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The DataTank 4.0

Guest - December 5, 2013 in OKF Belgium, Open Data, Technical

This post was written by Pieter Colpaert, a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium Chapter.

The DataTank is open source software, just like CKAN, Drupal or Elastic Search, which you can use to transform a dataset into an HTTP API. Today (the 5th of December 2014), we are proud to launch the 4.0 version on which professional support will be provided. The project was started in 2008 by one of the founders of Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium. Today it remains mainly developed by OKFN Belgium, but we are welcoming new contributors from all over the world.

To get an idea of what The DataTank can do, check http://thedatatank.com or our demo server: http://demo.thedatatank.com.

With this new version of The DataTank, we hope that hackathon developers will have a tool to set up an API for their developers in no time, that start-ups will be able to combine different Open Datasets from all over the world in one Web service without trouble, that Open Data Portal developers are going to integrate The DataTank with CKAN, and that data owners are going to see a faster return on investment from publishing their data.

The platform is written in PHP using the Laravel framework. If this is a language you speak, feel free to dig in and fork us on github: http://github.com/tdt/core

Oh, did we mention it also publishes RDF where suitable? http://demo.thedatatank.com/api/dcat

If you want to use The DataTank at your organisation but you’re not a technical person, we can help you! Contact our team at info@thedatatank.com

Introducing the OKF French-speaking community!

pierre chrzanowski - June 3, 2013 in OKF Belgium, OKF France, OKF Switzerland, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

View the French version of this post here

It is estimated that around 900 million people are able to communicate in French in the world. All those people do not necessarily speak English, and a lot of them use French as their Lingua Franca. After a suggestion from the French local group, the Open Knowledge Foundation is pleased to introduce the new international community for French speakers, with the launch of a dedicated mailing list:

http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-francophone

This new linguistic community aims to help further the Open Knowledge Foundation mission, which is to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful.

Map of French-speaking countries

French speaking countries map | Credit : aaker, wikimedia, public domain

We hope this new communication channel will help to develop the Open Knowledge movement across French-speaking communities in Europe, Africa, America and the world over.

This list will can be used for, but is not restricted to, the discussion of things such as:

  • Open Data (legal and licensing issues, initiatives, Open Data Census, etc.);
  • Open Science and Open Access;
  • Open Government Partnership;
  • Translation work;
  • Projects and events;
  • Sharing of French-language resources.

We look forward to discussing your local or global activities with you, and sharing it with the French-speaking community.

Register with OKFN-Francophone

Global Community Stories #3

Zara Rahman - May 13, 2013 in Community Stories, Featured, OKF Australia, OKF Austria, OKF Belgium, OKF Brazil, OKF Greece, OKF Nepal, OKF Spain, OKF Switzerland, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

 

 

Open Data Maker Vienna - April 2013

For your delectation, we bring you the third installment of Global Community Stories – a round up of the fantastic projects and activities of our Local Groups across the world, including a Wikipedia Editathon for girls in Nepal, a multitude of events in Belgium, Big Data Week across Spain, a Swiss Government pilot project, a multicultural open data event in Edinburgh, and a tiny town in Austria taking the lead in releasing data sets – the race is on!

Following the incredibly kind donation of OpenBelgium.be to our Open Knowledge community by Wunderkraut, OKF Belgium is preparing to take on maintenance of the site and grow the community that they began. They’ve been busy developing other collaborations too; a meet up with Random Hacks of Kindness is coming up June 1-2, as well as developing appsforgeo.be. Their impressive upcoming events include a fully booked master class on Open Culture data, a presentation at the Flemish government to civil servants, as well as Apps for Flanders on June 14, and a General Assembly in June too. They’ve been keeping an eye on the public sphere too, and are organising a debate on new business models to allow financial sustainability through art following a lawsuit by the Belgian copyright organisation Sabam against ISP for not wanting to cooperate on copyright tax on internet subscriptions.

In Austria, the OKF community is supporting the fight for a freedom of information act…

 Together with other civil society initiatives, the Austrian Chapter of OKFN is supporting this movement by organising a series of workshops for all stakeholders on the upcoming freedom of information law, reaching out to civil servants, citizens and politicans. They’ll be providing an opportunity for every stakeholder group to discuss and define their point of view, empowering change-makers across the sphere to broaden their influence, and they’ll be looking to develop the debate around freedom of information in a similar way to which the topic of open data was discussed some years ago.

