While the window is still open: 2015 New Year Resolutions for Datastore
Last year was a landmark year for Datastore, with a significant amount of activity centred on and then generated by the launch of London Datastore mark II (LDSII). The City Data Team here at City Hall has been busy throughout January, so before we tip into February and then March and then Spring becomes Summer and so on, I want us to take stock and set some aspirations and targets for the year ahead to keep us good.
So, in no particular order, and mixing exploitation of city data with practical user-focussed improvements, in 2015, we will:
- Solidify the notion of ‘city’ data. Encouraging discussions with parties outside of the public sector about publishing new tracts of city data are underway. This is exciting because their activities (e.g. energy), and therefore their data, are highly relevant to allied areas of public service improvement, smart, and infrastructure.
- Make the Internet of Things work in London. Thanks here to the Innovate UK-supported Hypercat for working on a Hypercat wrapper for LDS II. This is clearly at the ambitious end of the scale, but what we need to do now is attract city ‘internet of things’ experiments which draw on live city data, most likely through the soon-to-be-launched series of City Data Challenges. On which point…
- Launch the series of City Data Challenges. Only yesterday, the team finished the last of a series of ODI and Nesta facilitated workshops. We have a couple of great propositions and are nearly ready to go. Ecosystem, watch this space!
- Make Datastore more meaningful to Boroughs by implementing a London Borough search facility so that users can easily pull together all the data about each borough. This way we will be able to see all data pertinent to that place as well as the sets posted by the Borough.
- Make a reality of ‘MyLondon’. We have attracted money from the Cabinet Office Release of Data Fund and we are putting it to good use. MyLondon will for the first time allow people (from the flower shop owner looking to open a new branch to a new arrival in London looking for a place to live) to easily define an area or neighbourhood of interest and pull back an up-to-date range of data to inform important decisions. Data will be benchmarked against area and regional averages to give context. The days of downloading multiple datasets or searching out information on multiple websites will be gone.
- Through the Borough Data Partnership, publish London-wide datasets of Borough data. Whilst mindful of the big opportunity to bring together service data in critical areas like adult social care, we want to start with transparency data, before heading off into relatively non-controversial areas like inspection data.
- Make improvements to the user area to match people’s expectations of notifications, updates, customisation and activity from commercial sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
So, we have not been idle. And we have a vigorous agenda for the year ahead. There are more aspects to this – how we are applying for European and other funding for example – but these will have to wait for another day.
Assistant Director, Intelligence and Analysis, Greater London Authority.