Cities are important urban areas where many of us live, work, study and raise families. There’s a push to make cities smarter.
Why? A smart city is a connected city – a place where Anna can get around easily because she can see her bus and train schedules in real time. A smart city is effective, integrated and innovative – a city that embraces Gina’s startup and makes it easy for Ali to find the best school for his daughter.
A smart city uses open data.
Open data is knowledge for everyone; it’s information that can be shared with anyone for any purpose without restriction. We aren’t talking sensitive or personal information, we’re talking about the data that drives decisions and is the lifeblood of a city’s civic landscape.
Open data helps cities connect people and organisations, share information, create new tools, products and services. Using open data well means smarter cities. This series covers everything you need to know about open data for smarter cities. First, let’s get you started.
Where do I start with open data for my city?
It’s hard to know where to start with open data when you’re a city. With many moving parts, stakeholders and a huge wish list, getting started can be daunting. Here’s the key things to consider:
- Start with why: Have some idea of why you’ll need open during ata and how you’ll measure the success of your initiative. It doesn’t have to be perfect at the start but it will keep you on track.
- Think about delivery: You’ll need a way to deliver open data to the people and organisations that will use it. There are several platforms and tools available. The right one will play nicely with your existing platforms. Remember, don’t reinvent the wheel!
- Find your audience: Get to know who could use you open data so you can work out their needs. Check FOIA requests – that tells you what people want to know!
- Work with your community: You’ll need a community engaged around data, including developers, citizens & businesses – back to those FOIA requests and materials you already publish. What are people interested in? Who are these people?
- Make sure your open data all plays well together: Open data doesn’t have to be perfect. Start where you are and keep improving. Think about what’s needed to connect data together from the start: how would you connect data on parks to data on air quality.
- Think value, value, value: Think about the benefit of sharing and connecting data. Local government departments will probably be biggest user and benefit the most from connected open data, so keep them onside.
For more resources, the Open Data Institute is a good place to start.