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2013 – A great year for CKAN

Darwin Peltan - December 24, 2013 in CKAN

2013 has seen CKAN and the CKAN community go from strength to strength. Here are some of the highlights.

Screenshot from CKAN demo site

February

May

June

July

August

  • CKAN 2.1 released with new capabilities for managing bulk datasets amongst many other improvements

September

October

  • Substantial new version of CKAN’s geospatial extension, including pycsw and MapBox integration and revised and expanded docs.

November

  • Future City Glasgow launch open.glasgow.gov.uk prototype as part of their TSB funded Future Cities Demonstrator programme

December

Looking forward

The CKAN community is growing incredibly quickly so we’re looking forward to seeing what people do with CKAN in 2014.

So if your city, region or state hasn’t already done so, why not make 2014 the year that you launch your own CKAN powered open data portal?

Download CKAN or contact us if you need help getting started.

This post was cross posted from the CKAN blog

A report from the Ibrahim Governance Weekend

Mark Wainwright - December 13, 2013 in Events, Open Data Partnership For Development

Early last month I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation‘s annual governance weekend, including the celebrated Ibrahim Forum. The MIF, headed by the eponymous and irrepressible Mo, does amazing work promoting good governance in Africa. It’s perhaps best known for its incredibly comprehensive Governance Index.

Despite the terrible score of his native Somalia on his own Governance Index, Mo is much keener on celebrating all that is young and joyful and promising in Africa than telling dismal stories about its problems. Which is why the weekend began on a Friday evening in Addis Ababa stadium, with an exhibition football match between a local side and the continent’s most feared team, TP Mazembe from the DRC — the visitors easily winning 3-1 — followed by a pop concert.

[IMG: Kumi Naidoo speaking]
Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace speaking at the Ibrahim Forum

The more serious part of the weekend was a reception on Saturday evening, including a fun mixture of politics and music, and the forum itself on the Sunday with a series of high-quality panel discussions on directions for African development, governance, integration and security. This year’s meeting was in Addis Ababa, home of the African Union, to coincide with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AU’s founding (as the OAU) in 1963.

The MIF’s aim of good governance is, of course, very much aligned with the aims of the Open Knowledge Foundation. It was good to hear the importance of open data stressed by some of the speakers. Among others Trevor Manuel, minister in charge of the National Planning Commission in South Africa, made the point that the work of building stability must start with reliable, accessible statistics. The OKF will be increasing its involvement in the region through its involvement in the Open Data Partnership for Development, a partnership with the World Bank and the Open Data Institute to increase the amount and impact of Open Data in developing countries.

Though it was a flying visit, I did have time for a whistle-stop tour of Addis Ababa. In the National Museum of Ethiopia it was particularly exciting to see Lucy, the famous skeleton of a member of what may have been our earliest upright ancestor species, as well as the earliest known human remains. As H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission, said in her address, ‘Welcome home to Ethiopia – wherever in the world you are from, this is your home.’

Scoping Terms of Reference – Open Data Partnership For Development

Heather Leson - December 12, 2013 in Open Data Partnership For Development

What is the state of Open Data activities globally? Who is working on what and where? Where are opportunities to be fostered in the developing world?

The Open Data Partnership for Development is a partnership between The World Bank, Open Data Institute (ODI) and Open Knowledge Foundation. Initial funding of $1.25 million in the first year comes from The World Bank’s Development Grant Facility. We are actively seeking additional partners to join our efforts.

Update: The Open Data Partnership for Development Scoping Terms of Reference deadline has been changed to January 13, 2014.


Submit your Scoping Proposal today!

The ODP4D team seeks candidates to conduct a Scoping Terms of Reference. Help us get a current state Open Data Activity snapshot to guide our decisions for the Open Data Partnership for Development programmes. Proposals for a Scoping Analysis will address two objectives: (i) identify potential funders and the key delivery partners in the Open Data ecosystem, and (ii) map the existing efforts to support open data in developing countries and their status.

The Scoping Terms of Reference (tender) is open from today until January 14, 2014 17:00 GMT:

UPDATED: Open Data Partnership for Development: Scoping Terms of Reference

School of Data - Training Curriculum Sprint

School of Data – Training Curriculum Sprint

In the meantime, the ODP4D team is preparing training programmes for governments, civil society organizations and partners. This scoping exercise will inform all the programme outputs. We can’t wait to get started! Please contact us for more details.

