Resource Page: Environment Agency Open Data and the Environment Agency Data Advisory Group (EADAG)
This is an unofficial webpage about Environment Agency open data and the work of the Environment Agency Data Advisory Group (EADAG).
I've put this page up to help people discover existing open data published by the Environment Agency, and to document efforts to unlock additional data.
(If you've arrived here by accident and are entirely new to the concept of open data, please see the Open Definition and this Open Data Institute guide.)
This page was last updated on 23/04/2016.
-- Owen Boswarva
This site provides metadata with links to most datasets released by EA under the Open Government Licence, as well as datasets available under other licences and unpublished datasets.
Spatial Data Catalogue
This site provides direct access to spatial datasets released by EA under the Open Government Licence and on other terms.
UK floods 2014 data
This is a themed collection of several datasets: flood warnings, river levels, the 3 day flood forecast, and groundwater levels.
Most of the datasets were originally released as open data in February 2014, for a Government-supported hackathon called FloodHack.
See also the related API and archives.
Bathing Water Quality Dataset
This is a list of Environment Agency datasets in the DGU catalogue (open and non-open).
National Dataset List
This is a longer list of Environment Agency data assets.
Information for Re-Use Register (IfRR)
This is an external catalogue of Environment Agency information assets that are available for re-use under licence. This includes open data as well as data that is licensed on more restrictive commercial terms.
Approval for Access (AfA) Register (for Internal Use)
This is an inventory of datasets that have been through EA's Approval for Access Process, whether approved for re-use or not. This document is intended for internal EA use and contains more detail than the public IfRR. Note that some of the links in the document won't work outside the EA network.
This copy was released to me on 19/09/2014 in response to a Freedom of Information request. (If you want to do anything with this document other than read it, please also look at EA's Standard Notice.)
This is an occasional newsletter produced by EA's data team. You can subscribe (free) to receive it.
Information Fair Trader Scheme re-accreditation report (June 2013) and Public Task Statement (August 2014)
Defra Open Data Strategy
This document provides a set of principles that will be applied by Defra and its arms length bodies (including the Environment Agency) to "embed transparency and the publishing of open data as part of its day-to-day business."
EA Data in Use on the Web
Some prominent examples of Environment Agency's data in use on the web:
What's in your backyard?
This is EA's venerable collection of interactive maps on a range of environmental themes. Many of the underlying datasets are not (yet) open data.
FloodAlerts and GaugeMap
These are Shoothill web applications based on EA datasets that are now open. FloodAlerts is also embedded on the EA website. Shoothill provides APIs for third-party developers who want to re-use this data.
Bathing Water Quality Dataset (explorer, widget designer and API)
Catchment Data Explorer
Both of the above are products of Defra linked data work.
The Environment Agency has a long-standing licensing operation that generates revenue from commercial re-use of information assets, mainly in the insurance and property sectors. In the past this has presented a barrier to open release of EA's most valuable datasets. There are other potential barriers that affect specific datasets, such as third-party intellectual property rights (IPR) and national security considerations.
EA is in the process of releasing all previously charged-for datasets as open data, in three tranches. Highlights so far include release of the Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea (RoFRS) / NaFRA dataset in December 2014, LiDAR data in February 2015, and most recently Flood Map for Planning, Recorded Flood Outlines and Historic Flood Map in April 2016.
Environment Agency Data Advisory Group (EADAG)
The Environment Agency has set up a user group to advise them on which data to prioritise for open release. The group is made up of external parties with an interest in EA data, including some current data customers and some with an open data background. The group also has input from Defra and the EA themselves.
The first meeting of the Environment Agency Data Advisory Group was held in London on 18 November 2014, with subsequent meetings on a quarterly basis. The most recent meeting was on 11 February 2016. The next meeting is scheduled for 31 May 2016.
Minutes and papers from the first five meetings are available via a blog. Terms of reference have not yet been published. Following is the list of current EADAG members:
Tom Smith (Chair), OCSI @_datasmith on Twitter Rod Plummer, Shoothill @ShoothillRod on Twitter Leigh Dodds, Open Data Institute @ldodds on Twitter Simon Wormersley, Yorkshire Water Robert Langford, Salford Council David Johnson, Rivers Trust James Sherwood-Rogers, COPSO @JamesS_R on Twitter Simon Waller, JBA Risk Management @SimonGWaller on Twitter Mark Fermor, ESI International @fermormark on Twitter Liz Scott, Emapsite @birdmaps on Twitter Jason Sawle, ESRI @GIS4Schools on Twitter Owen Boswarva, Independent User @owenboswarva on Twitter
Photo from the first EADAG meeting (source):Photo from the EADAG meeting in February 2016 (source):Related blog posts:
Near Real Time 'Flood Data' API (dataenvagency, 24/03/2015)
Statistics on take-up of Environment Agency's Floodline Warnings Direct service (Owen Boswarva, 08/03/2015)
How suitable is Environment Agency's flood data for iden's flood data for identifying individual properties at risk? (Owen Boswarva, 18/01/2015)
Environment Agency flood risk open data: some apps and info (Owen Boswarva, 09/01/2015)
Risk of Flooding from Rivers and the Sea (RoFRS) - new Environment Agency open data release (Owen Boswarva, 22/12/2015)
Environmental data surge "leads to market innovation" (UKAuthority, 19/12/2014)
Sharing our data on flooding (Miranda Kavanagh, 16/12/2014)
Environment Agency National Dataset List (Owen Boswarva, 01/12/2014)
Inaugural meeting of the Environment Agency's open-access Data Advisory Group (EADAG) (Louise Slater, 19/11/2014)
Helping us make the most of our information (Miranda Kavanagh, 17/11/2014)
Environment Agency Open Data: Issues and Priorities (Owen Boswarva, 14/11/2014)
Queries about Environment Agency datasets should go to either National Enquiries (firstname.lastname@example.org and @EnvAgency on Twitter) or EA's data team (email@example.com and @dataenvagency on Twitter).
If you want to make a formal request for release of Environment Agency data, my advice is to submit an access request under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations combined with a re-use request under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations. (It shouldn't make any difference which email address you use.)
EADAG has an email address (OpenData@environment-agency.gov.uk) that was published in an Acorn newsletter, so I guess it's public.
And I'm always happy to discuss EA data with anyone who wants an external perspective. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm on Twitter as @owenboswarva.