#DataMash with Defra

A big thank you to everyone who came along to the #DataMash at our Southampton head office. The data- and geography-themed unconference was a collaboration between OS and Defra, with around 150 attendees from across the Defra Group, alongside representatives from some of Defra data suppliers, data users, and IT providers.

Defra works with 33 organisations and 22,000 people (such as Environment Agency, Natural England, Rural Payments Agency, Animal and Plant Health, Forestry Commission) and a huge user of OS data as around 80% of the Defra group’s work has a geospatial element.

The overall theme of #DataMash was transformation towards being data driven, connecting geospatial data to government policy development and the implementation and monitoring of policy/citizen services

Day one’s agenda included a variety of sessions under the themes of: the framework Defra needs around data; innovating and enabling; and ‘you shared data, so what?’. We presented with Natural England on Natural Capital Setting a New Direction. We talked about how our greenspaces data and the Rural Payments Agency’s hedge data could be used as a monitoring indicator in the calculation of natural capital. Natural England then explained the methodology around natural capital and how it is calculated.  The benefits derived from natural resources include food, recreation and clean air and water. The aim of valuing these resources is to quantify better the cost of their degradation.

Day two dropped the agenda and embraced the unconference. The day was hosted by Daniel Hallam from the Marine Management Organisation and Andrew Newman from Defra’s Data Transformation Programme team. For those people new to an unconference there is no formal agenda – instead delegates who want to host a session give a 30 second pitch with the other delegates voting to agree to the session by a show of hands. Our CEO Nigel Clifford too part in a Q&A panel session chaired by Claire Edwards from Natural England to discuss how OS will be developing its role as part of the Public Sector data infrastructure and where the opportunities for collaboration are in the future.

A key theme emerging from the discussions centred around data ethics – it could be summarised as: ‘just because Defra (legally) can share, should they?’ Other topics tied into Defra Data Principles: for example; building and maintaining communities; providing some high-level guidance around data procurement and data sharing; and the importance of place and localism in making use of data.

To find out more about the exciting event, visit https://defradigital.blog.gov.uk/2017/06/13/datamash-thank-you/

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