See previous Open Data Partnership for Development posts:

The Public Domain “Class of 2014″

Adam Green - December 12, 2013 in Public Domain, Public Domain Review

This is a cross-post from The Public Domain Review, a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation.


Top Row (left to right): George Washington Carver; Sergei Rachmaninoff; Shaul Tchernichovsky
Middle Row (left to right): Sophie Taeuber-Arp; Nikola Tesla; Kostis Palamas; Max Wertheimer
Bottom Row (left to right): Simone Weil; Chaim Soutine; Fats Waller; Beatrix Potter



Pictured above is our top pick of people whose works will, on 1st January 2014, be entering the public domain in those countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.). As usual it’s an eclectic bunch who have assembled for our graduation photo – including two very different geniuses of the piano, a French mystic, the creator of Peter Rabbit, one of the 20th century’s most important inventors, a poet who penned the Olympic Hymn, and a man known as the “Black Leonardo” who pretty much single-handedly created the peanut industry. The unifying factor bringing them all together is that all died in the year of 1943, and so their works, in many places, will be given a new lease of life as they pass into the public domain.

Below is a little bit more about each of their lives (with each name linking through to their respective Wikipedia pages, from which each text has been based).



BEATRIX POTTER


Beatrix Potter (28th July 1866 – 22nd December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. As a young woman Potter developed a keen interest in drawing, in particular animals, real and imagined, and also insects, fossils, archaeological artefacts, and fungi – and would often fill letters to friends with illustrations. In September 1893, at the age of 27, Potter was on holiday in Perthshire and, running out of things to say in a letter to the ill son of her former governess, she told him a story about “four little rabbits whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.” It became one of the most famous children’s letters ever written and the basis of Potter’s future career as a writer-artist-storyteller. Eight years later Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-colour illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Co. It would be the first of a series of twenty three extremely popular “tales” involving the exploits of various anthropomorphised animals who lived in the English countryside. Potter was also a great conservationist and with the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, she purchased a whole series of farms in the lake District in order to preserve the unique hill country landscape. When she died on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, she left almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.


SERGEI RACHMANINOFF


Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1st April 1873 – 28th March 1943) was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a personal style notable for its song-like melodicism, expressiveness and his use of rich orchestral colors. The piano is featured prominently in Rachmaninoff’s compositional output, and through his own skills as a performer, helped by his enormous hands, he made huge steps in exploring the expressive possibilities of the instrument.


FATS WALLER


Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller (21st May 1904 – 15th December 1943) was an influential jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano, and whose best-known compositions, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame posthumously, in 1984 and 1999. Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. He was also a prolific songwriter and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Squeeze Me”. Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller “the black Horowitz”. Waller composed many novelty tunes in the 1920s and 1930s and sold them for relatively small sums. When the compositions became hits, other songwriters claimed them as their own. Many standards are alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller. In one now legendary story, Waller was kidnapped in Chicago leaving a performance in 1926. Four men bundled him into a car and took him to the Hawthorne Inn, owned by the mobster Al Capone. Waller was ordered inside the building, and found a party in full swing. Gun to his back, he was pushed towards a piano, and told to play. A terrified Waller realised he was the “surprise guest” at Capone’s birthday party. According to rumour, Waller played for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash from Capone and other party-goers as tips.


NIKOLA TESLA


Nikola Tesla (10th July 1856 – 7th January 1943) was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla as a consultant to help develop a power system using alternating current. Tesla is also known for his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs which included patented devices and theoretical work used in the invention of radio communication, for his X-ray experiments, and for his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. Tesla’s achievements and his abilities as a showman demonstrating his seemingly miraculous inventions made him world-famous and gained him a reputation as an archetypical “mad scientist”.


