We learned a huge amount from our first hack back in March, not least the mountains that need to be climbed to put open data at the heart of our city.

What followed over the last few months has been a whirlwind of conversation. It turns out making open data an everyday reality is a very hard job: Legal and procedural issues are unending, the political climate means funding is difficult and Bath’s size means resources are scarce.

In spite of it all, I’m delighted to say progress has been made!

And that’s down to you.

While cities like Bristol and Leeds enjoy resources we crave, we’ve still been able to make progress because of the currency you generated at the first hack. Those of you who came along did amazing things to bust down doors, build goodwill and inspire the people in suits that Bath’s developer community is up to the job when they’re have the right tools.

Simply put, Bath’s dev community turns up. That matters.

We remain a voluntary group so we’re taking short, very deliberate steps to get us where we want to be. Our broad aim for this year is to create a stable, interesting data repository and (hopefully) have the public see some live projects appear.

Here’s what’s happening and how you can be involved:

1. Drink beer and open our data store (7th August)

Yes, you read that right: We have a data store! Socrata have helped us set up a really very excellent repository for local data. It’s a great product that should make access to datasets a whole lot easier: Devs will love that almost everything can be an API, and your auntie will love that she can build and embed maps and visualisations with no specialist knowledge. It’s very democratic.

In true Bath: Hacked spirit, we want everybody to take ownership of this beast so we’re holding a data night on 7th August at 6.15pm at The Guild. As well as finishing the beer stash leftover from the last hack, you can also play with the store, add data, do your best to break it and enjoy an evening sharing ideas and plans for world domination with other devs.

Here’s a little video, it pretty well sums up what we’re trying to do:

2. Join our Meetup group pronto

We finally have a permanent home for you to book Hacked events and meet other awesome community-minded devs. We’re at meetup.com/Bath-Hacked

Two additional hacks are already planned for this year: A one day air quality hack in September plus Hacked 2.1: A 2-day hack in November as part of Bath Digital Festival.

Meetup will also form our main mailing list so please get on it to stay in touch.

3. Hassle Jon Poole

Our ever resourceful man-on-the-inside Jon Poole says B&NES are close to finishing a draft “Open Data Policy”. It sounds dull but it is in fact gold dust: This will remove huge barriers to data release and could quite possibly make Bath one of the most open cities in the UK. Good work people!

This is big. Keep the love going and the pressure on by tweeting something like this at all hours of the day.

4. Tell us if you shipped

Did you make something with open data yet? We’d like to know about it.

If you didn’t but would like to, please ask for help. We’d hate to see good ideas go sideways due to a lack of data, time, money or marketing. You’ve got a resourceful group in your corner.

Thanks again, and happy hacking.

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