In Birmingham we are holding an event at Birmingham City University where we are going to set up a West Midlands “Open DataStore In A Day”. The idea is quite simple. Over the day we will set up a website that can hold open datasets and publish what we can find to it. You don’t have to be a technical whizz to take part. Enthusiasm and curiosity are enough to make it worth your while coming along.
We’ll spend the day finding and collecting the data that people are interested in and we’ll put it all together in one place online, in the West Midlands Open Datastore. Once we’ve done that, it makes it all a lot easier to do something useful with.
It’s very much in line with Emer Coleman’s experience in with the data Store in London and it might well solve action Action C1: Birmingham City Council Open data Portal .
As Simon Whitehouse explains:
In Emer Coleman’s recent post about the City as a Platform she says that she has seen quotes of up to £200,000 for Data Platforms. We think that we can do a lot with some free open source software and the goodwill of people volunteering their time and skills.
We are using Ckan to host the West Midlands Open Datastore and are thankful to the Open Knowledge Foundation for providing this free, open source software for us to use. Thanks also to Birmingham City University, who are providing us with a room in their sparky new offices at Parkside.
This also reminds me of 2009 and BCCDIY – when Birmingham developers got together and built an alternative Birmingham City Council website in a day. (declaration: I was a little involved – code is here and explanations in the video). they did it because they were so shocked that the local authority had spent £2.8 million pounds and 4 years with Service Birmingham on the council site.
This sort of co-production is what many people in public service crave – and others distrust, misunderstand or don’t know how to embrace.