CHAIM SOUTINE


Chaïm Soutine (13th January 1893 – 9th August 1943) was a French painter of Belarusian Jewish origin who made a major contribution to the expressionist movement while living in Paris. Inspired by classic painting in the European tradition, exemplified by the works of Rembrandt, Chardin and Courbet, Soutine developed an individual style more concerned with shape, color, and texture over representation, which served as a bridge between more traditional approaches and the developing form of Abstract Expressionism. He once horrified his neighbours by keeping an animal carcass in his studio so that he could paint it (Carcass of Beef). The stench drove them to send for the police, whom Soutine promptly lectured on the relative importance of art over hygiene. There’s a story that Marc Chagall saw the blood from the carcass leak out onto the corridor outside Soutine’s room, and rushed out screaming, ‘Someone has killed Soutine.’ Soutine painted 10 works in this series, which have since become his most well-known. His carcass paintings were inspired by Rembrandt’s still life of the same subject, which he discovered while studying the Old Masters in the Louvre. In February 2006, the oil painting from this series called ‘Le Boeuf Écorché’ (1924) sold for a record £7.8 million ($13.8 million) to an anonymous buyer at a Christie’s auction held in London – after it was estimated to fetch £4.8 million.


SIMONE WEIL


Simone Weil (3rd February 1909 – 24th August 1943) was a French philosopher, Christian mystic, and political activist. Weil’s life was marked by an exceptional compassion for the suffering of others; at the age of six, for instance, she refused to eat sugar after she heard that soldiers fighting in World War I had to go without. After her graduation from formal education, Weil became a teacher. She taught intermittently throughout the 1930s, taking several breaks due to poor health and to devote herself to political activism, work that would see her assisting in the trade union movement, taking the side of the Republican faction in the Spanish Civil War, and spending more than a year working as a labourer, mostly in auto factories, so she could better understand the working class. Taking a path that was unusual among twentieth-century left-leaning intellectuals, she became more religious and inclined towards mysticism as her life progressed. Weil wrote throughout her life, though most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death. Although sometimes described as odd, humourless, and irritating, she inspired great affection in many of those who knew her. Albert Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times”. She died from tuberculosis during World War II, possibly exacerbated by malnutrition after refusing to eat more than the minimal rations that she believed were available to soldiers at the time.


MAX WERTHEIMER


Max Wertheimer (15th April 1880 – 12th October 1943) was a Prague-born psychologist who was, along with Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler, one of the three founders of Gestalt psychology: a theory of mind and brain which sees the brain as holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies. The principle maintains that the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts, suggesting the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Wertheimer is best known for his work Productive Thinking, as well as his idea of Phi Phenomenon, both important in the founding and development of Gestalt psychology.


SOPHIE TAEUBER_ARP


Sophie Taeuber-Arp (19th January 1889 – 13th January 1943) was a Swiss artist, painter, sculptor, and dancer. She is considered one of the most important artists of geometric abstraction of the 20th century, her textile and graphic works from around 1916 through the 1920s being among among the earliest examples of Constructivism, along with those of Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich. During this period, she was involved in the Zürich Dada movement, which centred on the Cabaret Voltaire, and she took part in Dada-inspired performances as a dancer, choreographer, and puppeteer. At the opening of the Galerie Dada in 1917, she danced to poetry by Hugo Ball wearing a shamanic mask by Marcel Janco. A year later, she was a co-signer of the Zurich Dada Manifesto. In the late 20s Taeuber-Arp moved with her husband, the Dada artist Jean Arp, to Paris. In the 30s, she became a member of the group Cercle et Carré, a standard-bearer of nonfigurative art, and its successor, the Abstraction-Création group; and in the late 1930s she founded a Constructivist review, Plastique (Plastic) in Paris. Her circle of friends included the artists Sonia Delaunay, Robert Delaunay, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miró, and Marcel Duchamp. In 1940, Taeuber-Arp and Arp fled Paris ahead of the Nazi occupation and moved to Grasse in Southern France, where they created an art colony with Sonia Delaunay and other artists. In 1943, during a visit to Switzerland, Taeuber-Arp died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning due to a malfunctioning stove.


GEORGE WASHINGTON-CARVER


George Washington Carver (by January 1864 – 5th January 1943), was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864. Carver’s reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin, and hundreds of more uses for soybeans and sweet potatoes. During the Reconstruction-era South, monoculture of cotton depleted the soil in many areas and in the early 20th century the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop, and planters and farm workers suffered. Carver’s work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop and was vital for the rejuvenation of the blighted region. He received numerous honours for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo”. Two years later he died after taking a fall: on his grave was written, He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.


