More links and things we’ve been up to: Care Data and some other stuff

Posted on 21st March 2014 by

The end of Stirchley Community Centre and some fab social reporting.

We’ve been working to get local volunteers and local officers sharing the changes around Stirchley Baths.  A couple of peopl we taught with out social media surgeries di some cracking social reporting of the last days of the Stirchley Community Centre (closed down because of a Tesco development and being moved to the Stirchley baths site when the work there is done:

Here a link with plenty of videos from Stirchley.   And here’s a video of the Stirchley Stitchers created by the brilliant Jess Allen – who’s natural social reporter.

Bishops Castle and Household Energy, homeless young people and women in Wolverhampton!

Steph has been all over this week – helping out some people starting a social enterprise in Bishops Castle – the Household Energy Service -  and also a group of women as part of the work we’ve been doing with Women of Wolverhampton.    Lloyd Davis has been an loved extension of Podnosh with our work with the Foyer Federation in Stratford,  East London.  Some young people in the E15 Foyer have started a site about life in East London (after a good discussion about ways to build stronger relationships with the local community and potential employers) – although we’ve still to crack the business of getting them publishing between out visits!.

Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery

We worked with fbec a good while a go to help them get a site set up which gave them control over what they could publish.  We also supported them with a number of sessions of one to one help to encourage them to share useful material and share it often.  Sometimes you look away and hope things stick.  I looked back today  and can see how often they’re publishing now – simple things like a notice for the AGM – or a report on a visit from the Lord Mayor.  I wonder if they’ll be bold enough to liveblog their AGM?

How much does it cost to look after people?

Lesley Curtis of the Personal Social services Research Unit in Kent has published this research on the Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2013>  Only available as a pdf – would be much more useful if the data were available as a spreadsheet.   Potentially useful for Paul Bradshaw’s Help Me Investigate Health.

Unit Cost of Health and Social Care 2013.

West Midlands Police Working With Hyperlocal Bloggers through Podnosh

Posted on 22nd October 2013 by

Lol being shown around the new West Midlands Police website by Digital Service Manager Stuart Davis

Working with the Community Safety Partnerships in Birmingham has allowed us to help partners start great conversations across the city.

In North Birmingham a whole host of police officers are now tweeting and community groups are starting to organise themselves online. In South Birmingham a whole spectrum of people from the Community Safety Partnership now blog & tweet to help inform their community of the things that matter to them.  In East Brum?  Well in East Brum we have Lol .

We’ve written about him before, but Lol Turstan is a  resident who loves where he lives so much he hasn’t waited for any of the local partners to get online, he ran with it himself and created B26 Community - A hyperlocal website for the community of Sheldon, where Lol can help spread the message from his Neighbourhood Watch group.

Lol has been working to forge partnerships locally to make the most of his site for the local residents, including strong links with his local police team.

I caught up with Sgt Hanif of Sheldon’s Neighbourhood Police team to find out what they thought of Lol and working with the B26 Community Blog;

“Lol is a very active, influential, member of Sheldon’s community, and already has vested interest in our area, so when we saw the opportunity for our team to attend the social media surgeries he was an obvious choice for us to take along. When it was first suggested to him he couldn’t dream of being involved – he was scared his age would be a barrier to understanding the technology.

But he went along with some of our officers and a few weeks later when I saw him next I was just, well WOW!  He’d set up a website and was doing everything he could to make it as useful as possible.

Every time we have a community meeting he brings handouts to promote the site and is always asking others to get involved. We’ve worked with Lol to share our messages and make other things happen in the area – but some credit has to go to our PCSO  Steve McGrath too.  He’s worked especially close to Lol to get things on the site.

Together they’ve coordinated local schemes like installing locks on residents sheds after a spate of break ins and and recruiting for the street and neighbourhood watch groups.

We forward everything to him not just police stuff but anything that’s relevant.  It gets it out there and it works because people tell me they’ve seen it on the site – and this level of communication was especially important to us after a murder in a local public house.”


“The day after the murder took place, because of the nature of the incident, we had to get a reassurance message to the effected communities as soon as possible, and while technically it happened in our neighbouring ward residents don’t recognise those boundaries we had to act fast.

There had been a shooting, and a possible case of mistaken identity and we wanted to help allay any rumours. I was informed at 11am and within 2 hours we’d got key members of the community  together at the station and gave them what information we could for them to share.. We had a time sensitive message to get across.   We wanted community we had gathered together  was to share that message with other people.

Lol used his website and the contacts he’s made there to circulate this for us. We know his distribution is vast so for us it’s a short cut to the community. An officer on the beat or any other member of the community by word of mouth may have only reached out to 20 people they bumped into – with Lol and B26 Communty we reached potentially hundreds in a short space of time.

Moving forwards, as his contact list builds we would like to work with Lol to use his website to spread other key messages – we can reach a much wider audience than before and as a result we have a better informed community – which means they can make safer choices for themselves.”

