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Launching the Open Data Census 2012!

To take part in the Open Data Census 2012, please visit: http://opengovernmentdata.org/census/submit/.

As government officials, civil society leaders and open data experts gather in Brazil this week for the Open Government Partnership, it is clear that Open Government Data has become a major topic on a global scale. In September last year, 8 governments founded the Open Government Partnership. Little more than six months on, and a further 43 have signed-up and endorsed the Open Government Declaration already. The movement is big and it’s growing.

At the close of last year’s Open Government Data Camp, the Open Knowledge Foundation announced plans to launch an Open Data Census in 2012. Since then, preparations have been underway. And this week, to coincide with the Open Government Partnership meeting, the Open Data Census is going live!

What is the Open Data Census?

The Open Data Census 2012 is an attempt to monitor the current status of open data across the globe.

The primary focus of the Census is data. Policies are crucial, but as Chris Taggart’s analysis of corporate data demonstrates, actual practice can be very different. Focussing on data will also allow us to keep the census very concrete. Analysing policy or even law is a complex process; whether a dataset is ‘open’ or not is usually a clear yes or no answer.

In this Census, we are interested in the current status of data: is it open, is it accessible, can I use it now?

We hope to gather responses from every country in the world. To find out how to contribute on behalf of your country, read on below!

What will the Open Data Census look at?

In the first incarnation of the 2012 Census, we have decided to look only at ten specific datasets. We hope to expand this in future, and we welcome suggestions for new datasets to include (see below).

For each dataset, we will explore whether it is:

  • a) available in a digital form
  • b) machine-readable
  • c) publicly available, free of charge
  • d) openly licensed

A yes to all of these questions imply that the dataset is open data.

We are primarily seeking binary yes / no responses – but we have allowed a space for comments in case the situation is not clear cut.

The datasets have been chosen for their breadth and relevance. We have attempted to select data which most governments could reasonably be expected to collect. The ten datasets are:

  1. Election Results (national)
  2. Company Register
  3. National Map (Low resolution: 1:250,000 or better)
  4. Government Budget (high level – spending by sector)
  5. Government Budget (detailed – transactional level data)
  6. Legislation (laws and statutes)
  7. National Statistical Office Data (economic and demographic information)
  8. National Postcode/ZIP database
  9. Public Transport Timetables
  10. Environmental Data on major sources of pollutants (e.g. location, emissions)

It may be that some people have already begun collecting information in some of these areas. We’re keen not to duplicate efforts, so please do get in touch if you have information which is relevant.

So what next?

Our biggest challenge is to start gathering responses!

Take part in the Census

  • To take part in the Open Data Census 2012, please visit: http://opengovernmentdata.org/census/submit/
  • You should submit one census form per dataset per country.
  • You can see which countries and datasets have already been submitted at .
  • If you notice an error in a submitted form or are able to add more information, please submit a new census form for that country and dataset. Please highlight the correction in your comments.

Give us feedback for the future

  • We welcome all feedback on the Census. We also welcome suggestions for new datasets to include in future Censuses. Please email info[@]okfn.org with your comments
  • If you would like to become more involved with the Open Data Census 2012, please sign-up to the Open Government mailing list
  • The Open Government working group welcomes everyone with an interest in Open Government. See our website to find out more.

Watch this Space!

  • We hope to make the results of the Open Data Census 2012 available later this year. Keep an eye on the blog for more details!

  • http://eaves.ca David Eaves

    There is a spelling mistake in the list of data sets to be part of the census.

    “Enviornmental Data”

    should be

    “Environmental Data”

    • http://okfn.org/members/lauranewman/ Laura Newman

      Thanks David, good spot – this has now been corrected.

    • http://okfn.org/members/rgrp/ Rufus Pollock

      @David: thanks for the spot and would love to see some responses for Canada :-) as currently 0 according to: http://okfnlabs.org/opendatacensus/ — one thing we know for sure though is that the Postcode DB isn’t open ;-)

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