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Introducing Matt, Education Manager

Hi, I’m Matt – I’m the Education Manager at Koordinates.

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Posted by Matt McGregor
April 7th, 2016

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Hi, I’m Matt – I’m the Education Manager at Koordinates.

While I’ve only just joined full-time, I’ve actually been working with Koordinates for a while now. Beginning in June last year, I’ve been contracting with Koordinates to build a repository of user guides, to make it easier for people to get started on the platform.  

The ‘Education’ title suggests the ambition we have at Koordinates, which is support organisations as they reshape how they publish and use data. As the industry changes, we want to make it much easier to access and use data, because we believe that this will lead to better social, economic and environmental outcomes.

At present, it can be difficult for people to get access to the data they need. On the one hand, they may not even know the data exists; if they know it exists, it can take some time to access it; if they can access it, it might not be in the formats they need. These problems are difficult for data professionals to solve – for non-technical users, they are often insurmountable.

Put another way, though, this can be seen as an extraordinary opportunity. By getting the world’s data in one place, on an intelligent, user-friendly platform, we can change the way we think about – and ultimately shape – our planet.

With the rise of cloud technology, the industry is changing, and data users are going to need professional development to make the most of these new opportunities. Koordinates is uniquely placed to help provide this professional development, to enable a new era of data publishing.

My job, then, will be to make it as easy as possible for publishers to share their data – either privately or openly – and help educate folks on how they can use Koordinates to find, access, appraise and use more data. This will involve creating an extensive and detailed library of user guides and documentation on the Koordinates platform, alongside a range of introductory training materials.

I’ll be building on my experience at Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand an organisation that provides the licences used by the majority of New Zealand’s open data, which I led from 2012 – 2016. In that role, I provided training and resources to support the release of open culture and knowledge in organisations across New Zealand, including universities, schools, libraries and public agencies.

On that note, another aspect of my job will be to bring more data publishers on board. I’m particularly excited to work with the research sector to unlock the massive amount of spatial data that is currently either locked away or lost (according to a 2013 study in Current Biology, over 80% of research data are lost within two decades of research paper publication).  

By opening up this data, the research community can provide a rich new source for data users and ensuring that researchers can build on existing data, rather than starting from scratch.

So, there’s plenty to get on with! While I get stuck in creating and updating our educational resources, I’ll pop up on the blog from time to time to share what we’re up to. I look forward to meeting more of our users in the months ahead.