I work in the commercial sector (air emissions and atmospheric modelling) and I’m often frustrated by the data “picture” in Scotland in topic areas like road traffic measurements and models, mapping, meteorological observations and 3D topographic data. These data definitely exist in the vaults at the public bodies, have been funded by the public purse, and speaking as someone who could help add societal and commercial value to the data I find it very troubling that the agencies appear to be dragging their feet in opening it up.
If it too lofty a goal to suggest that if data comes from activities funded by taxation then the default should be that it is made open unless there are military/security restrictions. This of course should also apply to academia and publications which tend to disappear behind paywalls as soon as the ink is dry on the paper.
I’d also like to ask- is the group actively campaigning to make the Scottish public agencies open up? If so what tips can you offer for engaging with data holders - so far all I get is “you can’t have the data for ‘reasons’”.
Drop me an email . I can put you in touch with folk in Scottish government who are advocates of open data and will be able to help you. There is quite an active community too around http://openscot.net/ from across public sector
Hello Scott, Hi Joe
Interesting issue and glad that Joe has been able to provide you some held.
I was wondering if I could contact you both on this issue. I am working for OKI on FutureTDM which is a European project that seeks to improve the uptake of text- and datamining in Europe. access to data is an important issue and we are interested to hear experiences from people who try to use data for text-and datamining.
Please send me an email: i would be interested to hear from you:
Apologies for not replying sooner. It’s interesting to hear about the difficulties you’ve encountered, since it’s clearly important to be able to show the potential economic benefits of releasing open data.
I’ve mainly been focussing recently on working with City of Edinburgh Council on getting more of their data published. Recent additions include:
I’m mentioning this because, in my personal experience, the best way of getting public sector data released is by developing good working relationships with the relevant organisations, which requires patience, optimism and persistence. If there are specific datasets that you would like to have published, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help.
A key consideration is that local authorities in Scotland, like much of the UK, are struggling to meet increasing demand for services with diminishing resources. Publishing open data is not cost-free, and if an LA is struggling to deliver frontline services, and having to make huge cuts in personnel, open data may come fairly low down their list of priorities.
UBDC has some geospatial data that might be of interest to you. I’m not sure of what the license terms are, but it might be worth pursuing.
Scottish Natural Heritage has been making an effort to encourage greater engagement with open data, e.g. NatureScot