Open Data Round Up: 24/02/14

Welcome back to my round-up of the most interesting recent stories from the world of open data:

  • The Open Data Institute has announced further expansion of it’s international network, signing up five more organisations to act as “ODI Nodes”. The new Nodes will be located in Osaka, Seoul, Sheffield, Philadelphia and Hawaii and will bring together companies, universities, and NGOs that support open data projects and communities.
  • Pivigo Academy have developed an “Data Science Summer School“, due to start in August 2014, which is the first of it’s kind in the UK. The five week course is aimed training PhD students and researchers in the commercial tools and techniques needed to be hired into data science roles and will be sponsored by KPMG.
  • TechCityUK recently organised Flood Hack, a forum for developers to work on apps and systems which could support members of the public affected by the recent bad weather in the UK and by future extreme weather events. 18 different apps were developed during the event, two of which received development funding from the Nominet Trust to take their apps further – FludBud, which finds users who are near to flood affected areas and tweets them information about potential volunteers near them, and Flood Feeder, which creates a visualization of an aggregated feed of flood & related data.
  • The programme which proposes to allow sharing of NHS patient data in England has been postponed by six months in response to concerns raised by patients and doctors. The postponement will allow NHS England more time to address concerns around privacy as well as to get a greater understanding of the potential risks and benefits. Dr Geraint Lewis, the Chief Data Officer for NHS England, has written a detailed post on the safeguards that will be put in place as part of the programme to protect patient privacy.

Is there anything else you’d like to see covered in these posts? Let me know in the comments or get in touch via Horizon’s social media channels!


Open Data Round Up: 31/01/14

A belated Happy New Year from everyone at Horizon! Here’s a round up of some of the most interesting open data stories from January 2014:

  • Nesta’s recent report “Which Doctors Take Up Promising Ideas: Insights from Open Data” uses open data to analyse early adoption of promising new ideas across primary health care in England. Nesta argue that open data can help people understand differences in service as well as inform patient and practitioner priorities and choices.


  • Huawei have announced that they are to collaborate with Imperial College London on the creation of a Data Science Innovation Laboratory. The Lab will bring together experts from across Imperial’s faculties and Huawei researchers to harness data science research and develop new applications in fields such as smart cities, energy and healthcare.


  • The World Bank has launched a new open data tool which provides comparative data on education around the world. The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) web tool helps countries collect and analyse information on their education policies, benchmark themselves against other countries, and prioritize areas for reform.


  • Paul Maltby, Director of Open Data and Government Innovation at the Cabinet Office has written a post on the ways in which open data is being used in the UK government for the Civil Service Quarterly blog. The post outlines how open data will help reform public services, as well as improve accountability and generate economic growth.

Finally, Open Data Day 2014 takes place on the 22nd February – a map and more information on the events taking place can be found on the International Open Data Day website.


Open Data Round Up: 19/12/13

Hello and welcome to the final open data round up of 2013!


  • The Ordnance Survey have launched a new Geovation challenge focused on encouraging healthy lifestyles in the UK. The Geovation challenges look at ways in which open data can be used to tackle social problems. OS have also made materials from their latest round of open data masterclasses available online.






Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Horizon!

Open Data Round Up: 28/11/13

The biggest news this week here at Horizon has been the announcement of funding for a new Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training! The new CDT will focus on the theme of “My Life in Data” and will train a community of 80 future leaders to develop the technologies and applications of our ‘digital identities’ in a way that ensures their transparent use across the economy and wider society. The Centre brings together leading figures from computing and engineering as well as the social sciences, business and humanities, and is co-funded by over twenty industry, third sector and international partners.


  • Nominet Trust have published a state-of-the-art review looking at Big Data and Social Organisations. The review says that if social organisations can realise the potential of Big Data then new practices and interventions that offer radically different approaches to addressing some of the most persistent social challenges can be created.


  • The BBC signed Memorandums of Understanding supporting free and open internet technologies with The Open Data Institute, The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Mozilla Foundation and The Europeana Foundation. These agreements will enable closer collaboration between the BBC and each of the four organisations on a range of mutual interests, including the release of structured open data and the use of open standards in web development.



