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The Mayor of London The London Assembly
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Thanks for sharing! A report on the third Borough Data Partnership Meeting   

This morning saw 30+ colleagues from across London local government squeeze into a City Hall Committee room to hear the latest news on City data projects and think about what London-wide datasets we should and could publish.

The session was structured around the complementary themes of collaboration (Andrew Collinge gave some examples of how the GLA and SMEs had been successful in attracting successful development funding from the likes of Innovate UK), sharing (of expertise and data) and organisation (as in the growing importance of open standards and organising ourselves so we can do the first two themes to best effect).

Lola Fernandez-Redondo, from Digital Greenwich, continued in this vein, explaining the recent bid made by the RB of Greenwich and the GLA, to the European Commission’s Horizon2020 project.  The bid focusses on integrating infrastructure through digital technology and data, and using sensor networks to collect real-time open data which can be used to create and run the next generation of city services in areas like community energy management, mobility and much more besides.

On organising, Lawrence Hopper from the Cabinet Office’s Transparency and Open Data team, described how the National Information Infrastructure will provide the necessary structure for us all to exchange and share datasets of national and one assumes city level importance. Following a recent ‘discovery process’ with stakeholders, the CO are working with Health, Transport and Environment departments to test their new NII principles. There’s certainly lots of important work going on here and you can keep an eye on all things NII at data.gov.uk.

Next up was a practical session on what datasets we would like share or indeed create (based on areas of policy interest and not necessarily what we hold or produce in our organisations) at the pan-London level.  As a trial, the GLA’s Intelligence Unit had gone through the – rather painstaking – process of pulling together a pan-London set of expenditure data (released under the DCLG LG Transparency code).  A valuable exercise, not only demonstrating that nearly all boroughs made payments to one single supply but also the challenges in reconciling 33 datasets structured in 33 different ways!  We need some agreed ontologies! And quickly! The session generated LOTS of ideas – too many to mention here – on which we will be asked for, yes, you guessed it, collaboration in the future.

With little time to draw breath, Stephen Blackburn from Leeds then took us through the successful and regularly praised Datamill project. Stephen picked up Andrew’s point at the top of the day on the importance of proving that the data released provides real value. One way they are doing this is by building their own citizen focused dashboard. Still in development, but a great way of presenting and sharing their own datasets in a simple and easy to use citizen-focused tool.

Finally, Paul Hodgson finished the morning with a live demo of the new MyLondon application. Built from the Breakthrough Fund, the app is built on the data stored in the London DataStore and, among other things, helps you decide where to live in the capital. It’s in Beta but please do have a play and tell us what you think.

Thank you to all that came and participated and special thanks to all the speakers. We’ll be in touch soon with slides, some feedback from data session and a plan of action to move us forward!

mylondon