Open Data in 2021

March 18, 2021 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Virtual at:
Simon Worthington

Open data is often under-represented in discussions about open source, so in this evening of talks we’ll have a set of speakers with talks focusing on open data.

Our MC for the evening is Simon Worthington.

18:20 – Feel free to join the online meeting to chat with other participants
18:30 – Short introduction (5 min) of the evening
18:35 – Presentations and questions
20:35 – Closing Discussion

Please register on Eventbrite for a free ticket: The link to join on our BigBlueButton instance will be sent to all registered attendees before the event. Each talk will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel shortly after the event.

Join the live presentation here:

Matthew Somerville – Behind the local lockdown tool

During the second half of 2020, various parts of the UK found themselves under various different sorts of local restrictions, which changed regularly. Originally done with a huge list of postcodes, then resolving to council and ward areas, these confusing, complicated changes lacked a straightforward way of finding out the current restrictions where you were. So I wrote a postcode lookup tool to look up local restrictions, which ended up being mentioned in Parliament. This talk will look at the open data behind the legislation and my tool, and some of the problems and issues faced.

Matthew Somerville is a senior web developer based in Birmingham. With mySociety, he is involved in many of the UK’s best known civic websites, such as FixMyStreet and TheyWorkForYou. Finding that there didn’t appear to be a comprehensive IMDb-style site for the theatre, he created Theatricalia, an online database of theatre productions. His bookmarkable version of the National Rail website provides constant positive karma, and his live map of the London Underground was described as “what IT was invented for” and “possibly the coolest use of the internet”. Outside of the internet and his house, he used to sing with the City of Birmingham Choir, and play violin in the South Birmingham Sinfonia, and hopes to do so again.

Sam Roberts – Open data and transparency

Sam will be discussing open data and transparency. The UK has a renewed focus on user needs, standards and quality of data. This entails a number of approaches that involve data and ways of working to ensure transparency, accountability and citizen participation inform the way that government prioritises open data. The presentation will involve UK and international case studies.

Sam Roberts is the head of Open Government and Open Data policy at the UK Cabinet Office (GDS) having previously worked across a number of prominent government areas, including information sharing legislation, international transparency, and youth policy. In addition to policy development, Sam is a trained agile delivery manager and has led the delivery of projects within multidisciplinary teams of Data Scientists, User Researchers, Content Designers, Product Managers, and Policy Advisers. Sam also leads a range of international work with the Open Government Partnership, OECD, and the Digital Nations.

Mike Jacklin – Opening up Britain’s transport data

Open data plays a key and evolving role in the public transport sector in Britain. Not only does it enable accurate passenger information to be widely distributed, but it is also being used to support the digital transformation of the industry.

Ito World is a major consumer of open data, and also builds platforms that help governments, transport authorities and operators to manage and distribute their data. Drawing on their work with leading journey planners such as Google Maps, as well as our work with the Department for Transport (DfT) developing the Bus Open Digital Service, Mike will share some of the experiences and lessons learnt – from both the data consumer and data publisher side.

Mike Jacklin is Partnerships Director at Ito World. He has overseen the growth in Ito’s work with journey planner clients such as Google and Apple Maps, as well as the platform side of the business, with clients such as the DfT, Transport for West Midlands, and Transport for the North.