Next steps for the Hampshire Hub

The story so far

In my previous post I explained that the Hampshire Hub has been through a few changes, starting life as a ‘thinking aloud’ web site, then regenerating as a ‘prototype’, and most recently what we’ve been calling ‘interim’.

Up to this point we’ve been developing the site ourselves using WordPress, with a bit of help and advice from friends. We’ve tried not to be precious about it being ‘our’ design, and we’re doing our best to incorporate your feedback and suggestions along the way.

Hampshire Hub LOGOWe have shared ‘some’ open data so far, mostly as Excel workbooks based on data packs from OCSI, together with some spatial and other data from the councils, but we’ve never pretended it was a ‘proper’ data store – we recognise that’s not where our strengths lie.

Regeneration: the ‘strategic’ Hampshire Hub

Towards the end of 2013 – having thought carefully about our requirements we went in to ‘procurement mode’ to obtain a really good, versatile, data store. I previously shared the questionnaire which informed potential suppliers, and helped us work out who to invite to formally submit a tender.

We then drew up a detailed Invitation to Tender (ITT) which we shared with those suppliers who had previously qualified to bid. That document is commercially sensitive, so I can’t share it here. Basically, we were looking for a platform that lets us to share lots of data (and other content), and lets you get at the data in various ways, but also enables us to adapt as we go along to meet changing needs.

We received several proposals – all of which were very good in their own right – which our evaluation team reviewed against the criteria set out in the Tender.

We’ve decided!

Despite strong competition, there was a clear winner, and I’m really pleased to say that we’re appointing Swirrl – the linked data specialists – to provide the strategic Hampshire Hub, using their PublishMyData platform. Screenshot 2014-05-05 14.53.31.png

You might have seen some of Swirrl’s existing work over on the DCLG’s Open Data Communities web site, where they’ve created various applications like the Local Authority Dashboard (pictured). Quite a few other applications have been created using data published by the DCLG, with some great examples on Steve Peters’ Open Data Blog.

Building the strategic hub

Swirrl already has an amazing platform, providing a solid foundation on which to build the new Hampshire Hub. Swirrl is also creating a range of new functionality specifically for Hampshire, which will be delivered in the coming months.

Onwards and upwards

This is the first of many posts telling you about the new Hampshire Hub. We intend to continue in the same vein as before, sharing ideas and early versions of new functionality, and asking for your feedback.

Up next

In the next post about the strategic Hub, Bill Roberts of Swirrl will tell you a bit more about PublishMyData, and how Swirrl will be working with the Hampshire Hub project team to deliver the new iteration of the Hampshire Hub.


Picture credits

  1. Much better quality version of the Hampshire Hub logo, thanks to Matt Buck of Drawnalism
  2. Screenshot from the Local Authority Dashboard, courtesy of Open Data Communities
Posted in Data, Hampshire Hub, Local Information System, Open Data, Partnership Working, Transparency and Decision Making | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Drones – opportunity or threat?

Once the purview of the military and spies, ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (‘Drones’), are increasingly common.
NEW blc aerial

Just hot air?

A few months ago the giant online retailer Amazon announced its intention to deliver packages within 30 minutes of customers placing an order. Despite widespread incredulity, Amazon backed this up with footage from test flights, and still assures customers in the US that they can expect commercial deliveries some time in 2015.


In February I attended the excellent News: Rewired conference where, amongst other things, I learnt that the term ‘dronalism’ has already entered the vocabulary. If you’ve not heard of it before, ‘dronalism’ refers to journalists using drones to report from situations difficult or dangerous for people. You’ve probably already seen footage but, if not, here are a couple of examples:

Own Drone

If you’re prepared to fork out several hundred quid, you can own your own drone. For less than £300 you can have a drone that can ascend to 100m, record and live-stream high definition footage to your smart phone, and even return home automatically. I’m referring to the AR Drone 2.0 here from Parrot, but there are other manufacturers and options available.


