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The Open Data Census Challenge on Open Data Day 2013

On the recent Open Data Day we ran the Open Data Census Challenge. The challenge enlisted the help of participants around the world in digging up information on open data in their city and region and contributing it to the newly launched city section of the Open Data Census. The results have been impressive with information about data on more than 20 cities from Uruguay to Germany, US to Brazil. You can see the full results in the City Census dashboard.

Open Data Census challenge data mining in Berlin

Challenge Winner

Part of the challenge was to see which individual or group could dig up the most information.  Several groups and individuals across the world picked up the challenge and were hard at work throughout the Open Data Day – not only finding information for the census but also highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of open government data in their home region.

Many discovered that though open data may, in theory, be available, it is often hard to locate – and vary in size, accessibility and transparency. The census aims to map such facts and create a comparable overview of data in cities and countries across the world.

To give a few highlights:

  • In Amsterdam, a team not only researched the city but also the Netherlands as a whole.  The general conclusion was that the Netherlands scores reasonably well, but it turned out to be very time consuming to actually find the open datasets that were available. Moreover, the Dutch national dataportal data.overheid.nl was found not to have been very well used by civil servants and its search functionality could be improved substantially!

  • In Berlin the The School of Data experimented with what they call “Data Expeditions”, which are ways of learning about data by actively working with it and giving everyone a set role. Great teams have been forming in this format during recent events, and it worked particularly well this time as they picked up the Census Challenge – as people already had a good feel for what data was out there by the time they started. Subsequently lots of datasets were found and added to the census.

  • The Fond Otakara Motejla in Prague took a different and very interesting approach. Rather than organizing a physical event for Open Data Day they focused on a virtual campaign titled “We want open data”. The aims were to remind the Czech government of its commitments in Open Government Partnership and also to promote the notion of open data in general. Using the Census Challenge as a way to involve more people in the campaign, the organizers saw numerous instances of impromptu Census data mining take place during the day.

There were many more contributions from London, Shanghai, Montevideo, Palo Alto and many more. See the census for full details!

More Open Data Census challenge data mining in Berlin

And the Winner is!

Going through the submission registry we were not only overwhelmed by the total number of submissions (close to 100 datasets from across the world), but also with two groups in particular: Berlin and London, who sent in a significant part of the total number of submissions. The race was close, but in the end Berlin took the lead – and can therefore be announced winner of the Open Data Census Challenge on Open Data Day 2013. Congratulations!

All in all the Open Data Census Challenge proved to be a highly motivating and fun activity, and we were thrilled to see so many people take part. A huge thanks to all of you.

More about the Open Data Census

If you want to learn more about the Open Data Census in general you can either visit the official site or read this recent blog post that outlines the current status and future plans for the census.

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