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ODI Leeds Digest - Winter

We are aware that we are still technically in the grips of winter but it is a nice convenient way to sum up all of the good stuff that happened over Christmas and New Year. Winter has come, and so has all of the news!

December was a busy haze of activity - everyone wanted to squeeze their events in just before the holidays and we had a sack full of projects start (and finish). The Databus session in Leeds, the last of three, was held on 6 December and had an impressive turnout. There were some brilliant talks from bus operators, passenger advocates, and transport service app developers, as well as representatives from Transport for London to talk about benefits and opportunities unlocked by open data. 2017 was quite a transport-focused year for us and Databus was a brilliant way to round that off. It showed the continued interest and determination of people within transport industry to bring about beneficial change.

In response to this overwhelming demand for and interest in transport data projects, we have launched ODI Leeds: Transport. You can find further details on this blog post, but in a nutshell ODI Leeds: Transport was created to further unite the people and organisations who want to make the transport system better for everyone. If you want to be added to the ODI Leeds: Transport mailing list to learn more about projects and opportunities, please get in touch with Amy at

As the Databus project came to a close, so did our 15-week project about energy data in Leeds. Douglas Phillips was the lead on this project and he sums up his findings and body of work in this farewell blog post. During his time at ODI Leeds, Doug (in collaboration with Stuart, our data projects associate) developed two data tools - the Leeds EPC Capacity for Improvement hexmap, and the Supermarket CO2 Emissions map. He documented his process openly throughout this project and his blog posts can all be seen here.

January might have been a damp and chilly start for most but it was a running start for us! In the first week alone we had confirmed some brilliant new clients and projects, and by the end of the month a brand new sponsor had joined us - Yorkshire Water! We couldn't be more thrilled and we're already working on the events and projects that will be delivered during 2018. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to take part.

We also saw the return of CodeMill with a brilliant hands-on maker-inspired evening session, demonstrating the various projects that could be done with micro:bits and Raspberry Pi's. New events to use the space featured the Leeds Cryptocurrency Meetup highlighting the use of Microsoft Coco for smart contracts, and the FinTech North January seminar which showcased some of the region's fintech talent. We also hosted Waste Less in Leeds - a meetup of like-minded business owners, community champions, and interested parties all looking to encourage more reuse and recycling in and around Leeds, covering not only the plastic crisis that has hit headlines recently but also concepts of rescuing food waste and creating toy banks.

Coming Up

In previous blog posts, we mentioned our upcoming work with Ofcom. It is no longer upcoming, it is here! Starting with Leeds, a series of 'open sessions' will be held across the country with an opportunity to discuss Ofcom data - what is already available, what could be opened, what is useful, what isn't, etc. All feedback and comments will then go on to inform and guide the innovation workshop day to be held in Leeds in March. The Leeds open session is 4:30pm-6:30pm on Tuesday 6 February. Registrations are now closed but you can still contribute remotely - the open collab documents can be found on our Ofcom hub page as well as links to other resources and events.

We are delighted to be involved with the Leeds Digital Festival again and we are keen to get our schedule fixed for data-and-innovation events. If you want to book the space or need help delivering an event during the festival, get in touch with Kathryn at

We will be hosting our Showcase on Monday 16 April, a fantastic way to kick off the festival, so please be prepared to come along and join in with our day of showcasing ODI Leeds and its sponsors work.

The events and activity we have scheduled already are as follows:

  • ODI Leeds Showcase
  • open data training
  • a launch party to celebrate the new space
  • and an open house that features a Lunchtime Lecture hosted and broadcast by us!

Events we are still shaping up include an innovation workshop and a Saturday devoted to Raspberry Pi's, micro:bits, coding, and more, that will be suitable for adults and young people alike.

As part of our Leeds Digital Festival scheduling, we are partnering with Tech Nation to host a digital skills data workshop, using data they have about digital jobs to answer questions about the digital sector across the North of England. Where is the skills crisis most noticeable? What skills are required for different roles? Are there skills suitable for multiple roles? We currently have capacity for a single day workshop but if there is potential for it to be a bigger event, this could be made possible via sponsorship. If you'd like to be involved - perhaps you have relevant data that you can share or you have skills challenges that you want to talk about or you'd like to sponsor the workshop - then please get in touch with Paul on