I’m interested in technology and how it can be exploited for good. There are loads of potential benefits, some which are obvious, and others which are yet to be identified. A few of the more obvious public service uses include:

  • Search and rescue
  • Policing – gathering evidence
  • Quickly assessing a potentially dangerous situation before sending people to the scene
  • Low cost ‘eye in the sky’ to monitor traffic congestion and problems like flooding
  • Low cost routine aerial imagery
  • They’re fun!

Drones are getting smaller, cheaper and faster. Some come with programming interfaces, so if you’ve got programming skills you can tailor them to do exactly what you want.


I’m worried that we might be entering a period when the skies fill up with tiny hi-tech drones. This could have all sorts of consequences which I don’t think we’ve thought through – if we’re not careful, this could be the beginning of a nightmare.

Right now you can buy a drone that will fit in the palm of your hand. How long before that reduces to the size of a mosquito? A few concerns that spring to mind include:

  • Privacy – no escape from prying eyes
  • Data protection – peering over your virtual shoulder as you type passwords
  • Personal safety – drones falling out of the sky
  • Danger to each other and other air traffic
  • Noise – individually not too noisy, but that could be said of the car
  • Pollution (think balloon release, but potentially much worse)

BlueLightCamp session pitch?

BlueLightCamp 2014Is it just me? Am I alone in having mixed opinions about drones?

I’d really like to hear what you think. Feel free to comment at the end of this post, or join the discussion in BlueLightCamp’s Google Group, or join us at BlueLightCamp on 10/11th May in Southampton – it’s free to attend and you can register here.

Picture credit

  • BlueLightCamp Logo and hashtag: Matt Buck of Drawnalism
Posted in blogging, BluelightCamp, Technology, Unconference | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Linking data across multiple organisations – Hampshire example

You may have seen Dan’s post about Hampshire’s Land Supply Phasing Open Data in which he mentions the Pilot Project for Linked Open Data.

Our land supply linked data features in this recent blog post by John Goodwin: Tell Me About Hampshire – Linking Government Data using SPARQL federation 2. In his post, John constructs and runs a SPARQL query across data produced by multiple organisations, including Open Data Communities (from the Department for Communities and Local Government), the Office for National Statistics, and Ordnance Survey.

Screenshot from Ordnance Survey’s SPARQL endpoint

In his query John asks

for all districts in Hampshire find me the index of multiple deprivation rank, the change order and operative date for that district, the website for the local authority of that district along with the addresses of parcels of land where it is planned to build new dwellings.

John explains the approach and also includes the full text of the SPARQL query which you can run yourself by copying and pasting the text in to Ordnance Survey’s SPARQL endpoint.

Having run the query, you can choose what format you’d like the data in. One of these is CSV, which can be opened by spreadsheet packages like Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice.

CSV – just one of the formats a SPARQL query can produce

Posted in Data, Data sharing, Data Visualisation, Land Supply, Open Data | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hampshire Hub featured on DATA.GOV.UK blog

Screenshot from’re pleased to see that news about Hampshire Hub is beginning to spread, with a post about the Hampshire Hub featured on DATA.GOV.UK , the UK’s main data sharing platform.

This is actually the second time the Hampshire Hub has got a mention on in recent weeks, as there was an earlier post, jointly written with the DCLG and LGA: Open Data: Make it Relevant, Make it Local, Make it together.


Posted in Collaboration, Data, Open Data | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Social Media flooding map

ESRI UK – the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) specialist – has produced a Social Media Flooding Map. This interactive map shows geolocated posts which have been shared on several social networks – Twitter, You Tube and Flickr.

Users are able to:

  • select their own base map ,
  • change how data is displayed (as points, clusters or heat map)
  • enter their own search terms
  • embed the map in their own web site (using iframe)
Posted in Data, Data Visualisation, Environment, Flood, Maps, Partnership Working, Social media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Futurology at UKGC14?


I’m writing this just a few days before UKGovCamp 2014, which is on Saturday 25th January 2014. If you’re going and haven’t already read UKGovcamp14: be prepared, do take a look, as it’s the practical info for attendees (including ARRIVE EARLYBRING COFFEE).


