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Open Data talk at Census Microdata workshop

May 25, 2011 in Talks, Uncategorized

Jo Walsh, Service Manager at EDINA and a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation board, writes: Yesterday I gave a last-minute talk on open data, the work of OKF and EDINA to a Census Microdata workshop in Edinburgh.

The slides consist of screenshots with links and cover the following.

CKAN – the Data Hub and the place to get all sorts of data that may be relevant to demographic analysis. A CKAN search for ‘census’ currently returns 27 relevant datasets. There are many CKANs, some are run by governments (including data.gov.uk) and many more run by community groups. Open Data Search looks at many different sources of open data including (i think) the network of CKANs.

Note that CKAN includes datasets that are not open, but one day may be open. So there is a companion service, “Is it Open Data?”; one can write to data providers through it, and the questions and answers are recorded in public. So if there are datasets which may be non-commercial or research-only that you really want to see opened, try “Is it Open Data”.

Now that we have got data, what are we going to do with it? Get the Data may help – this is a stackoverflow-type site intended for data wranglers rather than programmers. Ask questions here and look for relevant answers…

So all these things are projects of the Open Knowledge Foundation which builds infrastructure / tools and also does some open knowledge production – for example Open Shakespeare, which has done some print editions, and Where Does My Money Go?, visualising public spending and contributions in novel interactive ways.

Open Data Commons is another OKF project – it publishes the PDDL and ODBL licenses (inspired by free software licenses), which can be used to preserve the future freedom of your data.

OpenStreetmap is one open data project that’s now moving to the ODbL license – take the data and adapt it, but if you make improvements they should be contributed back to the original project. Taginfo shows that some people are adding census data to OSM.

EDINA the JISC datacentre based at the University of Edinburgh, provides several open data services which may support demographic data analysis and visualisation. Open Boundaries is the open data side of the long-standing UKBORDERS service for research access to boundary data. Digimap OpenStream provides web map tile services based on Ordnance Survey Open Data. Both these services are currently available to anyone with an .ac.uk email address. And the Unlock place search and text mining service provides some global open data coverage, free for anyone to use.

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