Northern Ireland developing into a hotbed of ‘Open Data’

December 12, 2017

From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow, …. well, that’s very much the aim!

Open Data can bring a great many benefits such as accountability, efficiency, enhanced research, and commercial opportunity; albeit it can take time to realise the benefits. Here in Northern Ireland, however, we are now starting to see opportunities present themselves and news has just reached us that a team of intrepid OpenDataNI devotees has been successful in landing £100,000 in a worldwide invitation to tender to develop open source tools for use in open data publishing.

In August this year, the Open Data Institute invited tenders to develop new or improve existing tools, to advance the process of publishing open data, in terms of ease, speed and efficiency. Following a thorough selection process, ODI has announced the two successful entries and we at OpenDataNI are delighted to learn that one of these, the Open Business Industry Group, hails from here in Northern Ireland. The group is comprised of local developers, some of whom cut their ‘open data’ teeth with OpenDataNI, and particularly in the ‘OpenDataNI Challenge for Education’ that we ran earlier this year. Indeed, some of the team produced successful entries in our Challenge, including one of the eventual winners ‘Our Raging Planet’, which is now available as a teaching resource in Northern Ireland schools. You can read more about the successful entries in the OpenDataNI Challenge for Education here.

The tools that the team will produce will be promoted by the Open Data Institute all across the world, aiding publishers to release their data as open data.

Dr Phil Weir Developer and Data Specialist, Project Lintol (and ‘OpenDataNI Challenge for Education’ winner with ‘Our Raging Planet’), told us…

"The quality of Open Data is critical to commercial relevance. Through this project we seek to facilitate its improvement and maximise its potential impact to our society".

Success in landing a significant tender such as this (valued at £100,000) shows that there is now a burgeoning Open Data sector here, with a commensurate increase in the skills base needed to realise the many, many benefits of Open Data for citizens and for the local economy. We are hugely proud of OpenDataNI’s part in their story so far, and we wish them continued success in their endeavour to promote and improve the process of publishing and re-using open data at a global scale for the benefit of all.

You can read more about the details of Project Lintol in their press release here