Simon Hamilton launches new Open Data strategy for Northern Ireland…

Forgive my native scepticism when I hear politicians talk about small changes day by day, but are reluctant to talk about numbers. However, there may be some light on that particular horizon…

DFP Simon Hamilton has unveiled a strategy document for the implementation of open data as a default. It’s long on words but fairly short on detail; although the accompanying roadmap provides some vestigial details about roll out and intention to engage.

The ambition is admirable, but there are some conditions…

The default will be that all public sector data will be open by default with exceptions in respect of personal data, security, commercial, intellectual property rights or environmental importance.

On the whole, a welcome, and as these things go, a fairly timely move. One thing, that’s clear from the Risk section though is that they are taking a cautious view of cleaning up the data.

In London, they are asking the public to help them sort out problems whereas here

Most of the risks that result from using open data are due to a lack of communication or a lack of interpretation between the data provider and the data user about limitations, errors or the timeliness of the data. This risk exposure can be mitigated by introducing clear communication and validation procedures along with clear and precise metadata.

Sure there are potentially some new commercial opportunities arising here. But it is the release of new stories and insights that could be transformative.

If you want to keep a closer eye on these matters, you can join the NI Open Government Network and help at the very least keep a watching brief…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty