The fruits of Media Sandbox

Run by Watershed in Bristol, Media Sandbox 2010 was set up to award a series of £10,000 commissions to stimulate innovation in public services and support research and development in innovative content, applications and experiences using open data.

The projects commissioned were not primarily charged with producing services or tools for audiences directly. From what I could gather, the main aim was to try out new ideas and provide people working in local government with tangible examples of creative ‘open data projects’. This aim was born from an acknowledgment that if we want local authorities and governing bodies to get behind open data projects, in the context of driving innovation in public services, a shift in culture is needed.

Here’s some more information about the three projects showcased at FutureEverything 2011.

Blossom Bristol by Mobile Pie

By far my favourite idea of the three projects, Blossom Bristol is a smart phone based game that invites people to plant virtual crops in different places across Bristol and watch as they flourish or fail, depending on environmental factors such as the city’s air quality, water quality, weather and temperature. Uniquely, the environmental factors in the game are driven by real data collected by the local council.

Blossom Bristol

Blossom Bristol

The player’s real-life activities also feed into their success in the game, with credits and rewards being offered when players choose to shop locally, at a Farmer’s Market or get involved in a local environment group. So playing the game encourages players to take notice of local environment conditions and discover markets and local campaign groups that help safeguard the local environment.

Find out more about the game | Follow Mobile Pie on twitter

Hills are evil by Overlay Media

In their project, Overlay Media explored how digital tools can help people with restricted mobility to find the best and easiest route between two places.

The ‘technical’ aim of Hills are evil was to produce a dynamic map overlay that could help wheelchair users, cyclists, skateboarders, the elderly and people with pushchairs, to identify the most appropriate route between two places. With Hills are evil, you can easily find and/or avoid hills because routes are determined based upon factors including gradients and surfaces.

Find out more about the project | Follow Overlay Media on twitter

I heart my city by Delib

I heart my city set out to create a map-based visualisation showing the correlation between historical council spending and quality of life metrics, to reveal in a personal and localised way, the good work the council does to improve the lives of residents’ in Bristol.

The team used a selected set of ‘Happiness Performance Indicators’ (HPIs) representing spending areas such as parks, greening initiatives, child care, sanitation and maintenance etc. The aim of the map-based visualisation was to translate the data into a format that could be navigated easily, communicate the information clearly and concisely to a wide range of users and create a model that would be easy to repeat for other organisations.

Originally intended to be publicly accessible, I heart my city is currently viewable only by the council. So, not really very open then.

Find out more about the project | Follow Delib on twitter

– claire_w – (follow me on twitter)

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