I’ve used ‘Futurology’ in the title of this post, which Finlo Rohrer summarised rather well in his 2010 BBC News Magazine article:

Futurology: The tricky art of knowing what will happen next


Living in the Future, written by Geoffrey Hoyle in 1972

Now, I don’t pretend to know what’s going to happen in the future, but I do try to keep an eye on the latest trends and innovations to see how they could be applied in the workplace.

Last week I started a thread on the #UKGC14 discussion board to see if it’s worth having a session on what public services might look like in 2020, or 2030. I also blogged about it.

I’m interested personally (as a geek), for my day job (Hampshire Hub, research and intelligence in localgov), and also wearing my BlueLightCamp / British APCO hats.

A couple of people have replied so far, including Jonathan Flowers, who shared several useful links: – Capita’s Four Futures for Local Government,  LGiU’s Future Town Hall, and Jonathan’s own extended contribution Councils in 2043 – the Next Thousand Words. Sadly, Jonathan can’t make it to UKGovCamp this year – we’ll miss him.


Sam Markey also suggested some scenarios to help think about the way things might develop:

economic – return to growth, stagnation/decline, or a new more sustainable direction;
political – collapse of mainstream representative democracy, continued half-hearted participation, or rise of popular new mainstream political movement (The Occupy Party led by Russell Brand MP?);
technological – ubiquitous networking, persistent governance through Internet of Things, or disintegration of the Internet into multiple fragmented systems in response to state surveillance.

Future tech

I like Sam’s suggestion, and for the remainder of this post I’m going to list some of the technologies which might play a part in the future workplace (or already do in some cases). Apologies in advance as I’ve thrown this together and it’s a mixture of links, facts and wild speculation.

This is only a subset of what’s happening, and I’ll have missed loads – please feel free to chip in with other stuff or correct me where I’ve got it wrong. I hope to follow-up with a ‘proper’ post after UKGC14.

In 1981, reading the news on your computer was itself, news.

3D printing and scanning

Big implications for transport and distribution (see printed- house video example), maintenance engineers (print your own parts when needed, instead of holding stock), also visitor attractions like museums and discovery centres for educational visits / tourists (print your own copy of an artifact). I blogged some more about 3D in the second part of this post.

QR codes

An advert by Lancashire County Council featuring a nice use of a QR code

An advert by Lancashire County Council featuring a nice use of a QR code

QR codes (and automated image recognition) or equivalent – to automatically recognise items (which may be visually very similar) – useful for maintenance engineers, field workers.

There’s been low take-up so far, but there are some great examples out there – see Lambeth example for planning applications. I reckon smartphones will begin to recognise QR codes automatically – so you won’t have to consciously load an app – which would really encourage take-up.

Many QR Code generators are free – a good example is QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project and Terence Eden’s blog is brimming with good advice on all things QR. Also an interesting post by Andy Mabbett: Talking about GLAM, Wikipedia and QRpedia in Amsterdam and Hamburg

Augmented reality

Great examples out there like the Layar App – enabling the user to ‘see’ additional information about physical objects. Experian also has the Mosaic UK app, which is pretty neat for showing common characteristics around a location).

There’s loads of potential for engineering and road maintenance projects like in this example video from Bentley Systems.

Intelligent document stores

Document stores (will) make it easy to create, record, gather, store different types of content and tag / categorise them (both automatically and manually). Evernote is one example I’ve used (e.g. take a photo, which is geolocated, stored and tagged automatically in the cloud; search text stored within the image, via a map, via tag etc).

Wearable technology

Loads happening on this at the moment e.g.: ‘Smart Contact Lenses Will Give You Superhuman Vision’. Also Google Glass and others like Memoto/Narrative Clip (lifeblogging camera with geolocation and searchable timeline).

I’m one of nearly three thousand people who backed Memoto as a Kickstarter project over a year ago. I was hoping to have it in time for UKGovCamp, but unfortunately it won’t be delivered in time.

