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Bristol’s open data broadcast around the world

b-open logoI was going to start this post with the words ‘In the wee small hours I was listening to the wireless and a man came on doing Stephen Hilton impressions’, but, after some consideration, thought better of it. 😉

This week’s broadcast of the BBC World Service’s Digital Planet programme featured reporter Tracey Logan in Bristol looking at Bristol City Council’s B-Open initiative to make the council’s data available to the local community.

Auntie’s piece started with the sound of wheels rattling on cobbles, a fine introduction to a great example of local use of open data from the council, in this instance the highways department. Up to the microphone steps Overlay Media to introduce us to Hills are Evil, which uses both council data & user feedback to help people in wheelchairs navigate round the city, avoid knackering obstacles such as cobbles and its numerous hills (like the notorious Vale Street, Totterdown. Ed) and still have some energy left at the end of day.

The B-Open initiative is managed for the council by Stephen Hilton. Tracey Logan asked him about the benefits to the council from giving data away. Stephen replied that the pluses for the council were the creative ideas that the use of open data inspired. Moreover, he stressed the council’s desire to support local digital and creative businesses, thus strengthening the local economy. Thus the city as a whole – and by association its council – gains by many multiples of what has been given away (aka the ‘freemium’ principle. Ed.).

The programme is available as an mp3 from the Digital Planet podcast page and is also on the iPlayer. The Bristol piece starts approx. 20:50 in.

In other Bristol City Council digital news, yesterday’s council budget debate webcast from the Count’s Louse attracted an audience of nearly 2,000 and there was lively discussion of the proceedings on Twitter too.


  1. Tweets that mention Bristol’s open data broadcast around the world | Bristol Wireless – community IT services, help and training in your aerial -- - February 23, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Taylor and, Peter Holt. Peter Holt said: was that @StephenHilton I heard on the radio? #BOpen #opendata #localgov (via @wood5y) […]