OpenActive celebrates publication of active data

The OpenActive community initiative is celebrating the publication of open data about opportunities available in England for people to get active.

OpenActive is stewarded by the Open Data Institute, supported by Sport England and formed of sport and physical activity organisations and individuals that ‘share a vision to help people get active by stimulating use and innovation with open data’.

Building upon grassroots efforts, the ODI and Sport England announced the OpenActive initiative in November 2016. The initiative set out to establish a community of organisations and individuals in the sector, working together with a shared goal to make data about sport and physical opportunities openly available, as ‘open opportunity data’. Open access to opportunity data will help innovators use the data to develop products and services that help people get active.

“At the ODI we’re extremely pleased by the early positive response from the sector. OpenActive Pioneer organisations have taken the lead in publishing open data about sport and physical activity opportunities,” said Open Data Institute CEO Jeni Tennison.

“This data is the foundation for the innovative services that will make a difference in people’s lives. 18 million adults in England struggle to maintain an active lifestyle, and the current piece meal discoverability of opportunities creates another hurdle in keeping them routinely engaged in keeping active

“This initiative requires the sector to look at the value of data differently – as a resource that is most valuable when more people can use it, with the common goal of helping people to get active.”

Over the next year the initiative is committed to build momentum. The ODI and OpenActive members will strive to embark on a new focus to stimulate demand and innovation with data through supporting innovators who want to use open opportunity data to solve a common challenge, begin to peer-mentor and support a group of emerging data leaders in the sector and further data standards development to evolve the data specification and introduce ways to make data more discoverable and bookable, amongst a range of other goals.

Director of insight at Sport England Lisa O’Keefe added: "We want to make it easier for people to get active, and helping them find out what activities are available in their local area is a key part of that. At the moment it isn’t as easy as it should be to find information. Much of it is tucked away in the dark corners of websites, on PDFs or printed flyers.

“The OpenActive initiative is helping to change that by opening up data about activities, such as timetables, locations and descriptions. Over the past nine months it has been fantastic to see open data published by large leisure operators, national governing bodies and other activity providers.

“I’m really excited by what the next year holds, as we focus on supporting innovative startups to use this data too. The more organisations that join OpenActive, the easier it will be for people to find and access physical activities and ultimately, get active."

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