Camden Council has launched Open Data Camden, a platform that aims to enable businesses, residents and community groups to get access to important information about the area.
"Open data is a key building block for Camden's digital journey. I am excited about the innovation opportunities that our open data platform will enable," Camden Council's interim CIO Omid Shiraji told V3.
The new platform features information on a range of Council-related activities, including parking bays, planning applications, housing stock and road accidents.
Other datasets include spending on contractors, housing repairs and 'assets of community value'. Residents and businesses can request specific datasets to be considered for inclusion on the platform in the future.
The software behind Open Data Camden is provided by Socrata, a US technology vendor. Its UK director claimed that "dozens of Camden Council datasets are updated every night automatically and immediately made available to the community and hundreds more are updated monthly or more regularly".
According to Councillor Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, technology and growth at the Council, the data made available by Open Data Camden has the potential to improve the everyday lives of local residents.
"We want to unlock this potential to improve public services, just as its driving value in the digital economy," he said.
Camden has used open data to create a new planning email alert system, and the addition of planning applications to its customer accounts.
It claimed that it was able to do this quickly and at a low cost because open data is easy for programmers to re-use. It added that these apps have contributed to a £200k saving to the planning service's budget by reducing the number of letters it sends to residents about planning applications.
As part of the launch, the Council today hosted an ‘open data challenge', in which coders, developers, designers, programmers and data enthusiasts work together to find new ways of using data for the benefit of Camden and its residents.
Sudip Trivedi, Camden Council's head of data & analytics, said: "We've had a fantastic response to the open data challenge and hope that it will be the first of many. We're excited to be working with the developer community to make a real difference for the residents, communities and businesses of Camden".
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