For the past two years the Studio have been working to identify suitable data and prepare it for release in ‘open’ or machine readable formats. The amount of information we generate through provision of city services has been quite an eye-opener. . Many are surprised that others would be interested in our data at all. We need to build awareness of the value of our data as a raw material by improving data literacy and knowledge management practices among staff.
Web developers are ‘mining’ our data for treasure we never knew existed. There has been a high demand for planning, environment and transport data and in particular for ‘live’ or continually updated data with researchers across the world consuming our traffic feeds. You never know what may be of interest until you put data out there. ‘Fire Brigade and Ambulance call outs’ and ‘School Wardens’ lists are regularly top viewed and the register of ‘Fats, Oil & Grease’ licences has proven to be the most accurate record of public infrastructure.
The ‘smart city’ needs to know how its citizens behave. Some are happy to share this information but others want the right to privacy. While regulation lags behind technology, Dublin City Council must ensure the removal or aggregation of sensitive or personal information from our data before we can release it as open data. Other reasons not to publish may include licensing or legal issues, for example we don’t own Dublin bikes data as the service was outsourced. When procuring future public services we should consider who retains ownership of the data produced.