Open Data Maker Nights and Parties

Open Data Maker Nights and Parties are informal events focused on “making” with open data – whether that’s creating apps or insights. They aren’t a general meetup – if you come, expect to get pulled into actually building something, though we won’t force you!

The events usually have short introductory talks about specific projects and suggestions for things to work on. It’s also absolutely fine to turn up knowing nothing about data, coding or openness – people will be happy to share their knowledge and there’ll always be an activity for you to help with and someone to guide you in contributing!

Organize Your Own

We encourage community members to start their own - all you need is enthusiasm! Here’s a simple recipe (though feel free to run things differently).

1. Boot the Event (15 minutes)

  • Event page: create an event page (with signup)
    • Various options including Meetup, Facebook events, Eventbrite, an etherpad, Doodle …. Key thing is to make it very easy for people to sign up
    • Meetup option:
  • Add information: when, where, what, who (signup). You could copy and paste the outline above for the what.
  • [optional] Tell us about it so we can help advertise it and list it below

2. Before the Event (10-30 minutes)

  • Announce and invite: Announce to relevant email lists, twitter, facebook etc
    • You may want to specifically invite (direct email, DM …) some people e.g. if there is someone with an interesting project to share
  • Prep topics: prep at least one topic people could work on. Classic options are:
    • Visualize your Local Gov Finances with OpenSpending: great as people can get from a CSV to a viz within the 1-2h of the evening and there’s a step-by-step guide
    • A data expedition / investigation e.g. where is the highest level of unemployment in our country (see School of Data for more on how to organize these)
  • Scratchpad: Prep a scratchpad using etherpad or google doc (template coming soon)
    • Suggest creating an easy to remember link for this using or similar
    • Must be collaboratively editable

3. Running the Event

Again this is up to you but for a 2-3h evening event we can suggest a structure like:

  • Welcome [2-3m]: what is an “Open Data Maker event”. Key points:
    • About “making” (apps and insights) with open data
    • You don’t need to be a geek - insights as well as apps, plus you can come to learn
    • Give out wifi instructions ;-)
    • Give out link to scratchpad
  • Introductions [5m] (depends on number of people): 10-20 second introductions from people (very short - name etc). Ask people to put themselves down in scratchpad
  • Project Introductions [5-10m]: space for people to introduce their project or idea that they may work on that evening (keep these each to <2m)
  • Go! People start “making” usually in groups (people cluster around stuff they find interesting)
  • [Whilst this is going organize food if you have not done that in advance]
  • Wrap-up [15m]: at end of evening a quick wrap-up / report back and discussion of when to run next one

Want Help

If you want some suggestions or help just get in touch.

Previous Events

Get involved

Join our discussion list. Here, we exchange datasets and ideas and plan our projects.

Many of us also hang out on IRC. Check out: #okfn

Get Hacking

Check out the projects list or the ideas page.