Open Knowledge Foundation Glasgow Meetup #2

Last night I went along to the second Open Knowledge Foundation Glasgow meetup.  The event took place in the Board Room of the CCA, which was rather more spacious than the Electron Club that kindly accommodated us last time.  We all got to sit on chairs rather than perch on tables, which made tweeting much easier!  Once again we had a wide range of fascinating lightning talks which generated a great deal of lively discussion.   I’ve posted a storify of the event here: open-knowledge-foundation-glasgow-2

Open Scotland  – Lorna M Campbell, Cetis

I had the pleasure of opening the meeting with a short talk about the Open Scotland initiative, led by Cetis, SQA, the Jisc RSC Scotland and the ALT Scotland SIG, which aims to raise awareness of open education and explore the potential of open policy and practice to benefit all sectors of Scottish education. The initiative hopes to build on existing open education developments to encourage the sharing of open educational resources and to embed open educational practice across Scottish education.  The Open Scotland blog provides a focal point to engage the community in discussion and debate, disseminate news and developments relating to all aspects of openness in education and to further the actions and deliverables discussed at the Open Scotland Summit held in Edinburgh in June.

grainneOpen Badges: What? How?  Why? – Grainne Hamilton, Jisc RSC Scotland

Grainne introduced the concept of open badges and outlined the work of the Open Badges in Scottish Education Group.   Open badges are data infused images that provide an online representation of skills earned.  Badges could provide an important link between informal and formal learning as they enable users to gain recognition for learning that happens anywhere.  The Open Badges in Scottish Education Group, which is supported by Jisc RSC Scotland, has set up three sub-groups focusing on Learner Progress, Technology and Design and Staff Development.

graemeWikimedia UK: Scottish Women on Wikimedia – Graeme Arnott

Only 15% of Wikipedia editors are women, so Wikmedia UK is taking positive steps to address the gender imbalance of editors and remove sexism and racism from posts.  Graeme spoke about a Wikimedia UK editathon run in conjunction with Glasgow Women’s Library.  The event hoped to expose the hidden history of women in Glasgow and provide a way for more women from the Library to engage wth technology.

JenniferThe Digital Commonwealth: digital storytelling and social media archiving – Jennifer Jones

Jennifer introduced the Lottery funded Digital Common Wealth project which aims to support creative community expression in response to the Commonwealth Games.  Digital Common Wealth has three strands: Community Media Clusters, Schools Programme and Creative Voices at UWS.   Developing digital literacies and creating and sharing data are key principals for Digital Common Wealth.  Stories shared by social media are rich source of data and Digital Common Wealth are working with the National Library of Scotland to archive the project’s outputs.

PippaFuture Cities Glasgow – Pippa Gardner

Pippa provided an update on the £24 million Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator project. Last night the project’s Data Portal had 99 data sets, however this morning they tweeted that they had just added their 100th data set from the Celtic Connections Festival.  The project used the Open Data Handbook to prioritise themes, however some of their data sets are more open than others, depending on their original licences. Where possible Glasgow will make data open by default.  Engagement hubs and links to digital inclusion initiatives are part of the project’s approach and the team will also be running hackathons in the new year.

DuncanOpen Architecture – Duncan Bain

Duncan highlighted some very interesting approaches to open architecture including Wikihouse, which aims to democratise the process of construction, Terrafab which allows you to download and print 3D models of Norwegian terrain maps, and Terrainator, a similar UK based on OS open data.  Duncan’s talk provoked a fascinating debate on lack of openness in architecture education practice, and why architecture has not embraced openness in a similar way that software development has.

bobOpen Street Map  – Bob Kerr

Presented an impromptu overview of the very cool work of the Open Street Map initiative and pointed us to the LearnOSM step by step guide.  Bob highlighted some amazing examples of open street mapping at work, including the humanitarian effort to map Haiti after the earthquake and Map Kibera, a project that mapped the Kenyan shanty town of Kibera revealing the extent of the community and bringing it to life.  Bob’s talk generated a really interesting discussion on the political and social importance of maps.  Duncan pointed out that traditionally the people who have the power have the maps, however initiatives like Open Street Map is changing that.