SHAUL TCHERNICHOVSKY


Shaul Tchernichovsky (20th August 1875 – 14th October 1943) was a Russian-born Hebrew poet, considered one of the great poets of the Hebrew language. Born into a small village in the Crimea (now part of Ukraine), he published his first poems in Odessa where he studied from 1890 to 1892. From 1899 to 1906 he studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg, finishing his medical studies in Lausanne. From then on, he mingled his activities as a doctor with his activities as a poet. After completing his studies he returned to Ukraine to practice in Kharkov and in Kiev and then served in the First World War as an army doctor in Minsk and in Saint Petersburg. From 1925 to 1932 he was one of the editors of the newspaper Hatekufa and in 1931 immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine where he settled permanently. Besides being a poet, Tchernichovsky was known as an excellent translator. His translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey particularly earned recognition. He also translated Sophocles, Horace, Shakespeare, Molière, Pushkin, Goethe, Heine, Byron, Shelley, the Kalevala, the Gilgamesh Cycle, the Icelandic Edda, etc. He was also a friend of the distinguished Klausner family of Jerusalem, including the child who would grow up to become the novelist Amos Oz, to whom he was known as “Uncle Shaul.”


KOSTIS PALAMAS


Kostis Palamas (13th January 1859 – 27th February 1943) was a Greek poet who wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn. He was a central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School, or Second Athenian School) along with Georgios Drosinis, Nikos Kampas, Ioanis Polemis. He has been informally called the “national” poet of Greece and was closely associated with the struggle to rid Modern Greece of the “purist” language and with political liberalism. He dominated literary life for 30 or more years and greatly influenced the entire political-intellectual climate of his time. Romain Rolland considered him the greatest poet of Europe and he was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature but never received it. His most important poem, “The Twelve Lays of the Gypsy” (1907), is a poetical and philosophical journey. His “Gypsy” is a free-thinking, intellectual rebel, a Greek Gypsy in a post-classical, post-Byzantine Greek world, an explorer of work, love, art, country, history, religion and science, keenly aware of his roots and of the contradictions between his classical and Christian heritages.



And a few others that didn’t make it to the class photo….

Frida Uhl, Stephen Haggard, John Harvey Kellog , Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Stephen Vincent Benét, Oskar Schlemmer , Jovan Dučić , Geoffrey Shaw, Franz Oppenheimer, Max Reinhardt, Robert Antoine Pinchon,

Some people you think we’ve missed? Please let us know in the comments!



Class of 2014 for those countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term


There is also of course a Class of 2014 for those countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term – including Canada, many countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. Some might argue that they’ve got an even more impressive line up! Their list of all-star graduates include:

Robert Frost

Sylvia Plath

William Carlos Williams

Louis MacNeice

Jean Cocteau

C. S. Lewis

Aldous Huxley





To learn more about Public Domain Day visit publicdomainday.org. For more names whose works will be going into the public domain in 2014 see the Wikipedia page on 1943 deaths , 1963 deaths, and this great page dedicated to the public domain in 2014.

We also came across this great public domain advent calendar project (in French).

Wondering what published works will enter the public domain in the U.S.? …Nothing.

Wondering if “bad things happen to works when they enter the public domain”? Wonder no more.

(Learn more about the situation in the U.S. and why the public domain is important in this article in Huff Post Books and this from the Duke Law School’s Centre for the Study of the Public Domain).



Dispatch: Crisismappers Community needs Data Makers

Heather Leson - November 25, 2013 in Data Journalism, Events, Open Data and My Data, Open Data Partnership For Development, WG Open Government Data, Workshop

What does open data / open knowledge have to do with Crisismapping? Everything. In times of crisis, we live in open data / open government ecosystem. We seek, build and make it happen in real time – talk converts to action quickly.

On Tuesday, November 19th, the School of Data hosted a full day pre-conference training session as part of the International Conference of Crisis Mappers Conference (ICCM) in Nairobi, Kenya. The full event hosted over 110 attendees from around the world for a training offering with Knowledge/Research, Maps to Data and Mobile/Security. The Crisismappers community brings humanitarians, governmental staff, civil society practitioners, researchers, and technologists in a common, equal space. Participants work on projects ranging from human rights, anti-corruption, humanitarian response and economic development in post-conflict zones. The brilliance of cross-sector community focused on using data for their work highlights the importance that Open Knowledge Foundation as an member of the greater network. Building a global network of data makers is a one-by-one task. Our goal is to have leaders train their colleagues thus widening a circle of sharing and collaboration.

