B5: Open data; a little goes a long Way

This year’s parallel is a follow up to the one I (Chris Gutteridge) gave last year entitled Looking at Linked Data.

In March 2011, the University of Southampton launched the data.southampton.ac.uk service with some core datasets from the university.

So has it been a success?

Recently I got asked what the success criteria for the Open Data project was. This is very difficult to define but for me it will be when the open-data-service is so much part of business-as-usual that people on longer want an enthusiastic hacker running it! I’m looking forward to talking about the good ‘ole days when open data was a new frontier and nobody even had an ontology for coffee types or bus timetables yet.

The Open Data is starting to get put to use to:

  • People are using the bus times pages (I need to make the interface better, I know!)
  • Our upcoming campus mobile phone app will use some of the location data
  • I’ve been asked how the service could aid with student induction– eg. help people find what’s available, and where it is.

The other thing ticking along is getting live hookups to databases. Right now it’s all done with one-off dumps, we want to be showing the living data. The dump-and-email approach is fine for getting started but now it’s time to do the far less glamorous job of making the back-end more automated. I’m still working on getting energy use data per building, and I’ve a lead on recycling data!

If you want to find out more about some of the techniques used including dealing with the owners of the data then come along to my session. I’ll then show some of the resulting services.

I blog at http://blogs.ecs.soton.ac.uk/webteam/ and http://blogs.ecs.soton.ac.uk/data/

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