A cityscape of Manchester at night.


Hello, my name's Tom.

I live in Leeds after seven years in Manchester and Birmingham and before that time in Paris, London, and East Yorkshire. I am Head of Data at Open Innovations (formerly The Open Data Institute Leeds) since 2014 and I am the CTO and a cofounder of The Data City since 2017.

In 2013 I started imactivate to make real objects digitally active. We quietly developed and maintained the Phonegap plugin for Moodstocks until they were acquired by Google in 2016. We worked with Neil Clark on the 2014 release of Rusty the Squeaky Robot, an augmented-reality physical book for children with real-time translations and human voices. Later we worked with Jenny Lee on the release of Material Alchemy. These products proved that augmented reality could create innovative products in this category.

We continued working on computer vision projects such as The Little Car Counter but mostly shifted to building apps, collecting data, and selling analysis based on this. We have specialisms in industrial structure and transport analysis and I've worked with the Open Innovations since it started to scale up this capability. In this role I hope that I have played a part in making Leeds one of the world's best cities for open data and open innovation.

I write for various publication and on this website about industrial strategy in the UK. Most pieces are categorised and available via the links in the header of this page.

I sell software I've written for Windows. My top-seller is the top-rated photo management app PhotoMaps. If you've ever checked your bin day in Leeds, Luton, Rotherham, or Fenland using an app, I wrote it. Our bin apps are now installed on over 150,000 phones and tablet in the UK. If you're one of the nearly ten thousand teachers being surveyed every day by the Teacher Tapp app, that was our work too.

My latest thing I'm doing is The Data City, a spin-out from Open Innovations by me, Paul, and Alex. We're using huge amounts of data to better understand economic development and the potential for innovation.

Before starting imactivate I completed a Ph.D in the Systems Biology of Malaria at the University of Leeds. MetNetMaker, my popular tool for manually building small metabolic networks, is still available on this site. I believe more and more that improving the usability of software in scientific research could help us achieve much more. One day I'd like to try that, but I am very wary of returning to a academia.

You can follow me on twitter at @thomasforth, StackOverflow, and GitHub. I even have a LinkedIn profile but please don't send me spam. Or check out some of the links above, at imactivate, or on the Open Innovations project page to see what I've been up to recently.


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A photo of Tom Forth's face. Hi, I'm Tom Forth. You can reach me at thomas.forth@gmail.com.. I'm the Head of Data at Open Innovations, the CTO and cofounder of The Data City, and the boss at imactivate. I live and work in Leeds, UK.