Devon launches open data node

The Open Data Institute has launched a new ‘node’ in Devon to enable the sharing of information held by councils and businesses.

Devon County Council is partnering with service design agency Redfront on the node, one of 18 which have been created across the world.

The node – billed as the first rural county version – is designed to support new projects and businesses to use open data, bringing together regional and international innovations.

Simon Gough, director at Redfront, said: “We are delighted to be working with the ODI and our founding partners at Devon County Council. Creating the first rural county node will be an exciting challenge, and together we believe that there are huge opportunities to develop new projects, services and knowledge around some important issues.”

Carl Heggarty, digital communications manager at the council said: “The new communications node will work with councils, emergency services, community organisations, business and citizens across the county to improve innovation and boost transparency in every sector.

ODI Devon’s initial focus will be on building new partnerships around environment and climate data, but will also be looking to develop exciting new collaborations between rural and urban initiatives.

It will support local public sector bodies locally to identify and release data aimed at boosting economic and democratic improvements for the people of Devon, and share best practice from around the world.

Founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI is an independent, non-profit company. It has secured £10 million over five years via the UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, £750,000 from global philanthropic investor Omidyar Network.

In December 2013 it launched 13 initial nodes, including eight city or regional Nodes in Dubai, Chicago, North Carolina, Paris, Trento, Brighton, Manchester and Leeds.

Richard Stirling, international director at the ODI said: “We welcome ODI Devon to the ODI node network. We are very much looking forward to seeing the impact it makes in promoting understanding about open data across the West Country and beyond.”

Colin Marrs

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