eindhoven, leading the discussion on the creation of mutual data organisations.
2016 – 2017
- With public- and private-sector support, helps develop a commons-based data infrastructure for Internet of Things services alongside The Garden.io Ltd – sparking the creation of Things Manchester and the Things North network, stretching from Liverpool to Hull. This leads to a Big Chip Award for Best Development in IoT in 2017. ODM continues to run the free-to-use network across Greater Manchester, with a number of projects now built on top of it.
- Working with the Democratic Society, ODM develops a series of events called Echo Chambers and ‘Post-Fact’ Politics, looking at the increase in political polarisation, and the distortion of facts and evidence. Initially looking at the data behind the EU referendum in 2016, this highlighted a growing schism in society and its links with technology. A further event helped people investigate possible ways to bridge these divides.
- With 360Giving, Open Data Manchester develops and delivers a pilot programme to standardise and release grant-giving data from local authorities, housing associations and other funders in Greater Manchester. This enables them to better target their funds, identify areas in need and collaborate more effectively, ultimately seeing Manchester City Council transform how it manages grants and The Cooperative Group release its funding data.
- Investigates the relationship between community deprivation and political control in English local authorities, creating visualisations to map the relative deprivation profiles, allowing for easy national comparisons. This work evolved to include a more granular analysis of representation at a neighbourhood level by mapping the political affiliations of more than 14,000 local councillors. The open dataset was used in a report by Hope Not Hate called Fear, Hope and Loss, looking at the growing divisions in Britain, and informs ODM’s Data for Communities workshops.
- Due to increased interest in transport inequality in Greater Manchester, ODM revisits the underlying fare structure of the Metrolink tram system. After a previous, unsuccessful Freedom of Interest request to get the data released in 2010, ODM recreates the fare structure through web scraping and data entry. After being informed there may be legal issues regarding the data’s release, the data is republished as a table of emojis where each animal represents a different fare.
- Becomes expert advisor to the cities of L’Aquila in Italy, Arad in Romania, and Alcoy and Granada in Spain, as part of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge to help European cities use data to understand their strengths and improve communities.
- Initiates the development of a Declaration for Responsible and Intelligent Data Practice to articulate what ethical data practice is and enable organisations to collaborate on making this a reality.
- Building on the work of ODI Leeds as part of Open Data Day, develops a real-time dashboard for tracking airline flights, and the environmental impact of flying, to and from Manchester Airport.
- Develops a prototype data standard for the tracking of hazardous and non-hazardous waste to help drive better recycling rates and reduce the £1 billion per annum impact of waste crime in the UK.
- Successfully applies to release Greater Manchester bus data for a second time, using the precedent set in 2010, but in the 10 years since the release of the first datasets it is still just as badly formatted. The Bus Act will now compel local transport agencies to release this data properly.
- Following on from the So You Think You Know Your Country? event series, primarily Who Owns the Land?, ODM develops the Joy Diversion programme as a means of encouraging people to take more interest in the spaces where they live, work and play. Using ideas and techniques from psychogeography, along with the desire to help people have a more experiential, rather than transactional, relationship with their surroundings, this has been developed into a methodology to help those with mobility issues better engage with town planning. Mapping Mobility has been further expanded to create a framework for describing the experience of marginalised people in relation to public space.