On a sweltering hot June 30th, in the almost tropical environs atrium of the Department of Justice on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform officially launched their new improved national datastore data.gov.ie. Dublinked were just one of a wide range of people and organisations from across the public, business, research and community sectors that attended the event, which is this latest step on the road towards making data held by public bodies more easily accessible online for others to reuse and share.
Open Data Strategy
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D. gave an opening speech outlining the progress that has been made towards the development of a national Open Data Strategy. He encouraged attendees to continue to engage with the process of opening up government data and help DEPR create a strategic vision for Open Data in Ireland. He announced that governance structures are now being put in place with a new Open Data Governance Board being advertised through stateboards.ie.
Flooring the Minister’s speech, Deirdre Lee of Derilinx gave a thorough demonstration of the website which hosts 895 datasets from 85 publishers nationwide, including the All Island Research Observatory, Department of Education and Skills, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and EPA. Dublinked also made our open data catalogue available for harvesting of datasets, which are available under an open licence.
Deirdre also invited interested parties to make a submission to public consultations on a Foundation Document and Technical Framework to lay the groundwork for Ireland’s Open Data Strategy. As open government data publishers since 2011, Dublinked are delighted to see the top down guidance now being put in place to encourage public bodies to open up access to their data.
We were also highly encouraged by the announcement by Ordnance Survey Ireland that they are working to open up some of their spatial data to data.gov.ie including small scale maps, boundary and place name data. It is great to see the momentum build around open data in Ireland and hope this sets the framework for a culture change towards more open and data driven public sector.
Following the presentation, feedback from the smaller discussion groups highlighted views from the different sectors that were in attendance. The business group highlighted the need for reliable and regularly updated data, citing preferred formats such as JSON and looking for APIs where possible.
There was an interesting conversation around the use of API keys and rate limits, and the desirability for a data provider of being able to track usage, in order to make the business case for open data- particularly having regard to resource pressures in the public sector.
The research group highlighted the need for academic research data to be shared openly, not gathering dust on shelves. The community group outlined some data that may be of interest to citizens including transport, weather, events and environmental data.
The public sector was interested in how open data can be embedded into wider knowledge and change management and the need to build capacity within public bodies and in the wider community.
See here for the Dublinked submission on the Foundation Document.