This meeting was organised by Graham Steel, Graeme Arnott and Ewan Klein with a little input from Sheila MacNeil and I. The event was streamed by Jennifer Jones.

Open Glasgow Data Sets

Open Glasgow, part of the Future City Glasgow project funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board, has now released 82 84 open data sets covering many aspects of city data. The data sets, which cover a wide range of domains including transportation, environment, health, demographics and education, can be downloaded from a public data platform, http://data.glasgow.gov.uk, where users can search for data sets based on submitting organisation, group, tag, format or license. The individual data sets are available in a wide range of different formats, and while I’d quibble whether pdf data can really be regarded as “open” in any sense of the word, many of the data sets are available in more open formats. The vast majority of the data sets are licensed under the UK Open Government Licence, though some use other licences including the Glasgow Open Government Licence, the Open Data Commons Attribution Licence and Creative Commons licences.

At present there is only one data set relating specifically to the education domain, colleges and universities funded by the Scottish Funding Council, but with the Open Glasgow team encouraging other public, private, academic and voluntary organisations to open and share their data via the platform, I hope that we will see more open data sets relating to Scottish education in the not to distant future.

Glasgow Open Data Platform

Glasgow Open Data Platform

Open Knowledge Foundation Glasgow Meeting

Last night Sheila and I went along to the first meeting of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Glasgow. The meeting was hosted by the Electron Club and the room was packed to the gunnels with over thirty enthusiastic open data geeks. The event was introduced by Edinburgh University’s Ewan Klein, who has already been instrumental in helping to facilitate a successful series of Open Knowledge Foundation events in Edinburgh.

opendatagla

There were six fascinating lightning talks on a wide range of open data topics:

Glynn Staples introduced the Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator project, which Sheila, Martin Hawksey and I have already had a little involvement with, when we presented a worksop on social media engagement strategies earlier in the year.

Lizzie Brotherston gave a presentation on the Learner Journey Data Jam which took place in Edinburgh in April, and which featured the work of Cetis’ very own Wilbert Kraan 🙂 It was interesting listening to Lizzie talking about the value of events such as the data jam, and reflecting back on the DevCSI hackdays and the earlier Cetis CodeBashes which ran between 2002 and 2007. We were ahead of our time!

Graham Steel’s presentation was called “Publishing research without data is advertising, not science” and to prove his point, he provided us with lots of useful links which you can find on his prezi here.

Bill Roberts, from linked data company Swirrl, reminded us about the importance of presenting Open Data for multiple audiences and introduced a sort of typology of data users which featured “hard core spaqrl junkies” at the bottom!

Neil Logan, of Amor Group, introduced the SFC innovation centres initiative and the Data Science Innovation Centre proposal. You can read more about Neil’s presentation on his own blog here. One of the points that Neil made was that “academics talk to industry because they want money for research”, which I suspect is true, but it did rather make me wonder about whether industry could also offer any investment in teaching and learning?

The final presentation of the evening was by Peter Winstanley of the Scottish Government who talked about the Cabinet Office’s Open Standards Hub. Peter also presented one of the most robust justifications for the adoption of open standards, including persistent resolvable identifiers, that I’ve hear in a long time. If I hadn’t been precariously perched on the edge of a rather high table, I’d have stood up and applauded!

All in all it was a really lively and thought provoking evening and judging by the energy in the room and the many positive comments on twitter, there seems to be real enthusiasm for future Open Knowledge Foundation meetings to take place in Glasgow, so here’s looking forward to the next one!

If you’re intereted in learning more about the first #OpenDataGla event I’ve posted a Storify here and Martin Hawksey has archived all the tweets here.