Direct Link to Local People

Hannah Fitzgerald, West Midlands Police East Birmingham Communications Officer had this to say about the usefulness of communicating through community websites;

“Having someone like Lol running a site like B26Community is really useful  for Sheldon and East Birmingham as a whole. There is no really localised press coverage in that area so he’s a direct link to the people there.

He’s hosted our live webchats for us on his site.  The last one we broadcast was around Anti Social Behaviour and as Sheldon Park has suffered from episodes of Anti Social Behaviour in the past it was good to be able to communicate directly with the community there.”

Richard Eccelstone, West Midlands Police Social Media Champion added;

“We used to promote our webchats on our Twitter and Facebook pages – but that would attract comments from the whole of the West Midlands even when we wanted to focus on a  specific area –  that would really dilute the conversation but by connecting to  local blogs we were able to use their audience to focus the talk and make it more relevant. This is true of B26 and other hyperlocal websites across the midlands.

We are looking to focus more of our communications on a local level and working with hyperlocal blogs such as B26Community is a fantastic way of doing this”

What’s great about the approach the police are taking to local communication is how effective it is. Our work with all the community safety partnerships has proven that talking with local people using the tools they understand improves communication right across the neighbourhood and in turn improves the perceptions of safety in those areas and helps make things happen. The video below is of Safer Places Office Austin Rodriguez, he’s talking about how using digital tools to communicate locally has benefited his area – evidence that partners working with the community – talking to them at a local level, works.


OpenStreetMap and a festival of #hyperlocal and global mapping in Birmingham

Posted on 2nd September 2013 by

I’ve just received this from Brian Pringle about this weekend’s – open streeet map event.  Birmingham will be hosting this global festival of the collaborative openly licensed map of the world.    It was back in Feb 2009 that we blogged about how Birmingham was the first city  in England  to be fully street mapped by the volunteers of Mappa Mercia.  Here’s the news release about this weekend:


“Hundreds of digital mappers from around the world will descend on Birmingham on Friday 6th September as OpenStreetMap brings its annual international State of the Map conference to Aston University for three days. Cartographers, mappers, software developers, outdoor sports enthusiasts, civic activists, governments and businesses with an interest in location-based data will be there.

So if you see lots of people in Birmingham over the weekend avidly photographing and taking notes, its just OpenStreetMap mappers using their spare time to improve the map of Birmingham.

OpenStreetMap is transforming the way maps are made and used. Collecting, editing and publishing geographical data with a global army of over 1.3 million volunteers creates maps with levels of detail unachievable by other means. Its data dynamically and constantly evolves — just as places do

The nine-year-old crowdsourced geodata project is powering mapping apps (Skobbler and, in places, Apple Maps), recommendation tools (Foursquare), sports watches (Leikr), classifieds (Craigslist) and property search engines (Nestoria).

Volunteers collect data that is of specific interest to their communities, which might not otherwise be collected. Mappers who edit the data have usually had personal interactions with a place or locale. They know locations intimately, making their contributions detailed, rich, and hyperlocal. This means more accurate, “fresh” maps for users and an enhanced experience which is critical for successful services. More and more startups and services are focused on providing hyperlocal  functionality and features, so hyperlocal data is a necessity. Only OpenStreetMap’s army of contributors can provide that. Traditional corporate map providers are painfully aware of this.

All of the data collected is published under an open license so anyone may use the data freely and for free. Because OpenStreetMap publishes data and not just a map, anyone can make a map to their own style highlighting whatever data they choose, and there are now hundreds in use across the world.

Local authorities are warming to OpenStreetMap: Warwickshire County Council will be showing delegates how they used OpenStreetMap for realtime publishing of their local election results. Delegates will also be hearing from the National Trust about how they’re using OpenStreetMap data.

Speakers from Ordnance Survey and IBM’s Smarter Cities project will address the conference on the  impact volunteer-collected map data is making.

Aid and development NGOs, including the World Bank, were quick to recognise the advantages of OpenStreetMap’s methods and now regularly request volunteer teams to build maps rapidly in areas of the world where humanitarian crises erupt. The Humanitarian OSM Team will be updating delegates on their latest projects in the poorer countries of the world.

“This is a golden opportunity for West Midlands and indeed UK software developers to meet the people changing the face of digital maps; and to investigate new lines of business in an increasingly mobile and information-hungry world” said Brian Prangle local organiser for State of the Map 2013.

For further information contact:

Henk Hoff henk.hoff@osmfoundation.org Skype: toffehoff  Phone: +31 6 4808 8925

Brian Prangle brian@mappa-mercia.org Phone: 0121 604 1141 Mobile  07811667653

Conference Co-ordination (live from 12 noon Thursday 5th September) 07742 011690

Background Information for Editors:

Conference commences at 0930 am Friday 6th September in the Main Building Aston University. Request press credentials at info@stateofthemap.org before 12 noon Thursday 5th September.

Full Conference Programme is here




Here’s a video link to a whole year of edits over the entire planet for 2012.

Watch live  updates to the map”