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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

The Morning after the Night before: international recognition for the London Datastore

Last night, my colleague Paul Hodgson and I attended the ODI Annual Open Data Awards.  The event took place in the striking Bloomberg headquarters – a good choice of award partner because there was a guy who understood the potential of data.

The GLA, and more specifically the London Datastore, had made it through the longlisting, the shortlisting and was now guaranteed a place on the podium, being one of three finalists in the Open Data Publishing Category. 

The fantastic news is that the London Datastore scooped the gold medal.  We are proud winners and were delighted to receive the award from Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt (President and Co-founder and Chairman of the Open Data Institute respectively). I think they’ve done a couple of other things besides…

Of course, the ‘we’ is a much broader set of people than Paul and myself.  Others who keep the Datastore show on the road and who deserve their own moment in the limelight include GLA colleagues Joseph Columbeau, Gareth Piggott, Olivia Dronfield, and Alan Lewis.  There are many more across my wider team who contribute data and bring it to life on London Datastore. 

There are also others who have helped Datastore grow into what it is today.  Tom Rees of Datapress for his development expertise and ongoing assistance. In the speeches last night, praise was directed at the homegrown London Schools Atlas for helping both parents and deliverers of education in the capital deal with a complex problem.  So praise is also due to Richard Walker (formerly of this parish) who brought it to life.  Those people (un)lucky enough to have heard me speak in recent months will have heard me talk about ‘city’ data.  This is what the ODI refer to as ‘data as infrastructure’.  I would like to thank Michael Clark (of UK Power Networks) for having the foresight and conviction to publish 160 million lines of household energy consumption data on datastore.  This was one of those acts which I hope will turn my rhetoric into the normal way of doing things.

So where next?  There is so much to do to broaden out the supply of city data, and to persuade people of the value of harmonising data to lend extra impetus to the city data economy.  The building blocks of standards, legal and privacy issues all need to be addressed if we are to do the hardest thing – change hearts and minds and shift cultures.  We are also aware that the London Datastore as a technical exercise needs to evolve so that it becomes the urban operating platform the smart city requires.  If we stand still in this regard, our opportunity to exploit the value of city data is limited. 

This is now starting to sound like an acceptance speech, and I can see the compere moving in with purpose from stage left.  My time at the podium is up.  But thank you once more to everyone who has contributed to London Datastore.  City Hall cannot do this on its own.  Please all of you continue to engage – bring us your ideas, your requests for data – and we can be better still at making data central to delivering social, economic and environmental value in our city.