“Is this some sort of foreign language?” thinks me, when I first saw an invite drop into my twitter, email, rss or whatever (I forget to be honest). The invite was for an event that took place on 19th August at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth.
I knew the event would be well attended- from the events I have been to in the past, such esteemed local experts as Jon Bounds, Andy Mabbett, and Pete Ashton have all featured similar topic themes at local barcamp-type events, and they have provided very interesting and excellent subject matter along a similar theme.
All this technology has been a little bewildering for me to be honest previously (maybe because I’ve had a microphone in my face at the same time as listening to the lectures). Sometimes, maybe due to lack of concentration, I’ve been left thinking “what’s the point in all this mapping stuff?” Please forgive my ignorance- it was exactly that- ignorance.
However, the recent Data, Mashups and API’s event made it all drop into place for me. I had the chance to really concentrate hard on what all the (excellent) presenters were saying- and finally the penny dropped.
It’s about our right to have access to the info we request, and how new technology and web applications make the raw data available, for good use.
During the event, the question was raised about similar uses of raw data by extremist groups- but isn’t that what freedom of information and social responsibility is all about in this context? Give us the tools and let society decide how best to use them, I say.
At this stage, probably the most revealing and engaging panel was given by The Guardian (also sponsors of the event, thanks for the nom)- it’s great to see a respected national media publisher putting such API’s to really good use- did you know that all the website and info is all available as open source material? – That’s a WIN if ever I saw one- well done indeed.
So, the event came and went, my headspace was truly challenged, and I met some great people again.
I started thinking, how do I collate all I’ve learned, to apply it to future projects. I need not have worried. That fine chap, @ChrisUnitt has done all the hard work for us all, right here http://www.birminghamsmc.com/2009/08/20/round-up-from-data-mashups-and-apis/
Finally, I’d like to say a sincere thanks to Chris and Kate for pulling the whole event together, and also to Dave Harte, Michael Brunton-Spall, Matthew Sommerville and Paul Bradshaw for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational evening.