Like lots of wearable technology, there’s lots of opportunities for good, but the implications for personal privacy are a little daunting. Hopefully I’ll have it in time for BlueLightCamp which should be in May/June this year (and will most probably be held in Hampshire).

I’m sure it won’t be very long before we lose the term ‘wearable technology’ as so many materials will be available that we’ll just have ‘intelligent clothing’ that can adapt to different circumstances. I read somewhere recently that there are already intelligent contact lenses – that was bound to happen, as not everyone likes wearing Glasses, Google or otherwise.

Machine to Machine

M2M and the Internet of Things: Smart sensors could greatly help with assisted living, monitoring and managing traffic flow, monitoring water levels in case of flooding, road surface temperatures for whether to grit etc – see the ZDNet article. Also a look at what Google is up to: Google Doesn’t Care About Your Thermostat. It Wants to Organize the Internet of Things.

Open Data

Lots to say about open data (another time) as I’m working on a data sharing / local information project which aims to create a common evidence-base for decision-making, with all data open by default.

By 2020 I’d expect national and local core reference data to be routinely available, with local data sets published to a common standard throughout the country. A few other data-related assumptions (or hopes):

  • Standard tools will be readily available to access data, together with applications that use the data.
  • Data that needs to be held securely will be held behind Firewalls (but in linked form).
  • Data will no longer be held in proprietary formats (thereby removing the ‘lock-in’ sometimes experienced with incumbent vendors)
  • All systems will be capable of producing open data as a natural byproduct of normal operations (thanks to a standard clause in all new procurements).
  • All data that can be published will routinely be made available as linked open data – lots of good examples already, including the DCLG’s Open Data Communities
  • Open data published by other organisations will provide context for organisations’ own data. Local Government e-Standards Body (LeGSB) doing great work on this
  • My earlier thoughts in Slideshare presentation for the Future of Open Data in the Public Sector event
  • Deloitte presentation on exploiting open data is worth a read
  • Public will increasingly ‘own’ and curate their own data (but it won’t be open data)
  • Organisations will rely on their own open data – see McKinsey report ‘Unlocking Innovation and Performance with liquid information
  • we’ll have completely forgotten the term ‘big data’, as it’s all just data (that said Big Data – massive, complex subject, itself worthy of a UKGC14 session)

The Future is social

There are signs that the decision-making landscape is changing radically, with new generations of leaders (political, community, and management) with very different expectations. Skype surgeries, Hangouts and online polls are becoming quite common and there will be much, much more of that sort of thing in future.

Business social networking is at last becoming commonplace and examples – both good and bad – are emerging.  Organisations agonise beforehand, and then are pleasantly surprised that the world doesn’t end when the social networking taps are turned on. By 2020 everyone will have forgotten what all the fuss was about.

Holographic technology

Holograms are already being used to provide standard ‘meet and greet’ services – see the BBC article Brent Council’s virtual receptioninst.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see holograms attending meetings in the future – it could make virtual meetings much more like physical meetings and – perhaps – one day, a customer service rep could ‘visit’ a member of the public in their own home for a ‘face-to-face’ meeting without any travel being involved

Strength in numbers

  • Open policy-making see the Civil Service beta
  • Staff confident and competent to act as brand ambassadors using a variety of social / digital tools.

  • Work contracts may be radically different: e.g. fewer salaried staff, and to include on-demand, perhaps as a “one-click” service, with payment done in the background.

  • Inductions will routinely include digital / social networking (guidance), as will personal development plans for all employees (including top management)

  • Councillors will be adept at using technology – it will no longer a differentiator

A GDS for Local Government?

Yes, of course.

At some point in the next few years the local equivalent of GOV.UK will handle all common transactions (report a…, request a… , where’s my nearest… etc). I can’t believe it won’t happen. Recent blogs about this include: an excellent and detailed post by Richard Copley, and responses by Carl Haggerty,  Simon Wakeman, and Jason Williams.

