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What does Open Data mean for Leeds?

Published on behalf of Sandip Ghattaure, Leeds Data Mill

With decreasing resources and funds, we have to evolve. Publishing data on a shared platform for an army of developers and analysts to tap into is one way of being open, honest and attracting investment into the city.

Open Data is not just a council or government priority. The private sector, third sector, educational institutes and many others all stand to gain from working together to make their data open for all to use. The services they build on this data in turn benefit everyone in the city.

Since the creation of the Leeds Data Mill nearly a year ago, we've seen the number of datasets published grow and grow. People re-use data in a variety of ways. One developer made comparisons between the historical national flood data from the Environment Agency, and the planning permission approvals from Leeds City Council. The results showed that Leeds City Council doesn't approve building on flood plains. We`ve also seen civic participation with projects such as ‘Leeds Art Crawl’, a novel app which allows people to tweet photographs of what they consider to be public art. This is helping to create a detailed dataset of public artwork in the region which has never been available before.

We actively welcome community participation. We’ve held increasingly popular Leeds Hack events, where developers, data holders and interested members of the public work together using open data to find solutions and improvements to service delivery.

So what’s next? Leeds Data Mill now publishes over 100 datasets from a variety of organisations, but we still have a long way to go. We want the Data Mill to be the first port of call for anyone who has a query or interest in Leeds data. We want developers to be able to design apps and websites using this data, ideally creating jobs in the process. We want analysts to be able to use the data to help others understand ‘the story of Leeds’. Finally, we want the private sector to be able to benefit from the extra advertising opportunities that openness brings, which we hope will ultimately bring further investment into the city.

We believe open data benefits all of us but that we can only achieve these benefits by all of us working together. The Leeds Data Mill has been created to facilitate this.

Want to learn more about the Leeds Data Mill? Drop Sandip a line at:

07712 216291
2FW leeds Civic Hall, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1

w: www.leeds.gov.uk/opendata
w: www.leedsdatamill.org