Written by: Stephen Blackburn, Data Mill North Product Owner, 06/08/2016
Well it’s all really exciting here at the Data Mill. As I write this we’re putting the finishing touches to the migration from Leeds Data Mill to Data Mill North. Whilst there’s a tinge of sadness with the Leeds Data Mill website and name disappearing, this is more than outweighed by the excitement of what lies ahead for Data Mill North. We’re a great and diverse region with one of the largest digital communities outside of London and I believe that by working together we can be the best open data platform in the UK, if not well beyond our shores.
City of Bradford MDC, alongside Leeds City Council are now using Data Mill North as their main open data repository. This is great news as it now means that we’ll get even richer data from right across the region enabling us to break down traditional local authority boundaries. We can’t stop there though. In order to join up the dots we need to be publishing consistent data to agreed standards, removing barriers to re-use and driving up its value.
So what’s next? Well I’m having conversations with organisations across the region and encouraging them to join us. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I’ve got data to share’, please do get in touch, let’s talk! The only limit to our ambition I guess as the moment is ‘what actually is the North?’. Well depending on which Google image you look at depends on how it’s defined. I think we need to be bold and ambitious so I’m looking at the map which goes as far north as Scotland, south to the Midlands and stretches from Liverpool to Hull.
We hear a lot about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and I think by and large it’s still to be defined what the phrase actually means. As far as I’m concerned digital is clearly a massive part of everything we do in future. Taking the progressive, forward looking approach to open data that we are, enables us to be right at the centre of promoting the skills, diversity and passion of the people here in the North – exciting times ahead!