What Does $3.2M Buy in Open Government?

The following guest post is by Travis Korte from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The Knight Foundation received hundreds of submissions to its “Knight News Challenge on Open Gov.,” a competition designed to create new tools to improve how citizens interact with government. The applicants noted a number of problems with government data: confusing […]

Prescribing Analytics: how drug data can save the NHS millions

Last week saw the launch of (covered in the Economist and elsewhere). At present it’s “just” a nice data visualisation of some interesting open data that show the NHS could potentially save millions from its drug budget. I say “just” because we’re in discussions with several NHS organizations about providing a richer, tailored, prescribing […]

Hurricane Sandy and open data

It is not an immediately obvious partnership, and yet open data and crisis response go together incredibly well. As storms have lashed the East coast of the US in recent days, causing tragic loss of life and enormous financial damage, many of the tools which have helped citizens to track its path and stay safe […]

Open Street Map has officially switched to ODbL – and celebrates with a picnic

Open Street Map is probably the best example of a successful, community driven open data project. The project was started by Steve Coast in 2004 in response to his frustration with the Ordnance Survey’s restrictive licensing conditions. Steve presented on some of his early ‘mapping parties’ – where a small handful of friends would walk […]

Montevideo: proud of our data

The following post is by Guillermo Moncecchi of Intendencia de Montevideo in Uruguay. Here, in Montevideo, we are proud of our data. The Intendencia de Montevideo drives the economic, social and cultural life of the city, producing data. Lots of data. The government has spent years developing its information services, almost all government processes produce […]

OpenCorporates: the Open Database of the Corporate World

This is a guest post by Chris Taggart, a member of OKFN’s open government working group and creator of OpenlyLocal, who today launched a new website OpenCorporates in collaboration with Rob McKinnon (a project they first demoed at the Open Government Data Camp in November). Why OpenCorporates? Like most open data/open source projects, it was […]

New mapping tool from European Fish Subsidy project

The folks over at Fish Subsidy (who are also behind the amazing Farm Subsidy project) have just released a new mapping tool to help people find out how €3.4 billion of European fisheries subsidies is spent: This is a great example of reusing European public data to make it easier to understand for citizens, journalists […]

Interview with Hugh McGuire, Founder of

Following is an interview with Hugh McGuire, Founder of the Librivox project and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on the Public Domain. Could you tell us a bit about the project and its background? Why did you start it? When? What was the need at the time? There were some philosophical reasons, […]

How to open up local data: notes from Warwickshire council

The following guest post is from Kate Sahota, one of the people involved in the Warwickshire County Council’s Open Data (which we we blogged about last month). How it all began It seems the key to triggering a successful open data project is to show the people that matter something shiny, like an iPhone, with […]

Warwickshire County Council launch new open data site!

Warwickshire County Council pinged us earlier this week to let us know about the launch of their new open data site! The site hosts a range of data sets – available in CVS or XML. For example there are details about education in the region, including: Number of pupils enrolled in Warwickshire schools by school […]

Libraries in Cologne open up bibliographic data!

The following press release is reproduced with permission from Adrian Pohl and Felix Ostrowski, who are both at the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center and who are both members of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data – launched earlier this month. We’ve added a koeln-library-data package to the bibliographic data group […]

Clear Climate Code, and Data

The following guest post is by David Jones who is, among other things, a curator of the climate data group on CKAN (the OKF’s open source registry of open data) and co-founder of Clear Climate Code (which we blogged about back in 2008). Clear Climate Code have been working on ccc-gistemp, a project to reimplement […] goes public – and its using CKAN! goes public today, and we’ve very proud that it is using CKAN, our open source registry of open data, to list official UK government datasets (as we announced in October): We’ve been working closely with the Cabinet Office team to get this out the door, and over 2500 datasets have been released via the […]

Open Street Map community responds to Haiti crisis

There has recently been a flurry of activity in the Open Street Map community to improve maps of Haiti to assist humanitarian aid organisations responding to the recent earthquake. In particular mappers and developers are scouring satellite images to identify collapsed and damaged buildings/bridges, spontaneous refugee camps, landslides, blocked roads and other damaged infrastructure – […]

The Open Knowledge Foundation is seeking an Editor for Open Text Book!

We are seeking an Editor for Open Text Book, one of the highest ranked sites on the web for finding textbooks that you can freely use, reuse and redistribute: This is a volunteer position requiring a one to two day a month commitment. If you are interested in contributing to the world of open […]

OpenFlights data released under Open Database License (ODbL)

OpenFlights is a site for “flight logging, mapping, stats and sharing”. We’re very pleased to hear they’ve just released their data under the Open Database License (ODbL): One of OpenFlights‘ most popular features is our dynamic airport and airline route mapping, and today, we’re proud to release the underlying data in an easy-to-use form, up […]

Fields of Gold: short film about open data on European farm subsidies

Farm Subsidy have recently released a short film called Fields of Gold: Lifting the Veil on Europe’s Farm Subsidies. The film tells the story of a campaign to open up data about where money from the Common Agricultural Policy goes – from national Freedom of Information requests from the likes of Jack Thurston and Nils […]

