Yesterday morning I went to Help us Free London’s Data on the top floor of City Hall. Organized by the GLA, it was intended to get feedback from the development community about their upcoming Datastore project, which is slated for launch in January 2010.
The people from the GLA admitted that they don’t produce that much interesting data, and have limited influence over the authorities who do (like TfL and the borough councils), so their plan is to set a precedent. I don’t agree that all the GLA’s data is boring — I think that transparency and accountability for our elected representatives is important, even if it isn’t as alluring to everyone as the elusive transport data.
Discussion was mainly about the mundane details of how to go about publishing the data. Thankfully pragmatism prevailed and the anticipated hour-long semantic web ontology discussion/flamewar didn’t materialize.
I was impressed by the amount of grassroots support open data appears to have within the GLA — there were representatives of several departments in attendance — and they definitely seem to be taking the right route by publishing data when they can. I’m really interested to see what they come up with in January.
My biggest annoyance was that they started at 10am on a Saturday. Hackers don’t do mornings, guys.