  • Horizon partners Nottingham City Council have launched a new version of Open Data Nottingham which is the portal for all of Nottingham City’s open data. The site contains over 80 data sets, all released under an Open Government Licence, and new content is added regularly but data users are invited to get in touch if a data set they wish to access is unavailable.

That’s all for this week! However if you are interested in the new Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training or in Open Data Nottingham please get in touch via the comments or on Twitter!



Open Data Round Up: 18/11/13

This week’s open data post focuses on how you can get involved with open data – including undertaking data exploration, using applications powered by personal data, and hearing about the impact open data can have on the future of key industries.


  • The Open Data Research Network, in collaboration with the Web Foundation and the Open Data Institute, recently published the Open Data Barometer 2013 Annual Report. The Open Data Barometer takes a multidimensional look at the spread of Open Government Data policy and practice across the world. It has also been visualised by the Open Data Institute.


  • The midata Innovation Lab has launched five new prototype applications which allow people to use their personal data in innovative new ways. The applications which address the issues of energy support for vulnerable people, personal finance management, healthcare and lifestyle changes, caring for vulnerable people, and moving home are available via the midata Innovation Lab website.


  • The Open Data Institute are hosting their inaugural research afternoon entitled  “Show me the future of… Food and Open Data” on the 28th November 2013.  The event will feature several leading researchers discussing the future of food and how open data has the potential to transform the sector



If you’re interested in learning more about how to use open data why not attend one of Ordnance Survey’s free Open Data Masterclasses – limited places are still available for the 2013 Masterclass series.


Open Data Round Up: 07/11/13

Lots of the Horizon team have been at this week’s Digital Economy All Hands event which took place at the incredible MediaCityUK in Salford. The theme was “Open Digital” so it was unsurprising to hear plenty about open data – including a fascinating final keynote speech from Dame Wendy Hall entitled “Lets Be Open About This” which looked at the importance of openness in the development of the world wide web and the potential of open data for the future. Dame Wendy also talked about the “Age of Data” and the importance of linked open data and big data.

Some other interesting developments in the open data arena this week have included:

  • The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in partnership with the Information Economy Council have published their data capability strategy for the UK entitled “Seizing the data opportunity”. Neil Crockett of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult has welcomed the strategy as a “strong and important milestone” for the UK data community


  • The Open Data Institute have published their Annual Review looking back on their first year of operation following The ODI Annual Summit last week . Highlights include the recruitment of 40 members – including Horizon – as well as support for a dozen start-ups and the establishment of a global network. Not bad for a years work!


  •  The Connected Digital Economy Catapult have announced a number of new projects including the Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Project - a partnership with FutureEverything and the Future Cities Catapult that will develop a programme of work to overcome a number of challenges around the areas of capacity, support and dissemination in the coordinated release of city datasets.


  •  The Open Government Partnership conference took place in London on the 31st October and 1st November. If, like me, you didn’t manage to attend the conference the Cabinet Office have pulled together a handy summary of key news and announcements.


That’s it for this week but don’t forget to follow Horizon on Twitter for more regular updates and news about all aspects of the Digital Economy!


Open Data Round Up: 31/10/13

Happy Hallowe’en! There’s nothing spooky about open data but it has been an action-packed week of open data activity and announcements ahead of  the Open Data Institute Annual Summit and the 2013 Open Government Partnership Conference. Some key announcements are below:

  • The Global Open Data Initiative have this week launched their Declaration on open data. The declaration, entitled “A Citizens’ Call to Action on Open Data” calls for increased action by governments around the world to move towards ‘open data by default’ in order to improve the quantity and quality of open data as well as to increase transparency and accountability
  • The Open Data Institute has announced the launch of a new ODI Global Network. Thirteen initial ‘nodes’ have been announced: Country Nodes in the USA and Canada; City/Region Nodes in Dubai, Chicago, North Carolina, Paris, Trento, Manchester, Brighton, and Leeds; and Communications Nodes in Gothenburg,  Moscow and Buenos Aires
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation has published it’s 2013 Open Data Index ahead of this week’s Open Government Partnership Conference in London. The UK and the USA come out on top of the poll however the OKFN notes there is still more to be done, particularly in regards to publishing company data and allowing re-use of open datasets. The Guardian’s datablog has published an interesting analysis of the survey
  • The Greater London Authority have launched a London Dashboard which provides easy to understand analysis and information about key public services in London. The site is still in beta and feedback is invited but it’s a really interesting model for accessible presentation of open data

