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Winter Updates from Belgium

Belgium has been quiet for a while, but that doesn’t mean less busy. In fact, we’ve been so busy that from time to time we forgot to communicate! We hope to solve this with this winter update.

Open Transport

We love transport data. Our Open Transport Working Group, iRail, has just netted a front-end engineering contract for SoLoMIDEM, a project to develop an identity manager. SoLoMIDEM stands for Social Location Mobile Identity Manager, and is part of an effort to integrate iRail and Viking Spots with Facebook, Twitter and so on. You’ll be able to use any of these services to let people know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how late your train is going to be. And if you have to wait for your train to arrive, you’ll be able to look up interesting spots near your location. Ultimately, the aim is to create a single service that acts as a proxy to all the other networks, so developers can just connect to one service.

Summer Of Code 2013

The iRail Summer of code (#iSoc13) is an event where students are hired during the first three weeks of July to work, as a summer job, on projects concerning mobility and/or open data. The location of iSoc is in Ghent, the natural habitat of most of our students and the place in Belgium where the most web innovation happens; furthermore, they all work in the same place, allowing cross-pollination between the projects. In order to finance these students, other organisations can sponsor the iRail NPO to work on a project of choice.

We are looking for project sponsors, project ideas, and student job applications. And if you want to help us organise it, that’s more than welcome as well! Anything can be mailed towards board at iRail.be.

Apps for Europe – help needed!

Another project that’s keeping us super-busy is the EU-funded “Apps for Europe”. The project is looking at how Apps events are designed and managed so as to maximise their impact and sustainability. As part of the project, we’re helping organise a whole load of Apps events, on a local, national and thematic basis. To make these work, we need you! Check out the websites and [get in touch](mailto: mathias@idrops.be) for more info!

We Open Data

We’ve launched an exciting new working group, called “We Open Data.” The group is for freelancers who have knowledge about open data tools (such as CKAN and The DataTank). They give consulting under the name We Open Data to local governments, ICT departments, and so on. The group has already notched up a couple of cool projects, including a tourism initiative for West Flanders, a job database for Flanders, and two local data portals, data.gent.be and opendata.antwerpen.be.

The group will also be working with iMinds on an important project for the Flemish government, developing an innovative open data platform that will ultimately be rolled out at all administrative levels. The project was announced by Innovation Minister Ingrid Liten, who said:

“A strong government is a transparent and efficient government. It shares its useful information with its citizens. Therefore I resolutely opt for open data as a principle for the government.”

And also…

  • The Belgian branch of Creative Commons was (re)launched on the 8th December at iMAL. We’re in the process of finalising our formalities with CC-HQ, should be officially up and running by February.
  • COngratulations to our friends at Ontoforce on their successful funding bid to develop their disQover tool, which powers our schoolKID app!
  • We’re really pleased to welcome two new colleagues, Michiel Vancoillie who joins us as a programmer, and Mathias Van Compernolle who’s going to be coordinating Apps For X.
  • We’ve moved! We have changed offices temporarily to the iMinds start-up garage, a lovely new home!

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