I’m one of many who blogged about it a couple of years ago. I don’t manage a localgov web site and don’t have detailed enough knowledge of the issues to make much of a contribution to the debate. I support the efficiency and consistency it would inevitably bring, but still worry that these are local services, and homogenous may not always be best.

Collaborative environments

Many of us already collaborate on projects together in real-time using tech like Google Drive as an enabler. Ironically, it’s not that common within the public sector workplace yet, but it’s only a matter of time before we are:

  • sharing objects, screens and other material in real-time

  • using integrated video / audio chat with recording and broadcast capability

  • sharing code and designs (Github good example for software development)

 Decision-making – time travel!

  • Evidence-based decision making (of course)

  • Factors (and supporting data) influencing decisions routinely captured at a point in time

  • Ability to “rewind time” to go back to the point at which a decision was taken and revisit assumptions – see the Guardian’s ‘Reading the Riots’ tool for an example of the concept:

  • Decisions linked with each other within the organisation, and also external agencies as they affect a particular place

  • Ability to add in other factors / the benefit of hindsight and ‘replay’

  • Extrapolation / forecasting based on a wide variety of factors (enabled through exploiting big data)

  • Tools to assess / forecast the likely impact of decisions on areas outside own responsibility – the “knock-on effect” or “real cost”

That’s it!

That’s it – I’ve run out of steam for this post. And I didn’t even get to mention a load of stuff I’d intended to. If I get a chance, I’ll write another post mentioning some of this lot:

  • What happens when the technology fails?!
  • Gamification
  • Apps
  • Power & wisdom of the crowd
  • Viral change & new media
  • Anticipatory computing
  • Smart virtual personal assistants (SVPAs)
  • Software as a service and personal cloud services
  • Micro location
  • Digital currencies
  • Quantified self

Picture Credits

  1. 2011: Living in the Future by Geoffrey Hoyle picture from James Mattisson’s blog
  2. Screenshot from The Guardian’s Reading the Riots interactive timeline
  3. Figurehead: By Twice25 & Rinina25 (Nostra foto) via Wikimedia Commons




Posted in Social Media, Technology, UKGC14, Unconference, weekly blog club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UKGovCamp – Looking Forward not Back

Hurray! It’s nearly time for UKGovCamp – the awesome unconference where people from across UK public services give up a day of their own time to share, challenge, innovate, network, and socialise.


This year’s event is on Saturday 25th January, at City Hall, in Southbank, London. It’s organised by: Jane O’Loughlin, Alex Blandford, Sarah Baskerville, Nick Halliday, James Cattell & Lizzy Bell. There’s a huge buzz around #UKGC14, and – like all the best gigs – tickets have been snapped up within minutes of being released.

To prepare for UKGC14, I’ve been looking back at some of last year’s output and thinking about what I’d like to pitch / take-away this time.

Looking back

I won’t say much about last year’s event, as I’ve already blogged about it here, and linked to lots of posts written by others.

I enjoyed watching last year’s session pitches again, but couldn’t help feeling that – nearly one year on – many of the issues remain.

There’s a worry-nerve nagging away at the back of my head that we’ll still be banging the same old drums in five or ten years.

Go on, snap out of it

Then, of course, I remind myself that – however well-motivated the participants – GovCamps are ‘only’ events. The challenges facing public services are huge, complex, persistent, and growing. There’s only so much you can do in a single day, and just one spark of an idea can result in a wildfire when the wind’s in the right direction. We just need effective ways of generating the sparks, and fanning the flames.

Looking Forward

My initial concern about same-old-drum-banging made me wonder what public services might look like in, say 2020, or 2030. Perhaps we can peer into an idealised future, create a picture, and then try to work out how to get there. If not that, then perhaps we should at least be reading the tea leaves and preparing accordingly. I submitted it as an idea for a session pitch on the UKGovCamp discussion board, and I’m including a version of it here as well:

What will public services look like in 2020, or 2030?

