31 January 2020

The First GFN Shrewsbury Event: the Biodiversity Data Hack

Good for Nothing Shrewsbury ran its first event, Bringing Shropshire's Biodiversity Data to Life, on Saturday 25th January 2025.

The idea for the event was to bring together Shropshire biodiversity, technology and data experts, to work together on the following brief:

Shropshire has plenty of biodiversity data, but it’s in a multitude of different places/formats. It’s quite hard for the people of Shropshire, or people making decisions about Shropshire, to use the data in helpful ways. How can we make Shropshire’s biodiversity data more accessible?

We spend some time setting the context, talking about the particular challenges of working with biodiversity data in Shropshire. To find out more about Shropshire biodiversity data, look at the Shropshire Ecological Data Network website.

We also explained the intended way of working:

technologists at work

We then split into groups looking at three different streams of work:

1. Can we create a friendlier way of searching for the data?

This group discussed how providing context and intrepretation for data was at least, perhaps more, important than the data itself. The group came up with some initial ideas on how to make biodiversity data relevant to a wider audience.

2. Can we simplify the techie things behind the scene to make it work more simply?

We were very lucky to have Reuben Roberts from the National Biodiversity Network and this group spent their time working out how a Shropshire biodiversity website might use the NBN's API to retrieve data.

3. Do we know where we want to be in the long term with Shropshire biodiversity data

A select group of deep thinkers spent some time working on a theory of change for Shropshire's biodviersity data, focusing on what value biodiversity data might have for the financial and insurance sectors.

thinking about audiences

What did we learn?

What next?

The intention from here is to see which of the strands of work above could benefit from some more focussed Good for Nothing involvement.

If you want to be involved in future Good for Nothing events, either on biodiversity or other topics, then follow us on Twitter and sign up at https://www.goodfornothing.com/chapter/shrewsbury

If you know other people who you think might be interested in making Shropshire an even better place and solving some local challenges, encourage them to sign up too.

If you know of any venues who might be willing to host us, or businesses who might be willing to sponsor us, or charities or community groups who might want us to solve their challenges, get in touch via Twitter

With thanks to...