Open Data Let’s Just Do It
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Emer Coleman, Director of Business Development at TransportAPI and Founder of DSRPTN.
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog called City As A Platform – Stripping Out Complexity and Making Things Happen that questioned the speed of data release at local authority level in the UK. In that blog, I referred to the role of large Systems Integrators in the ecosystem, which is something I returned to in this talk for a recent Making a Difference with Data event in Birmingham.
For those of us involved in the open data movement, it’s easy to feel like open data should be a no-brainer for organisations; after all, it’s seven years since the first articulation of the principles of open data and five years since the establishment of the London Datastore and Data.gov.uk.
In those days, the ROI of open data was unproven. Today, examples abound of open data companies that have emerged to exploit the value of open data, many of which have been supported by the Open Data Institute, which this week will host their exciting and much anticipated annual Open Data Summit. A recent Deloitte study estimated the value of open data to consumers, businesses, and the public sector in 2011 and 2012 at approximately £1.8 billion, suggesting this as a mid-point estimate with higher values estimated up to £2.2billion. The figures for my own industry in transport data are eye watering, with the finding that using live data from Transport for London in apps can save users time to the economic value of between £15 million and £58 million pa.
And yet, even though the ROI is emerging strongly in the UK, we are still not moving as quickly as we should. Only a small minority of local authorities in the UK have open data platforms and strong engagement with their developer communities. So