Open Data Institute Summit 2014

By Johanna Walker, Web Science PhD Student

The conference consisted of 4 sessions; innovation, real life applications, culture and the future and involved 37 speakers, touching on areas from Amazon Web Services’ partnership with NASA to 3D printing to digitizing Burkina Faso to audio visual artworks. The mixture of formats allowed attendees to hear from academics, practitioners, government, publishers, producers, consumers and champions of Open Data.

Highlights included Martha Lane Fox in conversation with European Digital Girl of the Year Amy Mather, who spoke confidently and engagingly about how more young women could be encouraged into STEM subjects and the barriers they faced, and shared the way her peers were integrating open data into their lives. She proposed a series of coding grades, similar to those studied in music, as a way of giving children access to coding regardless of their school offerings.

Taking the entirely opposite view, Will Perrin of Talk About Local, stirred up debate when he used the phrase, “Can’t code, won’t code and proud of it” and suggested that data accessed through APIs was, in fact, not open to those without coding skills.

During the second session Richard Benjamins of Telefonica announced EU funding of EU14.4m to fund an incubator, open data research and a data science training academy. These will be run by a consortium including the University of Southampton.

All the sessions were recorded and can be found on the ODI Summit website.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall’s panel session was recorded for broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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