24th November 2010

GeoVation on tour – Open Data Master Classes

Viv Alexander

GeoVation has been on tour, taking part in a series of free one-day Open Data Master Classes throughout November and into December at university venues. Organised by the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute and Centre for Geospatial Sciences at The University of Nottingham, the events are a funded partnership by the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, data.gov.uk and GeoVation.

Tour t-shirt

Tour t-shirt

Aimed at anyone with a working knowledge of web browsing and Microsoft Excel and interested in obtaining and using public information on a whole range of topics, the master classes were fully booked with 30 to 40 participants at each. The classes used computer facilities to combine theory and practical sessions with guest lectures by prominent people in the field of open data from government, academia and business!

Hot on the heels of the “How can Britain Feed Itself?” GeoVation Camp in London, Chris Parker and Ian Holt of the GeoVation team boarded an evening train ride to kick off the GeoVation tour supporting the Open Data Master Class (ODMC) on a wet and windy Monday in Newcastle on 8 November.

Next stop on the tour was the Open Data Master Class at University College London with Ian speaking to a full house and eager participants.  Ian chaired the next date at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Geospatial Science in the impressive Innovation Park, part of Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus. Again, another full house with some great suggestions from the participants on how to develop the programme further.

After a flight to Aberdeen Chris chaired the Aberdeen University ODMC session and Ian ran the practical session. The master class was attended by a team from Scottish TV amongst others, wanting to understand how best to use open data.

Ian ready to board the tour train!

Ian ready to board the tour train!

In order to make the next day’s tour stop at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Chris and Ian took the sleeper train from Aberdeen to London Euston. The event was kicked off with a welcome from RGS’ Head of Research and Education, Dr Catherine Souch and supported by RGS Director, Dr Rita Gardner. There were some lively questions but the overwhelming response was positive to the master classes, and to Ordnance Survey’s  OS OpenData, OS OpenSpace and GeoVation.

The final venue on the tour is the University of Southampton on 3 December.