Some recent examples of our communities connecting include: Open Spending Tree Map by Donor: Foreign Aid Transparency – Faith (Philippines) and Early Results – Micromappers Yolanda (uses Crowdcrafting which was incubated at OKFN Labs).

Baking Soda with Crisis Mappers

Steve and School of Data

(Steve Kenei, Development Initiatives)

Data is just a word until we activate it. I like to call the School of Data the “Baking Soda” team. Together with key ingredients (community, problem/issue description, data sets and tool menus), they work with others to make data usable and actionable.

School of Data in session (School of Data session at ihub for ICCM)

The data track workshop sessions including using spreadsheets, cleaning data, data visualization and how to geocode. Some folks stayed in this track all day, even skipping breaks. The track started with a spreadsheet training delivered by Steve Kenei from Development Initiatives, continued with an Introduction to OpenRefine and an introduction to data visualization by Agnes Rube of Internews Kenya. The track was finished by School of Data mentor Ketty Adoch. The workshop was designed to address issues that civil society organizations have using data. One of the exciting results was the sheer concentration and intent of participants. They skipped breaks and even brought their own datasets to guide their learning.

Communities, Ideas connecting:

Ketty Adour, Fruits of Thought

Ketty Adour, Fruits of Thought

The ICCM conference, including pre-conference events, was jam packed week of maps, data, research and technology. Most of the ignite talks and panels referred to some stage of open data needs or the issues ranging from data ethics, data quality and data collection methodology. Ketty Adour – one of this years ICCM fellows – she shared her experiences on building a community mapping in Uganda using OpenStreetMap at Fruits of Thought.

Next Steps

During the self-organized sessions, together with Luis Capelo of UN OCHA , I hosted a discussion about Open Data Opportunities and Challenges. It was an exercise for the attendees to discuss Open Data and Crisismapping.

We determined a few concrete actions for the community:

  • A common data sharing space for Crisismappers interested in Humanitarian data.
  • A Crisismappers Open Data Working Group to help share impact and build momentum.
  • Training and a mentorship programs to help build skills and leadership in the field.

The Crisismappers community is over 5000 members strong with a mailing list, webinar and NING site. Do consider joining this vibrant community of maps and data makers who are at the edge of what it takes to unite policy with sheer determined actions. Also see our various Working Groups and the Open Data Partnership for Development programme.

Some additional resources:

The Global Open Data Initiative Needs Your Input

Guest - November 21, 2013 in Global Open Data Initiative, Our Work

This is a cross-post by Julia Keserü from the Sunlight Foundation, taken from both the Global Open Data Initiative blog and the Sunlight Foundation blog.

GODI organisations

Open Data has enormous unfulfilled promise to change how governments work and to empower citizenship. As more governments and issue experts discover new potential in the public release of data, civil society groups still need clear guidelines and mechanisms for cooperation.

The Global Open Data Initiative (GODI) is our attempt to more clearly outline the institutions, organizations, and policies that make up the global open data community and to help move forward. In serving as a global voice for open data, GODI hopes to act as a repository of information and evidence regarding open data policies and practices.

In order to do be able to do so, we now need your input. What are the challenges within your work with open data? What definitions and guidelines do you rely on to inform your work? Are there any resources that would be useful to your work but still missing? What are your experiences interacting with governments and funders about open data? What are your struggles that a global initiative might help resolve?

Please help us refine the next steps of the Global Open Data Initiative by filling out this short survey before November 29th.



Launching Spending Stories: How much is it really?

Anders Pedersen - November 21, 2013 in Data Journalism, Featured, Open Spending, Releases

spendingstories

Spending Stories is a new way to put spending figures in their proper perspective. Developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Journalism++ with funding from the Knight Foundation, Spending Stories is an app that helps citizens and journalists understand and compare amounts in stories from the news.

When we hear that the UK’s school meals programme costs £6 million, what does that really mean? It means, for one thing, that it costs about a fifth of the annual spending on the monarchy.

Spending Stories draws out comparisons between amounts of money, giving users a context in which to understand how money is being spent across society while referencing the original news stories.

Users can enter a figure into Spending Stories and get a scale visualisation showing how it compares with spending stories from the app’s database.

£700,000: scale visualisation

The app displays the big picture, and users can then click through to a card visualisation that shows how the amount relates to specific stories.

