Tech 100: 'Making publication of open data the norm will not be easy... but we can make it easier by sharing'

Written by Ian Watt on 7 December 2016 in Comment

Ian Watt, digital transformation manager at Aberdeen City Council, on pressing ahead with open data within Scottish local government

Aberdeen City Council digital transformation manager Ian Watt - Image credit: Aberdeen City Council

The Scottish Cities Alliance (SCA), representing the seven city authorities, is pressing ahead with a significant open data programme, led by Aberdeen, raising the real potential for others to learn from, and easily re-use, much of what is being produced.

Open data cannot be seen in isolation: it originates in back-end systems and needs processes and underpinning standards to ensure that it is published usably. 

The alliance will share its guidance on standards and processes. Making the publication of open data from all services the norm will be not be easy for anyone, but by sharing how we each do that, we can make it easier for others.


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Open data needs to be made available somewhere on the web – e.g. on a dedicated platform - and to be searchable and discoverable. We will share what we do and will encourage the adoption of common standards and approaches to encourage consistency across councils.

Going beyond publication, the true value of open data will be realised in its re-use and in the innovative uses to which it is put. The SCA partners will work to develop city-region open data eco-systems where the public, third and private sectors collaborate to encourage data use, economic stimulation and creative approaches to solving civic challenges.

There will be opportunities to collaborate across organisational or geographic boundaries and to develop a Scottish open data eco-system and to share best practice in doing that.

All of this, coupled with other exciting digital developments in Scottish Government, has the potential to make 2017 a very interesting year indeed.

Ian Watt is digital transformation manager at Aberdeen City Council



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