What is open data?

Open data is data that is available for anyone to access, use, and share.

Governments, businesses and individuals use open data to bring about positive social, economic and environmental change.

You may have benefitted from open data without even realising. It helps us to understand what MPs claim expenses for with tools like MPsExpenses.info. It powers apps like Citymapper that help us to navigate public transport more efficiently. It is even used to tackle crime through services like BikeChecker.

Data exists on a spectrum

Some people worry that ‘open data’ means sharing personal information, or commercially-sensitive information. It doesn’t. The Open Data Institute (ODI) created the Data Spectrum to help demystify the language of data. Ranging from closed to open, it shows examples of how to access and share data, and where it is appropriate to do so.

Whether state, commercial or personal, the important thing about data is how it is licensed.

Open data in the physical activity sector

In England, one in four of us do fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, while one in six deaths is caused by inactivity.

We know that one barrier that stops people getting active is how difficult it is to find information about and book activities online.

Publishing open data about where, when and what activities take place makes it easier for people to find and book activities online. Innovators can use this open data to build products and services that help people find the information they need to get active. It improves the customer experience, helps activity providers reach new audiences, and helps more people get active.

“People find it twice as easy to order takeaway food or book a holiday online than it is to book a sports facility or fitness class.”

Sport England/ComRes, 2019

OpenActive is a sector-wide initiative to support sports and physical activity organisations to publish and use open data.

Whether you run activities, help people find activities, or something in between, everyone has a role to play in OpenActive.

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Learn more about open data

Free e-learning course on open data

Learn how open data can create social and economic value for the sector.

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OpenActive data standards

What are OpenActive data standards and why do we need them?

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What is open opportunity data?

Open opportunity data includes information like what, where and when.

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Browse our webinar recordings

Watch past presentations that introduce OpenActive and how to get involved.

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