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Getting active gets easy with open data

Finding easy ways to get active locally is essential to improving health and wellbeing – which is why we’re teaming up with technology experts to open the door to data and all the ways you can get active

01st November 2016

Woman using mobile phone

Finding the correct information at your fingertips can be one of main barriers to getting active. Much of the information about who, what, where and when is currently hidden away on old-fashioned websites, social media groups, PDFs or printed flyers.

Open to everyone

But over the next year, we will be working with the Open Data Institute (ODI) and the rest of the sports sector to make booking dance classes, finding tennis courts and taking part in physical activity sessions easier than ever.

We’ll be looking to improve and open up all the information about the physical activity and sporting opportunities available across England. One of the best things? This data, which doesn’t include any personal information, will be open for anyone to access, use and share.

Jeni Tennison, chief executive at the ODI said: ‘We all use apps and digital services to make the most of our down time: to find a good local restaurant, book cinema tickets, or to research our next holiday.

We all use digital services to make the most of our down time – but it can be far more difficult to identify ways of getting more active

Jeni Tennison

Chief Executive, Open Data Institute

"But it can be far more difficult to identify ways of getting more active. One reason is a lack of data to power online services like those we’ve come to expect for other activities.

“Over the coming months the ODI, Sport England and the physical activity community will come together to create new ways to find activities – engaging large and small organisations to publish their data for the first time.”

Our new collaboration will encourage innovators and start-ups to develop new products and services by unlocking the fuel that powers them: high quality, comprehensive data on where and when you can do sport and physical activity.

Keeping pace

This collaboration marks the start of a longer term cultural change for the sector in how it uses data to keep pace with the digital expectations of customers – which is why the ODI will be on hand to provide support and guidance to make publishing physical activity data as easy as possible.

While it is impossible to predict what these new services will look like, open data will make it easier to build the solutions to getting active and break down the barriers to sport and physical activity.

We want to make it as easy to book a badminton court as it is a hotel room – and open data is an essential part of that

Lisa O'Keefe

Director of Insight, Sport England

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight at Sport England, says: “With opportunities to go swimming described and advertised in more than 6,000 different ways, you can be left feeling it's easier to break the enigma code than navigate a pool timetable.

“But it doesn't have to be that way and the sports sector is ready and willing to change that. We want to make it as easy to book a badminton court as it is a hotel room, and open data is an essential part of that.”

If you'd like to know more about how your organisation can get involved in this new collaboration and its aim to get more people active with data, please click here.

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