Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
UrbanTide marks four years of Open Data Training in Ireland.

July 1, 2021


After four busy years of delivering open data training courses to Irish public sector bodies as part of Ireland’s Open Data Initiative, we look back on the key numbers and takeaways from the duration of the training contract with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER).

Under Ireland’s Open Data Initiative, the Open Data and Reuse of Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive and as set out in Ireland’s Open Data Strategy 2017-2022, public bodies are to identify and publish appropriate datasets as open data. 

By providing Open Data Training for public bodies in Ireland, UrbanTide gave access to an array of both in person and online training courses giving participants confidence and competence in the growing open data ecosystem and a 360-degree view of the open data world. 

The training courses were initially held face-to-face at various locations in Ireland but when the Covid-19 global pandemic hit in 2020, UrbanTide quickly adapted the content to online allowing all public sector staff, regardless of location, easy access to the training from their home offices.

The numbers:
  • 6 UrbanTide trainers
  • 7 different workshops
  • Countless slides
  • 1609 total participants
  • 591 classroom based participants
  • 1018 online based participants
  • 182 different public sector bodies
  • High satisfaction rate
Key takeaways:

At the end of the training, participants gained a better understanding and deeper insight into the various topics covered, including: the basics of open data, publishing data and the technical framework, data visualisation methods and tools available, anonymisation techniques and an understanding of linked data.

Participants were keen to try out the various tools, resources and implement some of the data management methods they learned about during the training.

Due to the pandemic, the course content was successfully updated to provide the courses via online training, meaning many more public sector employees were able to take part in the open data training courses.  For the trainees, location was no longer an issue, less time was needed away from their day-to-day jobs, and the cost to their organisation was either free of charge or significantly reduced.

While running the courses online was hugely successful, it was a little tricky to recreate the in-person discussions and the practical tasks which are hugely beneficial to staff and the trainers alike.  A mix of both in-person and online training offerings would be the gold standard going forward.

“Structured approach was excellent & the potential of the tools available for visualisation.”

“Good balance between presentations and discussions, the course moved at a good pace and very good examples were given.”

“Among other things, I now have a better understanding of standards, metadata and data audits.”

“Open data is a valuable way to get the word out about the work we carry out and how we can make stakeholders and public life easier.”

“It was useful to get practical examples of software tools and existing projects to draw inspiration from.”

“The course was excellent. The speakers were informative, it was pitched at the right level and the duration of the course was good.”

For future Open Data Training in Ireland contact the Open Data Unit at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.


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