Learn Linked Data

If you’re trying to get your head around what RDF, SPARQL and Linked Data is (like me!) then the website Learn Linked Data is a great place to start.


Open Data Communities website and Indices of Multiple Deprivation

Ric Roberts from Swirrl is here at the second Lovely Data hack day.

Ric and his colleague Bill were at the last hack day with their linked data version of the Transport for Greater Manchester Bus timetable data, which is available via the Linked Manchester website. You can read more about this work on the Swirrl website here. (I’ll post an entry about some of the applications developed from that data in a bit.)

Ric has told me about the work they have been doing with the Department for Communities and Local Government on the Open Data Communities website.

The site provides Linked Data access to the Index of Multiple Deprivation datasets, including a range of useful information covering population, income, education, health, environment and availability of key community facilities for both 2007 and 2010.

The site lets you browse and search the data and to see at a glance what data is available, but its key purpose is to make the data easily accessible for others to re-use.

You can access and re-use the data via their RESTful HTTP API, or via SPARQL, and get the data in a variety of formats (such as XML, JSON) to extract it in the way that’s useful for you.

Swirrl hope that people will use this data in a variety of ways and combine it with information from other sources.

A couple of blog posts explaining more are here:

On the environment and health theme the relevant indicators are explained in detail here:

Ric has summarised this…

Health: based on a combination of indicators that compare actual outcome with expected outcome for that age group and sex. Underlying indicators include premature death (number of years of life lost vs expected/average – so some of the scores are negative if an area does better than the average), numbers of people receiving disability benefits, emergency admissions to hospital, mental health.

Environment: combination of poor condition housing, houses without central heating, air quality and road traffic accidents involving injury to peds and cyclists.

Since there are also indicators about income, education etc – there are lots of opportunities for looking at correlations, mashing up with other datasets to see what kinds of effects environment and housing might have on other stuff – or that might lead to bad environment and housing.

The ten most deprived areas for health are all in the North West, several within Greater Manchester: Rochdale is top of the league. (Manchester not so bad on the environment scores, at least it’s not in the top 10).

About the event partners

Here’s a bit more information about the event partners.


FutureEverything creates year-round Digital Innovation projects that combine creativity, participation and new technologies to deliver elegant business and research solutions. In 2010 we launched the FutureEverything Award, an international prize for artworks, social innovations or software and technology projects that bring the future into the present.

The company is most widely known for its well-established annual conference and festival of Art, Music and Ideas during May in Manchester, England.

Find out more at http://futureeverything.org/

MadLab (Manchester Digital Laboratory)

The Madlab is a community space for people who want to do and make interesting stuff – a place for geeks, artists, designers, illustrators, hackers, tinkerers, innovators and idle dreamers; an autonomous R&D laboratory and a release valve for Manchester’s creative communities.

Find out more at http://madlab.org.uk/

Open Data Manchester

Manchester is overflowing with developers, designers and people curious about statistical data and information visualisation. They all have ideas about how to use publicly available data from a wide range of sources. The mission of Open Data Manchester is to:

  • Help developers and designers become more familiar with tools, datasets and other projects around the World
  • Identify datasets of use to local data users and of interest to us generally
  • To provide a catalyst for local authorities in Manchester and the North so that they might make data available for exploration, knowing there are established groups who wish to use it

Find out more on the Open Data Manchester Google Group at http://groups.google.com/group/opendatamanchester


DataGM has been created by public sector organisations in Greater Manchester, to release and bring together in one place, as much of the data they hold as possible.

Find out more at and get access to lots of lovely data at http://www.datagm.org.uk/


Manchester Digital Development Agency – MDDA – is based in Manchester, UK and is part of Manchester City Council. MDDA works with a wide range of local, national and international partners from the government, academic, business and community sectors. Its role is to support the regeneration of the city-region through the strategic and practical work of its technology-focused projects.

Find out more at http://www.manchesterdda.com

Open Data Manual

As spotted the other day in an O’Reilly Radar Four Short Links blog post, the Open Data Manual is a good document to read if you’re looking to open up your organisation’s data.

There’s a section about hack days in it, though it’s a bit short. This great blog post from Dan Slee goes into a lot more detail about doing a hack day.

Tim Berners-Lee on open data

As this blog develops I’ll try to add links to things that explain what open data is all about and useful links and such.

I’ll need help with that, so if you’ve got any links to share then please leave a comment.

To get started, here’s a good talk from Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, on what happens when data is opened up.