The Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Programme (GMDSP) is a collaboration between FutureEverything, the Connected Digital Economy Catapult and the Future Cities Catapult that is developing a programme of work seeking to overcome a number of challenges around the areas of capacity, support and dissemination in the coordinated release of Open Data.

The project will work with Manchester City CouncilSalford City Council and Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council to create resources and toolkits based on these open datasets. It will also develop horizontal peer support structures across local authorities, place data experts, known as ‘Code Fellows’, in the partner authorities and create a joint datastore for the hosting of linked data, as well as organise a series of coding and data events. These code fellows will help identify the data, analyse the data quality, methods of release and ultimately make the data available programmatically.The project will be later rolled out to further local authorities in a second phase.

FutureEverything festival week sees two GMDSP events taking place in Manchester city centre; a data dive hosted by Open Data Manchester on the evening of the Monday 24th March, and a 24 hour Coding Challenge over Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th March; both at TechHub Manchester. The coding challenge culminates with a joint £3500 prize fund being awarded for the best ideas. These events are a must for open data enthusiasts.

FutureEverything has been working in civic open data since May 2009. Its Open Data Cities programme created a focus for open data practice in Greater Manchester. From the programme was developed the Open Data Manchester community and DataGM – The Greater Manchester Datastore, as well as a number of national and European programmes looking at the opportunities and challenges that open data creates. A number of challenges were identified and it is to this end that GMDSP was created.

The Connected Digital Economy Catapult aims to ignite new digital innovation to power sustained economic growth in the UK. It builds platforms and capabilities on which innovators can innovate more quickly, so new digital products and services can be accelerated to market. CDEC is very much interested in how the innovation community can use the data released under the GMDSP to create new products that could have a positive long-term impact on the digital economy.

The Future Cities Catapult is a global centre of excellence on urban innovation. A place where cities, businesses and universities come together to develop solutions to the future needs of our cities.

They are two of seven catapults launched by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, with the aim of becoming leaders in innovation in their own specialist area.