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Community & Business Groups

OpenActive Community Group

This group's mission is to discuss and prepare data and API specifications which facilitate the use of open and shared data relating to sport and physical activity. We have so far used http://www.openactive.io (along with https://github.com/openactive and Google Docs) to facilitate our work, supported by the Open Data Institute, and created an initial set of specifications within our open group of organisations. We would now like to progress our group to become a W3C CG, sharing our work with the wider community. The group will base its work on existing standards as much as possible, and re-use existing terms wherever appropriate. The group will seek consensus around, and support for, these specifications which may then be brought to an appropriate Working Group to advance a specification from draft to standard. The group will seek to coordinate as appropriate with the Web Schemas Task Force of the Semantic Web Interest Group and other relevant groups within the W3C.

Note: Community Groups are proposed and run by the community. Although W3C hosts these conversations, the groups do not necessarily represent the views of the W3C Membership or staff.

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Introducing the OpenActive Community Group

Welcome to the OpenActive Community Group! This post provides a short introduction to the group, covering its scope, initial roadmap and some notes on how to get involved.

Supported by Sport England, the Open Data Institute is collaborating with the sports sector to help activity providers produce openly available data on what, where and when physical activity sessions are happening. This data, which won’t include any personal information, will be open for anyone to access, use and share.

By making more data available, in consistent easy to use formats, we can support the creation of a new range of products and services. Ultimately we want more people to be more active.

To achieve this we need to create open specifications that describe how to publish and share data for reuse in the sector. We will be using this community group to co-ordinate that activity.

Why use a W3C community group?

Community groups are designed to promote innovation and allow anyone to contribute to the development of community specifications.

A W3C community group is the ideal place to co-ordinate this type of activity which benefits from an open, neutral environment that can bring together people from across a sector.

Community groups are open to everyone; are easy to start; and are supported by W3c collaboration tools. The W3C also provide a contributor agreement which is signed by all participants, ensuring that the outputs of the group remain open.

Please join the group to share your views. You will need to create a free W3C account in order to sign up, but you don’t need to be a member of the W3C to participate.

All of the detailed discussion and decisions will take place through the OpenActive mailing list. This gives everyone the opportunity to share their views and a public record of key decisions. This is an important aspect of building open standards.

We also plan to hold regular community hangouts to facilitate discussion and feedback. These will be advertised on the list and will also be open to everyone. We’ll also post status updates and news on the technical work on this blog.

What is the scope of the group’s activities?

In order to publish and share physical activity data we need to:

  1. Specify how to describe activities by agreeing on a basic model for events and how to describe them
  2. Define how to publish data for others to reuse, e.g. via APIs, standard data formats and mark-up embedded in web pages
  3. And, eventually, how to book activities so that people can sign-up to the events they’re interested in

The sports activity sector is very diverse. Data is held in large scale leisure management systems and also shared via individual websites, meetup groups, etc. We need to be working towards supporting the breadth of that community.

The specifications we create will build as far as possible on existing standards and technologies, e.g. Schema.org, etc.

What are our initial plans?

While some work has already gone into exploring how to publish activity data via an API, the group will initially focus on how to describe activities.

This will involve:

  • some investigation into existing standards and how they might support our goals
  • defining some use cases that capture the variety of ways in which activities are described
  • agreeing a basic data model for activities, e.g. drawing on Schema.org
  • describing how to publish data to this model, e.g. as part of the paged data exchange specification or as embedded markup
  • identifying some existing controlled vocabularies, e.g. lists of activities and ways to classify events (by age, fitness level, etc) that are already used in the sector
  • encouraging publishers and developers to share and use data in these formats to help validate the work

We aim to do this through an iterative, inclusive approach that will give as many organisations as possible an opportunity to contribute.

How can you get involved?

If you’d like to get involved, here’s some initial steps:

  1. Sign up to the group
  2. Send an email to introduce yourself on the mailing list
  3. Complete the Doodle poll and join our first community hangout in December
  4. Share pointers to other relevant work on the mailing list, this might be existing datasets, example data, APIs or controlled vocabularies that are relevant to our initial roadmap
  5. Provide feedback on our initial research and in particular, complete this survey to help us to learn more about how you structure data on activities and sessions
  6. Share this post with your colleagues or others who you think should be involved.

And, if you’re interested in other ways in which your organisation can get involved, then take a look at the OpenActive website and fill in the contact form.

Looking forward to working with you all!