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Our first event on the future of open data

On 7 June, Liz McPherson and Eric Crampton joined our CEO, Ed Corkery, for a discussion on the future of open data in Aotearoa.

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Posted by Matt McGregor
June 13th, 2017

Open data event 7 June 2017

Last week, we hosted Liz McPherson (Government Statistician and CEO of Stats NZ) and Eric Crampton (Chief Economist at the NZ Initiative) for a discussion on the future of open data.

The team here have been thinking about this subject a lot, especially over the last year, and we were keen to bring together data publishers and users to discuss how we could collectively do a better job of open data in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Ed Corkery, our CEO, kicked off the event by considering the problem of what’s becoming known as ‘dormant’ open data — data that is technically open, but massively underused. He outlined some potential solutions, which our Customer Experience Manager Anne Harper has considered elsewhere on this blog, focusing in particular on removing the friction experienced by publishers and users.

Liz followed Ed by underscoring the importance of data to New Zealand’s society, economy and environment, and suggested that we ought to set ourselves the goal of becoming the best in the world at open data (we’re currently eighth, according to the Open Data Index).

Eric came next, making a typically passionate case for open data. He focused in particular on how limitations around technology and licensing could prevent data that was technically released from being actually used. You can read more about Eric’s talk at his blog, Offsetting Behaviour

In the discussion that followed, Liz was gracious in partially accepting — but also partially rebutting and providing context for — Eric’s criticisms of data access at Stats NZ. This productive debate provided a great platform for further conversation among the full house of attendees, many of whom stayed for over an hour afterwards.

We’re excited to continue these conversations in the months ahead. First, we want to take this event on the road to Auckland and Christchurch. And then we want to dig deeper into some of the issues raised, particular around open data and ROI. Watch this space for more information in the weeks ahead.

A big thanks to Liz, Eric and everyone who attended!

Credit: Image derived from NZ Contours (Topo, 1:50k) from the LINZ Data Service, which is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 NZ licence.