Open:Data:Night — a brief summary

On Tuesday 25th September, Open Data Manchester hosted another Open:Data:Night, as part of our monthly event programme. Taking place at The Federation, we had a number of speakers from the data community presenting projects, looking for feedback or generally sharing lessons learnt. As usual, it was followed up by a trip to ODM-favourite The Pilcrow pub. What follows is brief summary of the evening.

Open Data Manchester: Update

Firstly, a quick update as to what Open Data Manchester has been up to over the past few months, including hosting a couple of Joy Diversions, taking over the Things Manchester Network. We’ve also been running and developing Data Expedition workshops with 360 Giving, part of our mission to upskill and build capacity into communities and cities.

Pamilla Kang: Local Government Representation Project

Next up we had Pamilla Kang, a physics student at University of Manchester who recently completed a summer work placement with us. She spoke about her work compiling and formatting a dataset of local democratic representation, in which she created code that allowed the scraping of counsellor data off of council websites. Not all data was available so alongside her Python code, there was also a fair amount of manual searching. But the work paid off and you can access the complete dataset here.

Ben Smith & Rowena Pattenson: From A to Bee — a travelling saleman problem

Ben and Rowena delivered a presentation based around Bee in the City, the colony of bee statues that took over Manchester this summer. They tried to figure out how to visit all the bees using the shortest distance possible by using the Travelling Salesman problem as a starting point. Using a combination of R and Google Earth (and the TSP R package), Ben and Rowena were able to find and visualise the shortest route of 62km to visit all 100+ bees.

Jamie Whyte: The Evolution of a Data Visualisation

Open Data Manchester’s Jamie Whyte stepped up to talk about the development and design of the Deprivation vs. Political Represention visualisation — more of which you can read about here.

Steven Flower: Open Data Services Cooperative

Steven Flower of Open Data Services then spoke briefly about some of the work they’ve done with the International Aid Transparency Initiative. He also spoke of how small errors in code have the potential to produce real-word effects elsewhere on the planet, and the importance of having an awareness of this.

Paul Gallagher: Sensemaker

Lastly, Paul Gallagher from Reach spoke about SenseMaker, which will design and develop IoT connected sensor kits with the aim of collecting data on things like air pollution, noise, or other biometric data with the aim of raising awareness or adding value to local issues, specifically for use in journalism.

Paul was particularly keen to hear from the open data community any feedback and suggestions. You can reach him on twitter for more info.

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Our next public events will be:
Joy Diversion 4, Saturday 20th October, 11am–5pm.
Linked Data in Digestible Form, Tuesday 30th October 6.30–8.30pm.

For more info on our work and events, you can keep an eye on our twitter feed or our website — or sign up for our monthly mailout.