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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

Hectic times

It’s been a fairly hectic time since our soft launch of the London Datastore on 7th January which featured a live linkup (well mostly live!) with the CES technology conference in Vegas. We were delighted that the launch received such a positive response in both the developer community Mad Prof, Brian Hoadley, Chris Thorpe, Chris Osborne, Chris Taggart as well as in the mainstream media including the Financial Times and the Guardian.

On the 7th we promised to increase the datasets from 50 to 200 by 29th January and thanks to the good work of Gareth Baker in the DMAG team in the GLA we did just that. Since then we have had a more or less continuous stream of meetings with the functional bodies TfL, Met Police, London Development Agency, Olympic Development Authority and LFEPA. These meetings have been held with the developer community variously represented by Mad Prof, Chris Taggart and Tom Loosemore – and its been exciting to see the interchange between those in the developer community and public servants – coming as they do from different cultures.

All of the functional bodies have agreed that the Datastore is a good idea and have committed to freeing up data in the coming weeks and months. We realize that this might not meet the sense of urgency in the developer community but lets not pull any punches – we knew that negotiations were always going to be time consuming and in some cases difficult. And lets not be coy about it – being comfortable about releasing data requires huge cultural shifts in the public sector. But we have left all of our meetings encouraged and with the definite feeling that the agenda is changing fast and for the better.

We are hopeful that we will see further datasets into the datastore by end of March – perhaps before that – we shall see. We will use our Twitter account and Google Group to post updates on progress with new datasets as they come in. And don’t forget additional functionality on the site means you can now suggest a dataset that you would like to see in London’s Datastore and we will do our best to get it for you.

Emer Coleman

London Datastore