 One little village in Austria deserves a special mention – Engerwitzdorf, a town of only 8000 inhabitants, has released 116 data sets – more than the entire federal government of Austria! They’ve been honoured for their work by being nominated for the Document Freedom Award by the Free Software Foundation Europe – congratulations! OKF Austria will joining in the celebrations through organising Engerwitzdorf’s first OKF MeetUp.

In Switzerland, government data is being made more accessible…

In Switzerland, the OKF Swiss Chapter has been developing a pilot project called Open Government Data at the Confederation – or, OGD@ Federation for short. Through the project, a group of government agencies will be attempting to bundle their data together via an open source platform, and they’ll be presenting this on May 22. We’ll keep you updated with how it goes, and for readers in Switzerland, you can register here.

OKF Spain has been expanding rapidly…

..having reached 149 members on their mailing list and recently having organised a successful Big Data Week in Madrid and Barcelona! It doesn’t sound like they’re sitting on their laurels though, as they have another three day event coming up in Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Valladolid about data journalism which will include a hackathon, a barcamp and several workshops. They have an impressive line up of speakers too, including James Ball from the Guardian, Manuel Aristarán from the Knight Foundation, and OKF Central’s own Michael Bauer, so if you can, swing by!

They also undertook the invaluable task of translating into Spanish Laura’s blog post, “Open Knowledge: much more than Open Data” – which has now become “Conocimiento Abierto: Mucho más que Open Data.” This is a wonderful way of getting our message out to a whole new audience – thanks!

Laura’s post was also a hit with our OKF Greece Chapter, who kindly translated it into Greek. Translations of posts on the okfn.org into any language at all are very much welcome; if you do any translations, please do let us know so we can publicise it too, and we very much appreciate your efforts!

OKF Greece have also been busy organising an #OpenHealth event, and also took part in a Wikimedia workshop together with the Greek Wikipedia community. They recently completed the incredibly useful task of translating the Open Spending handbook into Greek, and you can now find the OKF Greece group on Facebook, too!

In Scotland, Germans and Brits came together…

Last week, the University of Edinburgh hosted the wonderfully multicultural event of German-British Open Data event. Scholarship holders from the Foundation of German Business came together for the weekend of talks, under the title “Open Data — Better Society?” and you can find a great round up of the talks and conclusions on the OKF Scotland blog.

OKF Nepal have been focusing on getting girls into ICT…

OKF Nepal recently teamed up with Wikipedia Nepal to organise a Wikipedia Editathon, which took place on the International Day of Girls in ICT. A truly great initiative, addressing a key issue facing the tech movement. OKFN Nepal’s Prakash Neupane also took to the stage to explain about the Open Knowledge Foundation’s mission, and from the photos it looks like all involved had a wonderful time. We look forward to hearing from the next event!

Congratulations all, for some incredible activities from across the globe!

(and keep an eye out for some exciting upcoming events- OKF Brazil are organising an event on Open Science at the beginning of June, and OKF Australia are organising a Beautiful Data GovHack at the end of May !)

Global Community Stories #2: Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Nepal, Iceland and Belgium

Christian Villum - April 10, 2013 in Community Stories, Featured, OKF Belgium, OKF Brazil, OKF China, OKF Czech Republic, OKF France, OKF Greece, OKF Iceland, OKF Nepal, OKF Spain, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

 

We continue our new monthly digest showcasing initiatives from our local communities across the globe, this time proudly featuring Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Nepal, Iceland and Belgium.

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s many (30+!) Local Group communities stand behind a myriad of different activities every month. As you may also have read in our first edition of the Global Community Stories, this is our monthly wrap-up of some of the most interesting actions and initiatives happening around the world among our colleagues.

In Brazil, volunteers gather around food facts and Data Journalism Handbook translations…

In Brazil, the OKFN Brasil community has been engaging the the Open Government Partnership activities, reporting on civil society participation and urging the government for more open participation. The community has also begun to get involved in the Open Food Facts project, which attracted a bit of press attention.
An initiative led by Ação Educativa has also started a working group to analyse open data around Brazilian education, with support from the local OKFN group. Ale Abdo, from OKFN Brasil advisory board, has published a guide on how to publish your thesis in LaTeX or ODT with an open license, and an effort to map the timings of lights at pedestrian crossings has begun. On the blog, Natália Mazote voiced interesting reflections on the participation of women in coding, and Thiago Rondon, also from the advisory board, discussed the importance of open hardware. Finally, an association of investigative journalists in Brazil, Abraji, has gathered volunteers to translate the Data Journalism Handbook to Portuguese!