Some conversation-starters:

  • Digital by default…of course (that should probably say ‘by design’)
  • Will there still be a place for ‘place’ in future public service design (will there be physical places set aside for the public to access services ?)
  • Open by default? Data? (How about policy-making?)
  • Will the press release have finally died?
  • Common standards across all public services? (If you haven’t seen it, the Local Government e-Standards Body (LeGSB) is doing some brilliant work on this for localgov. And of course GDS has done a fabulous job for central government.)
  • Super-fast network everywhere. Really? (Absolutely everywhere?)
  • Who will be delivering services locally?
  • What will the future workplace look like?
  • Will extreme weather events have become ‘normal’?
  • Will the term localgov still be in use? If so, what will it look like?
  • How will ‘we’ be communicating with each other? (‘we’ being public, service-providers, journos, staff, councillors, partners etc)
  • Will there ever be a Local equivalent of GDS? (As discussed in 2012 and 2014)

That’s me done for this post – if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Comments and suggestions most welcome.

Photo credits

  1. David J Pearson on Flickr
  2. Alex Jackson on Flickr
  3. Featured image – UKGovCamp


Posted in Events, UKGC13, UKGC14, Unconference, weekly blog club | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Images of Historic Hampshire – thanks to the British Library

I’ve just discovered* that the British Library has uploaded over a million images to Flickr Commons.

Yes, that’s right – more than a million – completely free to use as there’s no known copyright. The British Library plans to launch a crowd-sourcing app in 2014, which will enable members of the public to help describe what the images portray. Ben O’Steen wrote a detailed post about it on the British Library blog here.

Hampshire’s Yesteryear

I’ve only had time for a quick look so far, but have already found a bunch which depict scenes from Hampshire’s past, some of which I’ve included here.

Drawing showing people and animals in the foreground with a large manor house in the background

Hursley Park


Drawing depicting two hunters and their dog in the foreground, with a pair of deer in the background

Stony Cross in the New Forest


Drawing of a street scene including people and animals

West Street in Fareham


Detailed drawing depicting sheep and a dog in the foreground, with horse, cart and people in the background and a river meandering in to the distance

Test Valley (or ‘Valley of the Test’ as it’s called here)

I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating to see what familiar places looked like hundreds of years ago. I’m going to look out for the British Library app and intend to do my bit to help.

* Postscript

I first became aware of this thanks to Matt Buck who runs Matt Buck Hack Cartoons Diary. Matt is the genius cartoonist behind tobiasgrubbe or, as he describes himself:

One of the many excellent cartoons by Matt Buck which wouldn’t look at all out of place in the British Library’s collection.

ENGRAVER to TOBIAS Grubbe – the C18th Gentl. of Word and Picture. I help him to publish his weekly OPINIONS on behalf of his PATRONS.


Image Credits

  • Hursley Park, Stony Cross, West Street in Fareham and  Valley of the Test all thanks to the British Library 
  • @tobiasgrubbe by Matt Buck
Posted in Hampshire, History, Open Data, weekly blog club | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Towards a Strategic Hampshire Hub

High level conceptual overview of the strategic Hampshire Hub

High level conceptual overview of the strategic Hampshire Hub

In an earlier post: Hampshire Hub – a responsive approach I talked a bit about the ‘interim’ Hampshire Hub, and explained what we’re doing with the current site. I mentioned the ‘strategic’ hub, but didn’t go in to much detail about what we’re intending to do in the longer term.

Strategic Hampshire Hub

I’m pleased to confirm that we’re moving forwards with the strategic hub, and we have just published the ‘Pre-Qualification Questionnaire’ (PQQ) and accompanying background information.

[gview file=””]

Formal Procurement

This is part of a formal procurement process, and sets out the main aims and requirements, enabling potential suppliers to establish if they want to bid for the contract. There’s a fixed amount of time for suppliers to respond – 3 weeks in this case – and it will be followed at a later date by a full Invitation to Tender (ITT).

I’m including the main documents in this post, but I’ve been asked to remind potential suppliers that you need to apply through the Procurement Portal by the deadline which is 5pm on Friday 13th December .