Where’s my nearest postbox? Open data for UK postbox locations

Where is your nearest postbox, and when is the post collected from it? Now you can get open data showing the locations and collection times of over 116,000 postboxes in the UK. You can browse relevant datasets on CKAN at: The story behind this data reads like an inverted version of The Little Red […] – a registry of open government data in Sweden is a registry of open government data in Sweden: is an initiative to highlight available public datasets in Sweden. It contains a commentable catalog of government datasets, their formats and usage restrictions. It makes a note of what percentage of the datasets are fully open – i.e. material that is free for anyone […]

Open Plaques: open data about UK heritage sites

Open Plaques is a project to find and document all the UK’s blue heritage plaques, which commemorate sites where famous events occurred, or with a connection to notable historical figures. There are currently over 1700 plaques, which can be browsed by area, by person, by role or by organisation. Though the project is currently in […]

Opening up local government data?

Openly Local is a recently launched “first draft of getting hold of and making accessible local government data in a consistent and useful form”. There is generally a lot of support for open data from central government in the UK – particularly from the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI), the Cabinet Office and with […]

Open dictionary databases: an overview

Open dictionaries are excellent examples of open knowledge projects. Whether monolingual or bilingual, and whether dealing with definitions, etymology, translation or pronounciation – they can often be large, collaborative undertakings. Dictionary databases have a wide variety of potential applications – from education and research to machine translation and integration with software applications and services. We’ve […]

US CIO Kundra Plans Site

I just saw this transcript of US CIO Kundra’s first conference call where he states: VK: One of the things we want to do is embark on launching which would democratize data and give data access to the public and based on that challenge whether it is citizens, NGOs the private sector to help […]

What can you do with Open Shakespeare?

We’ve recently updated Open Shakespeare. The project was started a while back as an open knowledge ‘exemplar project’ – i.e. as a simple ‘hello world’ type open knowledge package (for more on this see the FAQ). It aims to: Provide the complete works of Shakespeare, along with textual apparatus (introduction, notes) and tools (concordance, search […]

Clearer Climate Code

GISTEMP is a crucial open data set, because it contains the historical global temperature record. Not very important right now, but in the medium term absolutely vital for the continuing functioning of our society given the likelihood of adverse climate change. Stations that measure temperature naturally do so at specific points in space, and the […]

Open Bibliographic Data: The State of Play

Given the public role of libraries and the fact that bibliographic metadata (i.e. the material in library catalogues) doesn’t seem that exciting from a commercial point of view you might think that, of all the types of data out there, it would be bibliographic data that would be the most open. You might even think, […]

A Traffic Data Odyssey

Recently, partly as an experiment regarding access to government data, partly out of genuine interest in the material itself, I looked into getting hold of some UK traffic count data — useful for, among other things, doing traffic analysis which is key to much road planning and policy (see e.g. this work by R J […]

Pleiades: Lots of Ancient Geodata Released!

We’ve written about the pleiades project a couple of times before: Organized by the Ancient World Mapping Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A., Pleiades brings together a global community of scholars, students and enthusiasts to expand and enhance continually the information originally brought together by the Classical Atlas Project (1988-2000) […]

AMEE – an exemplary open service

The people behind AMEE, the ‘world’s energy meter’ (which we blogged about back in May), have been busy forging ahead into new areas of open service development. As well as ensuring AMEE conforms to the draft Open Service Definition (in short, open data plus open software) they’ve recently published a Memorandum of Understanding with terms […]

DBpedia 2.0

DBpedia recently released the new version of their dataset. The project aims to extract structured information from Wikipedia so that this can be queried like a database. On their blog they say: The renewed DBpedia dataset describes 1,950,000 “things”, including at least 80,000 persons, 70,000 places, 35,000 music albums, 12,000 films. It contains 657,000 links […]

The Open Library and Versioned Data

The Internet Archive has recently launched a beta version of The Open Library. A demo can be found here and the Open Library book can be read here. It is inspired by the idea of a “library that makes all the published works of humankind available to everyone in the world”. Initially it will consist […]

AMEE: The Open CO2 Emissions Platform

One of the highpoints of XTech last week was the presentation of Gavin Starks about AMEE (Avoiding Mass Extinction Engine). AMEE is a “a platform for collaboration on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency”. It combines together a whole bunch of CO2 emissions data (including data from the UK government) with modelling code and assumptions to […]

New Version (v0.4) of Open Economics Released

This is the fourth release of the Open Economics project and the first that has been deemed ‘worthy’ of a full release announcement. The Open Economics project provides data storage and visualization for economics data as well as associated web services and assorted modelling code. The project home page is: while the open economics […] — Opening up UK Planning Application Data

Back at the Civic Info forum in November Richard Pope presented his initial work on scraping planning application data from local council websites. This was a classic case where the original providers of the data did not make it available in an open form that was easy to use and reuse (it was often just […]

8.4 Million Grant to University of Manchester to Expand Semi-Open Data Repository

According to a press release yesterday the University of Manchester received a further 8.4 Million GBP of funding from the ESRC to continue and expand its MIMAS service which provides students and researchers with free access to social science data: The billions of data items managed by the School of Social Sciences and Manchester Information […]