We were really pleased to hear yesterday that we were the winners of the Talis Award for Linked Data, one of the prizes in the Open Data Challenge, a Europe-wide competition run by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy.

The award was for the Linked Manchester (update 2013: now inactive), in particular our Linked Data version of the Greater Manchester bus timetable data.

It’s great to get some recognition of the efforts we put in to create a more accessible version of the ‘ATCO-CIF’ format data published on the DataGM site. But it’s important to realise that we were only able to do that because of the choice of Transport for Greater Manchester to release the data under an open licence and the work of DataGM to make this easily available. It was the MDDA-run Lovely Data transport hackday that inspired us to get on and do this.

What was particularly gratifying about this work was that it led to other developers creating a couple of great bus timetable apps on top of our data, GM Buses from Ben Gibbs and Nextbus from David Bamber.

And we’d like to acknowledge the contribution of one of our favourite graphic designers, Manchester based Mark Dormand. Mark donated his time to the project and is responsible for the site looking as pretty as it does.

The whole thing worked like linked open data is meant to. The data owner had the vision to make the data available under an open licence; we created a linked data version with APIs that made it easier to use and enriched it by connecting up to other linked data datasets (in this case the NaPTAN data from data.gov.uk); then app developers built useful tools for end users.

Of course it’s not quite that simple. Like many datasets, this one has the potential for going rapidly out of date. But we’re committed to maintaining it, so the apps that have been developed continue to be useful. We’re working on an automated process to pick up the weekly timetable updates from TfGM and re-run the conversion to RDF and data loading process. That should be ready in the next week or two.

Hopefully this will just be the start of useful Linked Data for Greater Manchester.

Keep up to date with our news by signing up to our newsletter.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end!
We'd love it if you shared this article.