We now have a schedule which I’m including with this post – basically:

  • We hope to have the ITT published by the beginning of the calendar year
  • Suppliers will have one month to respond
  • We’ll then evaluate the bids
  • The Hub Partnership evaluation team will review proposals and Hub Partners will be invited to see product demonstrations.
  • All being well, we should be ready to finalise the new contract in March 2014, and will then begin implementation.

We’ll be doing as much preparation as we can up-front, to help us to ‘hit the road running’ once the paperwork has been finalised. In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to develop the interim site, but with a view to re-using as much as possible when the strategic hub is up-and-running.

[gview file=””]

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)

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Posted in Data, Data sharing, Data Visualisation, Hampshire Hub, Local Information System, Open Data, Partnership Working, Transparency and Decision Making | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Open data, apps and maps

This post was originally published on the prototype Hampshire Hub web site.

Open Data

A few weeks ago I blogged about Hampshire’s Rights of Way network, which has been published as an interactive map, and as open data.

The data was released under the OS Open Data Licence, which effectively means you can do what you like with it – including using it to build apps – as long as you acknowledge where you got the data from.


Several developers have done just that, and apps we’re aware of so far include:

  • FixMyPaths (web & Android, free) – lets you report problems you encounter on the rights of way network. 
  • Rowmaps (web, free) – type the name of a place and choose which map you’d like to display it on. Choices include Ordnance Survey, OpenStreetMap, Google, and Bing
  • Hampshire MapRoute (Android, paid for) – includes maps, route planning and points of interest

The County Council doesn’t officially endorse any of these, but it’s great to see open data actually being used! If you know of any other apps which use Hampshire’s open data, please let us know.

More open data

Rights of Way isn’t the only spatial (geographic) data which the council has released as open data. There are several others so far (and more on the way):

Data is available both as ESRI Shapefile and KML (Keyhole Markup Language).


I mentioned previously that we’re publishing a bunch of interactive web maps. We’ll be doing lots of work on this over the coming weeks and will be improving what’s already on the Hub Mapping Page, as well as adding examples, static maps, tutorials, and case studies.

There’s lots to say about maps and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – and we’ll talk some more about it in future posts – but in the meantime I thought you might be interested in a really simple way of viewing KML data in Google Maps:

Quick way to view KML data in Google Maps

  1. Open Google Maps
  2. Choose a file which has been published as KML and copy the link e.g. Hants’ Libraries KML (TIP: position the mouse over the link and right-click. With most browsers, you’ll see a pop-up menu with an option to copy the link address)
  3. Paste the link in to the Google Maps search window, and press search
  4. Voila! You should now see the data you selected on the Goggle Map – here are some examples using some of Hampshire’s KML open data:


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

School catchments

View Larger Map

Long distance routes

View Larger Map

Ordnance Survey and Open Data

Screen grab from Ordnance Survey's Linked Data Platform

Ordnance Survey’s Linked Data Platform

In order for us to publish these data sets as open data, we needed Ordnance Survey to give us exemption from the usual restrictions which apply to data that has been derived from their data. We are hoping that we’ll be able to publish more in due course.

Worthy of a blog post in its own right, Ordnance Survey’s own OS Open Data is well worth exploring. They have a wide range of digital mapping products and open data for downloading. There’s also some excellent work published on the Ordnance Survey Linked Data Platform.

Last, but by no means least, Geovation is doing lots of innovating with OS Open data.



  • * The only data set this method doesn’t seem to work for is Rights of Way – I think that’s because it’s a larger file size and has hit the import limit for Google Maps. But at least we’ve already published that as an interactive map
  • I discovered this method in an article written in 2011 on The Chronicle of Higher Education. At the time of writing – September 2013 – it appears to work fine, although there’s no guarantee that will always be the case.
  • Please read the Licence conditions for any data you decide to download and use
  • ‘Open data, apps and maps’ contains my personal opinions, and doesn’t represent the views of any organisation
  • Do you have any hints and tips you’d like to share about using and viewing open data? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, or through the contact form .
Posted in Hampshire, Linked Data, Open Data | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment