Defra: 'Environment Agency laser mapping data has revealed lost Roman roads'

With the 2016 Open Data Awards just around the corner, we catch up with Tim Ashelford from Defra, finalist for the Publisher Award, about how they published over 10,000 open datasets in 12 months.

The Open Data Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in open data across the world. Hundreds of inspiring people and organisations have been nominated. The awards will be held on 1 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #OpenDataAwards for updates on the night.


Defra

@DefraGovUK null

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I work in the Data Programme at the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). My role is working with the business to make as much of our data open as possible and also help Defra make use of its data for better delivery and policy development. We have published over 10,000 open datasets in 12 months – over 40% of all UK government open data.

What first got you excited about open data?

Not having all the hassle and bureaucracy of dealing with data licensing was an immediate hook. More recently I’ve found the novel uses of our data really interesting and unexpected. Environment Agency laser mapping data has been used to discover lost Roman roads, for example.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The transformation we have started. To make the Defra Group an open and data-driven organisation is a massive challenge, both culturally and technically.

What kind of open data would you like to see more of?

Basically anything that isn’t personal and has been created at the taxpayer's expense. I'd like to see more environmental data and anything that could be combined with Defra Group data to give new insights. The possibilities are massive.

What are you most looking forward to about the ODI Summit and Awards?

Meeting new people and learning how open data is making the world a better place.

The awards will be held on 1 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #OpenDataAwards for updates on the night.