ODI Leeds Digest - October

The nights got longer, days got shorter, and everyone took part in the annual festival of sweets - otherwise known as Halloween. There were no spooky goings-on here though, just a lot of stellar events and impressive projects, from our second #TravelHack event to the battle to improve air quality in Leeds via Climathon. If you missed any of it, read on to find out what we got up to...

  • Innovation space
  • Innovation space

If you thought the whiteboard wall from our last newsletter was impressive, just wait until you see our new even bigger whiteboard walls! In fact, the walls fold away when not in use, letting us be really flexible with the space layout. The work-space area is now complete after the delivery of the brand new chairs. Chosen especially for their comfort and their sustainable production, these chairs are already proving popular with the regular space users. The last thing that will be the cherry on the icing are the brand new lights, which requires a bit of electrical fettling. This will involve some days that might be a bit messy or noisy, so please bear with us.

What has changed in the space?

  • State of the art Audio & Visual equipment - with a full live stream capability (if you followed #TravelHack2 you'll have seen that in action)
  • Walls and floor have been redecorated, and the ceiling has been painted, offering a brighter space
  • New heating installed
  • Updated the furniture to suit what people use the space for - task chairs, private spaces, standing desks
  • Flexible bi-folding walls, which are also writable whiteboards - so we can have 3, 2 or 1 spaces - and space or event hire from 10 people right up to 200 people or so for events, with the AV to suit, but also host our co-workers and collaborative teams at the same time in comfort
  • Approximately 75m2 of writable white surfaces, which includes the bi-folding walls and the whiteboard wall in the presentation area
  • Upgraded electrics and lighting
  • Two new accessible doors
  • Bespoke furniture for the collaboration space
  • IT equipment

#TravelHack2 was our biggest event in October and was a successful follow-up to the first #TravelHack. With more than 80 attendees in total, and guests from Department for Transport, Traveline Wales, Transport Focus, Transdev and many more, #TravelHack2 proved there was an active community focused on bus fares and data. This was no day for presentations and lofty promises - we wanted prototypes by the end of the day. And the attendees delivered! Transport for the North also shared the first live draft of their open data policy, allowing people to make comments and recommend improvements.

You can find all of the material produced from the day on the #TravelHack2 hub page, from blog posts and datasets to photos and Youtube playlists.

We reached another milestone in the PDF and data project we have been working on alongside the Open Data Institute and Adobe. It certainly raised eyebrows and definitely got people talking about a file format typically seen as the 'opposite of open.' If you missed it, we really recommend reading Tom Forth's blog post all about the project.

This year saw the return of Open Data Camp. We sent Amy Evans - our comms person and content designer - for the first time. Open Data Camp stands apart from many other 'conferences' in that there is no agenda until people turn up. The attendees, many of them passionate about open data and with specialisms ranging from technical to political, get to set the agenda by pitching their ideas for sessions. Amy lead a session on the Sunday all about 'Data as Art'. Simon Whitehead wrote this fab blog post all about it. You can read detailed notes on the Open Data Camp website, plus look out for Amy's personal blog post coming soon.

For a second year we were the host venue for the Leeds Climathon. Part of a global 24hr challenge,the Leeds event was split into two 12-hr days, and was once again focused on air quality. After Leeds and other cities were hitting the headlines this year for breaching their annual air pollution limits before the year was half-done, looking for new solutions to air pollution is more pressing than ever. You can read their write-up plus find out about the winning projects here on the Priestley Centre website. The event was also featured on Yorkshire Voice.

Coming up...

Already sold out, we have three workshops with the Department for Transport looking at the open data provision in the impending Bus Services Act 2017. With events taking place in London, Birmingham, and Leeds, DfT are keen to hear from a wide range of people who work with open data and can provide input about what should happen, what definitely shouldn't happen, and how it could all work for the Bus Services Act. As with all of our events, we are documenting everything in the open, so if you missed the chance to grab a ticket, you can still contribute via any of the collaborative documents listed below:

London collab doc

Birmingham collab doc

Leeds collab doc

Monthly meetups coming up in November include CodeMill on 23 November all about cloud automation, and Leeds DevOps on 28 November with presenters to be confirmed. Both meetups are popular, so we recommend signing up early.

Still in the planning stages but we are delighted to say that we will be working on exciting projects with Ofcom in the new year. And later this month, Unilever are using the space for an innovation event.