£700,000: card visualisation

Users can filter stories to only show amounts that relate to the user’s interests, for example aid or energy.

Filtering stories

If users find news stories of interest, they can contribute these to the database in three easy steps and share them.

Contribute new data

Due to the good availability of UK spending data in OpenSpending, this first release of Spending Stories focuses on the UK. Spending Stories is, however, an open source project and can easily be forked and translated into other languages.

We hope to help Spending Stories sites launch on their own and expand with new features and local news stories. At launch, we are already in touch with Open Knowledge Foundation Japan about the potential deployment of Spending Stories in Japanese.

If you would like to know more about the options for setting up a local Spending Stories site, get in touch.

Data Expedition: Investigate the Extractive Industries of Nigeria

Anders Pedersen - November 15, 2013 in School of Data, Transparency

UPDATE: there is now a dedicated page for the Nigeria Extractives Data Expedition here

Who operates the often poisonous wells in the Niger Delta? How does the money flow between the contractors running the oil fields and the government?

Join us for an online Data Expedition to Investigate the Extractive Industries of Nigeria, December 7, Noon-18:00 CET / Lagos (11:00-17:00 London, 8am-1pm New York).

Register for free

20131022-DSC_3409

The problem: Companies hide in plain sight

Data on the extractives industry is increasingly going public, from EITI‘s information about money flows from companies to governments to the UK’s decision to make its register of the beneficial owners of private companies public in the future. As more information about the oil, gas and mining industries makes it into the public domain, more people living in resource-rich countries have the potential to benefit. Information transparency can lead to greater public scrutiny of these industries that affect so many lives. Databases such as OpenCorporates are rapidly expanding and making companies involved in extractives and other industries easier to trace. Meanwhile, other data published in local media or tucked away in companies’ annual reports has seemingly been hiding in plain sight for years.

What are we going to do?

We want to begin cracking this data open and analysing it to facilitate investigations by journalists, organisations, activists and governments who all need to know how extractives impact people’s lives. In collaboration with OpenOil, School of Data will bring together those with an interest in learning to work with data to help tackle some of the biggest issues in the extractive industries today, with a focus on Nigeria. The Data Expedition will complement our recently launched Follow the Money network, which pushes for the transparency needed to help citizens around the world use information about public money to hold decision-makers to account.

What will you learn?

  • Network analysis: Investigate the corporate supply chain in Nigeria’s oil industry by using networks to see who is connected to whom
  • Corporate research: Cut through generic names like “Shell” and “Exxon” to identify the specific corporate vehicles responsible for activities in places such as the Niger Delta
  • Mapping: Work with maps of geo-coded oil spills, company license areas and other data to draw connections that might not be apparent in text-based media
  • Web-scraping: Find company data and establish leads for other investigations related to the oil industry by scraping the web

Announcing the Launch of The Public Domain Review Store

Adam Green - November 12, 2013 in Featured, Public Domain, Public Domain Review

We are very excited to announce the birth of The Public Domain Review Store! To help raise some much needed funds for the project we have made some things to sell, returning a few select gems from a pixel-based existence back into the world of real physical objects from whence they once came. As well as a variety of beautiful straight up prints, we have also designed some special Public Domain Review branded items through which you can profess your love and support of our project to the outside world. Because we have readers from all over the world, and sadly not the time nor resources to set up a merchandise empire, complete with stock-rooms and fleets of packing minions, we have – at least for now – set up a modest store through the print on demand service Zazzle. As well as these print on demand products, we also plan on working with designers and artists to make more “intimately” made objects – such as the wonderful analog GIF player from Officina K – so please do get in touch if you are interested in partnering up.

Visit the store here and start shopping!

decayeddag-poster-withURL-200dpi-SMALL

Open Data professional services now available on G-Cloud 4

Open Knowledge Foundation - November 8, 2013 in CKAN, Our Work, Services

We are pleased to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation are now an approved supplier on the G-Cloud 4 Services Framework.

This means that it’s now even easier for UK government organisations to commission the Open Knowledge Foundation.

We are offering a range of services via G-Cloud including setting up and deploying a CKAN open data portal – perfect if you want to start publishing open data quickly.

We can also offer technical consultancy and support if you need bespoke features developed for your open data portal.

Our full list of services available via G-Cloud 4 are:

If you have any questions or would like to work with us via G-Cloud please get in touch on services@okfn.org.

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