Whither Minecraft NI?

From the British Geological Survey:

Inspired by the Ordnance Survey (OS), BGS has reproduced the 2D geology of mainland Great Britain and surrounding islands within the world of Minecraft. This map shows the OS map data on the surface and the rough position of real geology beneath, repeated down to the bedrock.

In reality the geology varies with depth, like cake layers, and BGS is working on representing the arrangement of the rocks and sediments in the form of a 3D geological model. Watch this space!

Which just highlights how Northern Ireland is “a place apart” within the UK.

The original, made by an Ordnance Survey intern, Joseph Braybrook, was a 4.3 GB representation of the island.

In the UK, the default is free and open

David Eaves writes:

Yesterday, the United Kingdom made an announcement that radically reformed how it will manage what will become the government’s most important asset in the 21st century: knowledge & information.

On the National Archives website, the UK Government made public its new license for managing software, documents and data created by the government. The document is both far reaching and forward looking. Indeed, I believe this policy may be the boldest and most progressive step taken by a government since the United States decided that documents created by the US government would directly enter the public domain and not be copyrighted.

In almost every aspect the license, the UK government will manage its  “intellectual property” by setting the default to be open and free.

That should read “in most of the UK” because there will be separate discussions held by the devolved departments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I’m happy to say that here in Northern Ireland we not only have some progressive thinkers in terms of the data but also in terms of government procurement of solutions taking advantage of that data.

Our local open data initiatives have been spearheaded by individuals in the DFP and DETI and Code4Pizza is the social working group taking advantage of the data.

Use of OpenData: Icelandic Earthquakes

The last slide in this animation notes that this visualisation was made possible using Open Data. Code4Pizza is the industry-led innovation community focused on Open Data in Northern Ireland.

This visualization shows earthquake activity leading up to eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull in South-Iceland in March and April 2010.
Each bubble represents a measured earthquake and the size of the bubble represents its magnitude. Deeper earthquakes are represented with darker colrs while shallow earthquakes are brighter. An earthquake slowly fades out as time passes. Yellow stars indicate eruptions

.

Earthquakes and Eruptions in Iceland 2010 from hjalli on Vimeo.

Source: FlowingData

And again I’m inspired to design a game.

Open Data

After not travelling long-distance for around 15 years, I found myself in San Francisco twice this year. San Francisco has many similarities to Belfast – a plethora of neighbourhoods, a strong history of civil rights activity and the majority of economic activity being firmly in the ‘S’ part of SME.

San Francisco also has an initiative to open City data such as crime statistics, restaurant health codes and municipal recycling information. This will be stored at DataSF.org. Northern Ireland’s equivalent is the recently launched OpenDataNI initiaitve.

These efforts are aimed at the citizen as well as the entrepreneur. There’s nothing stopping a smart developer/designer from building and marketing a service that uses open data in a new and interesting way. Whether that’s directing individuals to recycling spots around the city or mixing school and crime data together with a property rental service (something I’m guessing we’ll see coming out of Propertypal judging by some of their recent tweets – smart guys!)

We already have some innovators in this arena and Momentum / Digital Circle is working to foster additional development. I’ve been working to develop the already exciting iPhone development community in Northern Ireland. DevDays in April attracted 155 people and Refresh Belfast last Monday got 90 people through the door focusing on iPhone Design despite a literally last minute venue mishap due to double-booking.

Momentum / Digital Circle are launching a Mobile Application Challenge in the coming weeks. The premise is to get folk out there displaying some of the work they are doing in Mobile Applications (featuring but not limited to iPhone development) and getting them in front of potential investors and also a potential audience. By focusing on the areas of Consumer, Health & Wellbeing, Public Service Value and Enterprise, we’re showing off some of the excellent work that goes on behind closed doors or under license to other companies in other countries. We’re putting together a series of workshops – highlighting design, Connected Health, applications which use the Cellular network and assistance in protection and exploitation of intellectual property.

For open data the possibilities are still yet to be realised and the OpenDataNI staff would love to hear more suggestions on data sources which would benefit the general public. What have we, the public, paid for and yet we don’t have access to?