In order for an Open Data platform to have any sustainability it must have a community around it that consumes its data, be that the public or developers creating applications that people then use. This second CodeTheCity event saw that community begin to form around the MatchTheCity platform.
This is a short tale of how I took another city’s data in order to expand the information we can provide for people / apps to consume. It also acts as a warning as to some of the unexpected side effects of using automatically generated data that has not been checked by a human.
The initial test Open311 server was deployed to Heroku. However it was now time to install it on its own server. The reasons for this were two fold:
- Heroku does not allow the FTP access required for the live data updates to be uploaded.
- To do a test run of the server setup process for when it comes to roll out the production server.
Disclaimer: This blog post is as much a reminder to myself as to a helpful guide to others in getting everything setup. It is possible I’ve missed some steps out that I just performed whilst in autopilot after doing it many times. It did take several failed attempts and hours of Googling in order to find all the steps required.
Back in May of this year I was involved in the planning for the inaugural CodeTheCity event that was to take place in Aberdeen the following month. Initially the event was going to be billed as another hackathon-type event doing stuff with Aberdeen-based open data. However, between the five of us who were putting the event together we decided to drop the reference to the hackathon term and to make it more approachable, more attractive even, to the non-developer community. As well as involving local (and further afield) developers, we also wanted to involve the community in Aberdeen to ensure they got something out of it that they actually wanted. This led to the CodeTheCity name idea. Not only was it perfect for Aberdeen but could easily be re-run in other cities around the world under the same umbrella.
During our visit to Berlin to catch up with other Code for Europe fellows we decided to hang on for a few days and attend the Open Knowledge Festival.
Oh, if you’re not familiar with the organisation behind the event, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), is a non-profit organisation which advocates openness in all forms e.g. open-access, data, and content.
In attendance were government officials, academics, journalists, developers, activists, and people from non-profits just like OKFN itself. To give you an idea of what went on, I’ve written about a few of the sessions I attended below. Continue reading
As I’ve written about before, one of the main tasks the code fellows will be doing is setting up open data platforms. We’ve seen what can be achieved at the national level with data.gov and data.gov.uk which are both powered by CKAN. In Amsterdam, the code fellows were introduced to another platform, CitySDK.
CKAN and CitySDK offer different approaches and advantages for organisations opening their data. CitySDK mandates data follow a certain format. In contrast, CKAN functions as a portal. Data can be hosted anywhere, in any format, so it’s up to the data owners to look after it appropriately. Continue reading
We now have the data, time to do something pretty with it.
Hello world, I’m Rory, one of the Code for Europe fellows working with NESTA and Clackmannanshire Council. As part of the ‘Open Data Scotland‘ programme we’re working to help local authorities take advantage of Open Data, and use it as a platform to build new digital services and enhance existing ones.
So what does that mean exactly?
When I refer to data, I mean raw values. Values becomes information when you visualise them or add context. When I refer to ‘open data’, I mean data that has been set free from control. Continue reading
Throughout the Open Data Scotland Code for Europe project so far the names of various APIs and server technologies have been thrown about – usually rapidly followed by the questions of:
- So what is it?
- What’s the difference between A and B?
- Do we need A if we use B and how does adding C affect it all?
- Can we download it or do we have to write it?
- Where’s it going to be hosted?
As anyone who has even vaguely glanced into the world of software knows, part of it is working on what you know and a big part of it is exploring and learning new things – a learning that often includes failing at something so it can be eliminated from the list before trying a new approach.