Making open data more accessible for Staffordshire

The Client

Staffordshire University are a modern, vocationally inspired university focusing on the areas of creative arts, business and computing. The university put student experience at the heart of what they do and are also committed to becoming a key part of the local digital economy and enhancing economic growth in the Staffordshire region.

The Problem

In order to facilitate the growth of the digital economy in the local area, Staffordshire University and its collaborators were looking for a way to make open data from local councils and their partners available in accessible formats. This would allow digital businesses in the Staffordshire area to use the data and encourage building new products which would both boost the economy and improve the lives of citizens.

How we helped

Tenshi proposed building an open data platform; a type of online store bringing together data from a variety of sources and making it easily visible and searchable. We reviewed open data solutions being used by councils across the UK and internationally and put together a brief for a platform which demonstrated best practice.

From our research we specified that the platform should be open to include data from sources outside the council to maximise its potential use in stimulating the regional digital economy and providing a more inspiring environment for the university’s students and alumni.

We also stated that the platform should be designed to operate as part of the OASC (Open and Agile Smart Cities) and FIWARE initiatives, maximising Staffordshire’s potential to become part of the global smart cities movement whilst making it as easy as possible for developers to interact with the data.

We worked with an independent IT and digital services company, Hive IT, to build this store and guided the design, build and branding. We also worked with data owners and governance teams within the local council to ensure they were comfortable with using the platform and saw the value of making their data available there.

Finally, we used our connections from our work within the Staffordshire Connected Roadworks project to source the initial data sets available on the launch of the platform and ensured they were correctly uploaded and tagged for use.

The Results

The data store, named the Data KILN, is now running in beta and has a number of data sets available for exploration and use. This allows local businesses and entrepreneurs use this data to build digital solutions for citizens. The university has also enabled local stakeholders to run open data challenges, creating improvements to services for citizens and encouraging an open data innovation community.

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