Camden Council Embraces Cloud-Powered Open Data Platform

Camden Council is embracing open data with the launch of a platform to enable residents, local businesses, researchers and community groups to access useful information about the London borough.

Dubbed Open Data Camden, the platform is constructed of more than 300 data sets, with more on the cards, and can be tapped into by software developers to enable them to make apps and services to support tasks such as planning applications, checking housing stock, availability of parking spots and monitoring road accident information.

Open Data Camden

The platform is being delivered in software-as-a-service form by cloud-based data specialist Socrata, and follows on from Camden Council’s adoption of the Open Data Charter, whereby the Council’s has an overarching principle of having all its data open by default, in 2015.

“In 2015 we became an open-by-default council where datasets would be published unless there was a compelling reason not to. Our platform has built up a huge store of clean, accessible data for public benefit,” said Councillor Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, technology and growth within the Camden borough.

“The data available on Open Data Camden has the potential to improve the everyday lives of local residents and we want to unlock this potential to improve public services and drive value in the digital economy.”

The council itself has already used open data to create a planning email alert system and supporting apps, which allowed for £200,000 to be saved through the reuse of data rather than trying to gather another data set.

Open data is becoming one of the main cornerstones of digital transformation in the public sector, as sharing data and using common databases not only facilitates a cost-effective way of harnessing public sector information, but allow provides access to useful data sets from one government organisation to another or a third-party that would have otherwise been kept under wraps.

There is a risk to using open data, according to World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who believes hackers could exploit it to wreak chaos.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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