This really is only a snapshot of all that is going on at the moment in the field of open data – if you don’t believe me try searching for #opendata on Twitter! If there’s anything you think I’ve missed from this week’s post or that you’d like to see on future post please let me know in the comments.


Open Data Round Up: 23/10/13

There are lots of interesting opportunities coming up in the open data world over the next few weeks and months – from free online courses to exciting events:

  • The European Journalism Centre have announced a free online data journalism course, due to start in early 2014. The five-module introductory course gives participants the essential concepts, techniques and skills to effectively work with data and produce compelling stories under tight deadlines
  • The Global Open Data Initiative have published a draft Declaration on Open Data. Feedback is invited by the 8th November 2013
  • The Open Data Institute and Nesta have announced the finalists for the Crime and Justice Open Data Challenge competition. The three finalists – Stolen Bike UK, Total Car Check and Deaf Justice – have each been awarded £5000 to develop their ideas
  • The Open Data Institute are holding their Annual Summit on Tuesday 29th October, confirmed speakers include Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt

Finally, the Horizon team are currently gearing up to attend DE2013: Open Digital which is taking place at MediaCity in Salford on the 4th – 6th November – if you’re planning on attending do stop by our stand and say hello!

Horizon Digital Economy Thought Leadership Event: Midata

Last week Horizon hosted it’s very first “Digital Economy Thought Leadership” event. The aim of these events is to get a group of leading academics together with representatives from industry and civil society to discuss a topic which is expected have a significant impact on society and the digital economy. We decided to use the midata programme as the focus for the initial event as not only does it present a huge opportunity for the way in which we use personalised services but midata raises a lot of questions which can be related to Horizon’s research around privacy and personal data.

It was clear from the discussions which took place at the event that programmes like midata are seen as an exciting opportunity to empower consumers and can provide significant value to businesses through the development of new products and services which use personal data. It was also very clear that for the full benefits of midata to be realised both consumers and businesses need to be thinking much more about the privacy of personal data, moving towards a model of privacy by design. We had some really interesting debates about the next generation of personal data storage systems which keep information distributed and access it via algorithms. This allows users to maintain privacy and control over their personal data, allowing specific people to access specific data by prior agreement. A topic which also came under frequent discussion was the difficulty of informed consent when it comes to long, complex terms of service and privacy agreements, particularly in the online space, as well as the issue of third party data access.

The workshop produced lots of really exciting project ideas including:

  • Collective insight stores which enable consumers to pool their data in a privacy preserving way to recreate the insights held by large companies, create personalised recommendations and work collectively
  • Customer service “cookies” which helps customers manage their personal data to improve the service they receive
  • An automated system which generates personalised terms and conditions based on a customer’s privacy needs and a business’s data use requirements
  • A system which enables consumers and banks to understand at the point of sale which merchants might not be legitimate
  • An electronic payments system which protects consumer privacy

We are currently engaging with workshop attendees to discuss these projects in more detail and decide which ideas we might like to take forward as research or proof of concept projects. If any of the ideas above are of interest and you’d like to engage with us as we develop these projects please get in touch – either leave a comment below, tweet us at @HorizonDER or e-mail us!

A number of other event attendees have also written about the event so if you’re interested in the subject do check out the following articles:

Open Data Round Up: 07/10/13

The biggest news in open data this week, at least from a Horizon perspective, is the announcement by Ordnance Survey of a new series of Open Data Masterclasses, again supported by Horizon. The series of seven Masterclasses will take place at venues around the UK and anyone interested should register as soon as they can as places are limited.

Some other interesting pieces of open data news include:

What do you think – have I missed anything out? Is anyone planning to get involved with the Open Data Challenge Series or the Garment Factories Data Expedition?

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