ODI funds projects to map food banks and cycle routes

DataIQ News

The Open Data Institute has handed out funding to four local government projects to explore new approaches to publishing and using open geospatial data, including initiatives which will map food banks and cycling routes, as well as tackle accessibility issues.

The work is part of the ODI's R&D programme, with each project receiving between £15,000 and £25,000 for research to conclude by the end of March. The ODI will work closely with all the project teams.

One scheme will see Falkirk Council work with geographic data sharing specialist thinkWhere to develop an open source mapping platform to present data from OpenStreetMap - a free wiki world map - to help community groups and citizens access local services.

Examples of how the scheme will be used include showing locations of food banks, community kitchens and community gardening projects, with aim being to help the groups to maintain data in OpenStreetMap, rather than in separate directories.

Meanwhile, Oxfordshire Council has created a consortium which will develop an open source audit tool to assess local cycling routes and help inform local transport policy. It is hoped that the tool will be used by other groups to carry out similar assessments in other areas.

The third scheme sees Stockport Council partner with Open Data Manchester on a project called "Mapping Mobility Stockport". Working with Age UK and local communities, they will be crowdsourcing data about accessibility issues in the region, drawing on the experience of people with impairments to supplement data already available to the council. The project will produce a new accessibility map of the area.

Finally, Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with geospatial specialist Geoxphere to create an open data infrastructure for geospatial data. They are working with local open data group Bath:Hacked to explore issues around licensing and aim to share the lessons with other councils.

ODI head of data infrastructure Leigh Dodds said: "These four projects show the diverse application of geospatial data. They will explore collaborative approaches to data collection, management and use that draw on resources and support from across the UK's geospatial data infrastructure including, the Ordnance Survey, OpenStreetMap communities and local open data groups.

“Our research highlights that local government often struggles to release openly licensed data, limiting its ability to work with local communities, start-ups and SMEs to create innovative products and services.”