In Spain, conferences and hackathons take shape…

In Spain the local OKFN Local Group are organizing the First Conference of Data Journalism and Open Data in Spain, titled: “When data tell stories”, from 24 to 26 May 2013. The event will take place simultaneously in Barcelona (CCCB + School of Communication Blaquerna) and Madrid (MediaLab Prado). Furthermore, they are planning a weekend Hackathon in the near future, which will hopefully take place in Madrid, Seville and Valladolid. There will be prizes for the best Data Journalism projects arising from this challenge within 48 hours – we’ll keep you updated as things develop.

In Belgium, apps are made and competitions are spreading…

In collaboration with the City of Ghent, iMinds, Ghent Web Valley and Ghent living lab, OKFN Belgium organized Apps for Ghent for the third time as part of an effort for citizens of the city of Ghent to show that Open Government Data can make the life of citizens easier, better or more fun. This edition welcomed 15 teams that worked on concepts from a smarter government service, to participation and sustainable energy. The local jury awarded Sumocoders with the first prize for “how busy is it now”, a tool that analyses different data sources to estimate which squares are too crowded. Congrats!

It is worth noting that Apps for Ghent is not the only Apps for X event initiated by OKFN Belgium. Soon there will be Apps for VDAB, Apps for Flanders, Apps for Geo, Apps for Culture and many more. A full list can be found in their calendar.

In Nepal, the newly founded group hosted first event and collaborated with fellow organizations…

The newly incubated OKFN Local Group in Nepal held its first public event on Document Freedom Day, coorganized with OSAC, Central Department of Library Science & Informatics and FOSS Nepal. They also collaborated with Wikimedia Nepal to create WikiWistar, a wiki outreach program. Finally, they translated the Panton Principles (soon to be published) and they were invited to present Open Tourism at a conference organized by ANNFSU P.U. Valley Bagmati Zome Coordination Committee.

In the Czech Republic, data enthusiasts and data journalists gathered…

The fifth meetup of Czech open data enthusiasts was held in Brno on 22 March. More than 40 people from various backgrounds gathered to share their ideas and discuss their work. On 25 March, Otakar Motejl Fund together with National Technical Library organised a hands-on data driven journalism workshop. It turned into a very pleasant and inspiring event and the participants (journalists, students, watchdog activists) learned quite a bit about structuring, cleaning a visualizing data. Check out the photos from the meetup.

In Iceland, CKAN was translated and a new government data license developed…

Another one of the brand new Local Groups, Iceland, has been busy completing the translation of CKAN 2.0. The Finnish ambassador Finnur Magnusson is also heading a workgroup within the Ministry of Finance to launch the instance as a part of www.Island.is  (hopefully next week). Additionally, the Iceland group have the first version of an approved open data gov license based on the UK one. This is the first government open data license in Iceland (details in Icelandic). The workgroup has followed the Open Data Handbook to the T with great success: 3 months from start to finish for open spending data in a CKAN instance with an open gov license.

And in other shorter news…

The Netherlands had a Linked Open Data meetup in Amsterdam, where also Sander van der Waal and Christian Villum from OKF Central took part with a presentation. Austria succesfully organized the ambitious bi-continental Urban Data Challenge that bridged Geneva, Zürich and San Francisco in an event that seeked to harvest the innovative and creative power of communities around the world to explore urban data sets through visualization – and did so with huge success (we’ll report more in a separate blog post). They also got a mention in Wired magazineOKFN Greece co-organized opnHealth this week, an event that hosted the live streaming of selected presentations from TEDxNijmengen, while also presenting a forum for new ideas and applications in the Greek health sector. OKFN Local Group France organized the “Opération Libre” event (Open Operation) on 6 and 7 April in the small village of Brocas – aiming at using open source technologies, open data, crowdsourcing to tackle the issues of rural areas (we’ll follow up on that, stay tuned). In France they also launched the Open Transition Energie project; a website and a datahub group to share, explore and visualize open data and other open resources related to the debate on energy transition in France.

On the translation front it was not only Brazil that shone, as mentioned earlier. OKFN Local Group China are very close to finishing translating Open Data Handbook into Chinese and thanks to OKFN Greece both OpenSpending and the Data Journalism Handbook was translated into Greek. Well done guys!

 

Winter Updates from Belgium

Pieter Colpaert - January 31, 2013 in OKF Belgium, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, WG Open Transport

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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