I’ve arrived in Helsinki with my colleague from FutureEverything, and Open Data Manchester, Julian Tait, and we’ve an exciting few days ahead at the OK Festival. It beings officially tomorrow so I’ll call this blog post “day zero.” This afternoon we’re heading over to our first event – where as part of the open cities strand – we are attending a symposium on open data and transport, part of the ePSI platform transport strand: where key stakeholders involved at looking at how open data can help develop better information and systems for transport systems in cities will have a chance to share good practice and collaborative ideas.
This workshop was organised by the European Public Sector Information Platform (ePSI). The session was attended by a range of people interested in making transport data more open and accessible, including representatives from Google and Logica, apps developers, and city and PTA (public transport authority representatives) from the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Australia and elsewhere. The workshop began with some prelminary “thoughts” from different perspectives including the views of apps developers and policy makers and broke off into parallel workshops to discuss the key issues and perceived barriers to releasing transport data and developing high quality applications. It was interesting to hear that in times of what cities want to do there are many common themes – particularly around providing multi-modal and real-time transport information; and in developing city-wide applications that can also be linked easily with information for visitors to cities.
For developers, there is a desire to see more data released and in a useable format, and for the gaps in data – whether from public or private sector operators – to be made available in order to create better applications. We heard of how developers had already gone ahead and created mobile apps where there weren’t any; and how cities were often wanting to release data but coming up against some resistances to do with their legal, policy and procurement frameworks.
As a curtain raiser for the OK Festival’s Smart City strand it brought together an interesting group of people and the ePSI platform working group discussions will lead to an open data transport “manifest” that will be made public shortly as an outcome of the workshop.