Bristol City Council launches open data initiative

Bristol has launched an open data initiative to encourage citizens to build services using local data.

Bristol has launched an open data initiative to encourage citizens to build services using local data.

Bristol City Council, the Future Cities Catapult and the Connected Digital Economy Catapult plan to release 100 civic datasets from the end of the summer, which will then be open for citizens to access.

The city hopes this will support developers who wish to use the data to create new products and services to improve the city using datasets such as traffic management data. The results of the open data initiative could result in apps to make it easier to get around the city and information on how to reduce waste, save energy and improve air quality.

“This exciting collaboration is exactly the sort of creative and innovative approach for which Bristol has become known, nationally and internationally,” said the mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson.

“It will help everyone in the city, from large organisations to individuals, to have a greater control of their lives by informing decision-making.”

The city will also run a series of Catapult events and competitions to encourage citizens to explore the datasets. Bristolians will be supported in testing, prototyping and commercialising their ideas.

Further datasets will be released if the initiative is successful, and the outcomes of the programme will be shared with other local authorities and citizens to spread the word about open data.

“The [data release] will also play an important part in building the city’s prosperity by making it an even better place in which to invest and do business, attracting new employers to the city,” said Ferguson.

The Future Cities Catapult is a programme run by the Technology Strategy Board, which back in April announced £9m of funding to boost future technologies in Bristol, as well as London and Peterborough, after announcing Glasgow as its demonstrator city in early 2013.

The funding was set aside for local authorities to spend on technology for improving public services, such as traffic systems, security or eco-friendly initiatives.

Bristol pledged to develop a Citywide Living Lab, by opening up datasets about the city to local businesses – SMEs in particular – to help them develop new products better targeted at the residents of the city.

“This is an important initiative by Bristol City Council. Releasing city data will provide new insights into how the city works and an opportunity to drive innovation," said Future Cities Catapult executive director of innovation and the cities lab Peter Reynolds.

"I’m looking forward to adding our expertise into the mix to help the city apply its data to deliver new products and services, improved decision-making and a better quality of life for Bristolians.”

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