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Clear labeling of the licensing terms is a key component of Open data, and icons like the one pictured here are being used for that purpose.

thumb|Coat of Arms of Birmingham City Council.

Government Open Data Hack Day[edit]

Various Government's release their information in the form of Open Data.
A hack day or hackathon, is an intensive time bound event to create something.
We aimed to produce something beautiful, insightful or meaningful to benefit the community.
For ideas, listen to this audio interview relating to the event: -
Recorded by William Perrin, the head of Talk About Local.


Following the 2012 TEDxBrum event in Birmingham, Gavin Broughton was inspired to hold a hackday around Open Data.
Fellow TEDxBrum attendee James Cattell helped Gavin organise the event.

Birmingham, June 2012[edit]

Birmingham Science Park was selected as the location and booked with the help of Kath Preston. Gavin & James had both attended events at this venue and knew there was free, open and reliable wireless internet (essential for a successful hackday).


An Eventbrite page was created so potential attendees could register their interest.
The address for the page is


Twitter was used, primarily to keep costs down and target the correct audience.


There were various costs to be covered including security at the venue, refreshments and pizza.
A budget of £200 was needed to cover the event.
Donations could be made via the EventBrite registration page.
Gavin personally covered the cost of pizza and took donations at the event.
James personally covered the cost of security and refreshments, total cost around £180.


This event used an unconference format and was split over 2 days: -
Friday 8th June, 6pm to 8pm - round table discussion

  • Set the scene
  • Introductions / speakers
  • Identify issues to solve
  • Generate ideas
  • Networking.

Saturday 9th June, 9:30am to 8:30pm - the hackday.

  • Hacking with Open / Free Data to create something
  • Find out something nobody knew before (data journalism-esq).

Attendees were advised to bring: -

  • their own laptop, tablet or smartphone
  • programs or datasets they had

Target audience[edit]

  • Developers
  • Data analysts
  • Journalists
  • Designers
  • Public servants.

Proposed data sets[edit]

Proposed technologies or platforms[edit]


Data in this table taken from Google Docs spreadsheet at

Name Twitter Website
Andrew Mackenzie @DJSoup
Andrew Thomas @geocomputer
Andy Pryke @AndyPryke
Christophe Ladroue @CLadroue
Dan Herbert @drdanherbert n/a
Dave Packett @rocketmandave1
Gavin Broughton @ukgav
Dr Rick Robinson @dr_rick
Rob Nickerson n/a n/a
Sarah Mount @snim2
Tristan Webb @ksira
James Cattell @jacattell
Jenny Drew @Jenny_Drew n/a
Marc Reeves @marcreeves n/a
Mark Hill @cybrum n/a
Matthew Green @policyworks n/a
Pauline Geoghegan @politicsinbrum


On day 1, it was decided to focus on open data relating to Quality of Life. The outputs would be visualisations to show complex data in graphical formats. It was also decided to identify a framework or schema description for the Birmingham's planned open data platform. It was suggested that Birmingham City Council could potentially buy any applications or website services created at the event.

By the end of day 2, we had created the following visualisations (in no particular order)
Birmingham Budget Book + voluntary spending data TO FOLLOW
Data Sources actually used
Key Indicators by Constituency - Reshaped - Cal Year only
What Birmingham City Council should do next
Allotment locations and names
Dr Andrew Thomas' work and thoughts

Birmingham, September 2012[edit]

James' thoughts: Taking the Civic Dashboard as a starting point, I would like to expand the dataset and have a SAP customer relationship management (CRM) hackday.

The next Government Open Data Hack Day is proposed to be held in Birmingham from 28th to 30th September 2012.