10th Open Data Ireland Meetup

Originally posted by Dominic Byrne here

The 10th Open Data Ireland Meetup took place on Thursday 24th October in a new venue at TCube, Castle Street, Dublin. The theme of this meetup was “The Way Forward for Open Data in Ireland”.

Tweets from the meetup have been storified at http://storify.com/Fingal/10th-open-data-ireland-meetup/

Denis Parfenov @prfnv started off our first meetup back after the summer break with a review of the September Hackathon and an Overview of the Agenda for the meetup

5 Stars of Open Data Portals
The first speaker of the evening was Pieter Colpaert @pietercolpaert via Google Hangout who spoke about “The 5 stars of Open Data Portals”  in which he outlined the following maturity model for Open Data portals –

5 Star Portal

The portal star rating does not require that the datasets within the portal have a corresponding rating under Tim Berners Lee 5 star model for Open Data datsets.  It is an interesting approach and it would be worth evaluating existing Irish Open Data sites against it, including Fingal Open Data.

Open Data Ireland CKAN Portal
Eugene Eichelberger @geichel was up next to talk about progress that had been made to date on the implementation of a CKAN Open Data portal at http://data.opendata.ie/

Data Audit
A report on the Data Audit work carried out at the meetup was then given by Tracey Lauriault @TraceyLauriault .  Tracey talked about the task that the Audit Group worked on at the hackathon – identifying and recording the existence of available public sector datasets.  The group identified and recorded over 160 datasets.  Tracey pointed out that these datasets all originate from various agencies and the very act of creating a new record for the dataset separates it from the authoritative source.  While this may be required in the short term, ideally any Catalogue should point to an authoritative open source.  Tracey pointed out that while it is important to identify as many datasets as possible, ultimately the value lies in use cases for the data.  Tracey also spoke about the work that had been done since the Hackathon on completing Ireland’s return for the Open Data Census.  Tracey questioned the Census methodology, pointing out that any census should be based on readily and equally comparable metrics which are applicable in all countries – a number of the metrics were open to interpretation and in the case of Post Codes, Ireland scored zero for not publishing Post Codes as Open Data even though there are no Post Codes in Ireland.

Tracey Lauriault

Dominic Byrne @dominic__byrne then spoke about the next steps for the Data Audit work.  Some tidy-up is required of the datasets, catalogues and API lists as there is some duplication between them; CKAN compatible metadata needs to be captured for the various datasets in preparation for upload to the portal; some work is required to enable importing of existing data catalogues into the portal; a lot of HTML data sources were identified in the audit for which automated scrapers could be built; further datasets were identified after the Hackathon which need to be added.  The PSI licence was also discussed in the context of uploading to CKAN as not everyone considers it to be open to international standards.  Work needs to be done on identifying the areas requiring improvement and feeding that information to the relevant Government Department.  The European Commission currently has a Consultation re Open Data underway until 22nd November, 2013 – including questions re licensing.

Open Government Partnership
Next up were Mick Byrne @themicker1971 and Jason Hare @jasonmhare (via Google hangout) to report on their groups work putting together a proposal from Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland to the Open Government Partnership process.  They proposed that an Open Data Institute (ODI) node should be established in Ireland.  In their presentation they outlined the reasons for an ODI Ireland node and explained the three tiers of ODI nodes.  The final submission is available at http://per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/OKF-Ireland-submisison-to-the-Irish-OGP-Action-Plane-edited-2-2.pdf

The final speakers were Cory-Ann Joseph @coryannj and Jane Ruffino @janeruffino who explained the thinking behind the revamp of http://opendata.ie with a Content Strategy 101 overview .  The site is being designed from a user-oriented perspective (rather than data-oriented), to facilitate a user journey through Open Data Ireland.  They have developed two user personas – (i) regular citizens (Citizen Joe) and (ii) technical/data users (Data Dana) to guide this process.  Cory-Ann and Jane have volunteered to take on the role of gatekeepers for the site while it is going through this development phase.  The overall plan can be found at ttps://sites.google.com/site/opendataie/

OKF Ireland and Open Data Ireland 2013-2014
Denis Parfenov and Flora Fleischer @Daydreamer2105 then proposed a Roadmap for Open Data Ireland including a meetup schedule up to Summer 2014, a schdule of Hackathons and a number of proposed Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland projects.  In particular, over the coming year Open Data Ireland meetups will hit the road with meetups in different parts of the country, starting with Cork in January.  The next Hackathon will be in December with a theme of Healthcare.  Denis also mentioned Code for Ireland which will kick off in November (a Code for Ireland Intro was presented at the Hackathon) and also the need to coordinate various coding initiatives.  In the meantime Code for Dublin  meets weekly to work on various projects.

Code for Ireland

Denis then faciltated a discussion on the various presentations.  The discussion mainly focussed on the Open Data catalogue and the website – in particular whether opendata.ie should be built as a Portal.  There was a strong argument made that opendata.ie should be about opening up access to Open Data to as many people as possible and equally important in doing so is the way in which the Data and information about the Data is presented e.g. rather than describing it as a Data Catalogue, instead provide a facility to Find Data.  There was general agreement with Cory-Ann and Jane’s content strategy approach.  There was also discussion about other ways in which Open Data could be made more accessible to the wider community.  A suggestion was made of having an Open Data Meetup in a local community where we would work with people in that community on identifying ways in which Open Data could help them and their community.  Tracey talked about how in Montreal the Open Data community had established an advisory board which included representatives from different walks of life and who advised the city in relation to Open Data.

We finished up with the by-now-customary beer and pizza and a great buzz of follow-on conversations.  The general consensus was that it was great to see things moving forward in the Open Data Ireland community.

Meetup #11 will take place on 21st November, 2013 in Engine Yard – details will be available on https://tito.io/open-data-ireland/

Thanks to everyone who attended and participated, to Denis Parfenov and Flora Fleischer for organising and to Pieter Colpaert, Eugene Eichelberger, Tracey Lauriault, Dominic Byrne, Mick Byrne, Jason Hare, Cory-Ann Joseph and Jane Ruffino for presenting.  A special thanks to ESRI Ireland @EsriIreland for sponsoring the venue and refreshments.

Dominic Byrne,
25th October, 2013.