GLA: ‘Open data helps break down artificial administrative boundaries in cities’

With the 2015 Open Data Awards just around the corner, we catch up with Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director of the Greater London Authority Intelligence Unit, a finalist for the Open Data Publisher Award.

The Open Data Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in open data across the world. Hundreds of inspiring people and organisations have been nominated across five categories, from social impact to publishing.

The awards will be held on July 9 at Bloomberg’s London offices on Finsbury Square. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #ODIAwards for updates on the night.


Greater London Authority Data Store


Hi Andrew! How are you doing?

For a Monday morning, my spirits are high. Obviously because I have the ODI Awards to look forward to later this week.

What do you, or your organisation, do in a nutshell?

My team makes sure that the Mayor of London has all the data he needs to form strategies and policies in a world city. Part of our job is to run and develop the London Datastore into a world class open data platform.

What first got you excited about open data?

The possibility of using data to answer city problems and create things that make people’s lives easier.

What are your biggest data challenges?

Supply and culture. There is so much of the stuff in London, and making sure it is a) shared and then b) shared in a harmonised, interoperable and meaningful way is my biggest frustration. With more coordination and cooperation we have a much better chance to address issues which pay no attention to the artificial administrative boundaries which cross the city.

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

More of what I call ‘city data’ – from the water companies, the utilities, the electricity companies. These are becoming increasingly valuable because they are central to the city issues we face. So from a broad city resilience perspective, how do you use data to smooth the peaks and troughs of energy demand to become a more efficient city; and from a consumer perspective, how do you give people the proper means to change their consumption patterns and drive good deals with energy companies?

How do you feel about being nominated for an open data award?

Delighted. To win would lend considerable weight to our arguments and would help move the London City Data team more towards centre stage, which is where we want to be.

The Open Data Awards will be held on July 9 in partnership with Bloomberg at Bloomberg’s London offices on Finsbury Square.

Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #ODIAwards for updates on the night.