Remember that we launched Armchair Auditor, after the Isle of Wight council opened up their spending data? That was down to Open Data.
We’ve all got Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web) to thank for the opening up of Government and local authority data – and by co-incidence he’s Professor of computer science at Southampton Uni, along with another Open-Data pioneer, Nigel Shadbolt.
Well Christopher Gutteridge, who grew up in Ventnor (and “Definitely swears allegiance to Ventnor as my home town”) has taken on the huge task of opening up the data of Southampton Uni – and has just published it for all the world to see and use.
They’ve released huge amounts of information, collectively called ‘datasets‘ which cover all sorts of areas, including
payments made; details of their buildings; their Public Phonebook; even data about their Vending Machines
Why do it?
The executive summary on the page tells it all …
There’s data we have which isn’t in any way confidential which is of use to our members, visitors, and the public. If we make the data available in a structured way with a license which allows reuse then our members, or anyone else, can build tools on top of it without needless bureaucracy. That’s common sense. We call it “Open Data”.
Showing the way
It’s clearly been a mammoth task for Christopher and the team working with him, but it gives a clear indication of how much information that organisations hold can be shared with the public.
Once the data has been freed, people are then able to freely develop applications that can use it.
One has already been created at Southampton called iSoton by student FranÃ§ois-Xavier Beckers. It puts everything that a student needs to know in the palm of their hand – a University Assistant.
As you can see from the video below, it’s comprehensive.
What will be interesting now is seeing which other applications are built now using the data.