Blog

River level data must be open

My home – as you can see – is flooded, for the second time in a month. The mighty Thames is reclaiming its flood-plains, and making humans – especially the UK government’s Environment Agency – look puny and irrelevant. As I wade to and fro, putting sandbags around the doors, carrying valuables upstairs, and adding […]

US government to release open data using OKF’s CKAN platform

You may have seen hints of it before, but the US government data portal, data.gov, has just announced officially that its next iteration – “data.gov 2.0” – will incorporate CKAN, the open-source data management system whose development is led and co-ordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The OKF itself is one of the organisations helping […]

Can Open Data help conflict prevention?

We’re in the planning stages of a conflict prevention project called PAX and open data perspectives have fed into our thinking in its processes and structures. PAX aims to provide early warnings of emerging violent conflict, through an online collaborative system of data sharing and analysis. We’re still in the early stages of exploration and […]

Can Crowdsourcing Improve Open Data?

The following guest post is from Tom Chance (@tom_chance), founder of OpenEcoMaps. This post is cross posted from the London Datastore blog with permission from the author. What happens when open data is wrong? Can crowdsourcing improve it? Often, open data enthusiasts assume that the next step after the release of some government data is […]

Open Geoprocessing Standards and Open Geospatial Data

The following guest post is from Lance McKee, who is Senior Staff Writer at the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Working Group on Open Geospatial Data. As the founding outreach director for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and now as senior staff writer for the OGC, I have […]

Open government data in the UK, US and further afield: new report

We’re extremely proud that data.gov.uk – the UK Government’s open data portal – uses CKAN, OKF’s open source registry of open data. In the months in 2009 that led up to the release of data.gov.uk, OKF worked closely with the Cabinet Office to help them realise their vision of making public data publicly available in […]

Response to the consultation on opening access to Ordnance Survey data

The Open Source Geospatial Foundation, or OSGeo, founded in 2006 is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 and dedicated to promoting open knowledge in all its forms. What follows is […]

OKFNer Jo Walsh Speaking at IV Jornadas de SIG Libre

The IV Jornadas de SIG Libre is taking place this week from the 10th-12th of March in Girona, Spain. This is the premier spanish F/OSS GIS event and OKFNer Jo Walsh will be speaking: http://www.sigte.udg.edu/jornadassiglibre/keynotes

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 – […]

Some facts about UK postcodes

Recent BBC news coverage stated that UK postcode data will be made freely available under an open licence from April 2010. Colleagues at EDINA pointed out that some of the coverage assumes that the open data will be the same as that contained in the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File – but this is uncertain. […]

Ordnance Survey to open up UK geospatial data

In a press release earlier this week, it was announced that there will be moves to open up geospatial data produced by the Ordnance Survey: The Prime Minister and Communities Secretary John Denham will today announce that the public will have more access to Ordnance Survey maps from next year, as part of a Government […]

Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2010: Call for Proposals

The Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2010 Call for Proposals is now open! We would be grateful for help in circulating the call to relevant lists and communities! You can reuse or point to: This blog post Main CFP page Plain text announce (wrapped at 72 characters) Identi.ca post Twitter post Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2010: […]

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 […]

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 […]

Open Data: Openness and Licensing

Why does this matter? Why bother about openness and licensing for data? After all they don’t matter in themselves: what we really care about are things like the progress of human knowledge or the freedom to understand and share. However, open data is crucial to progress on these more fundamental items. It’s crucial because open […]

Keeping “Open” Libre

Last week I attended the Jornadas gvSIG, the developer/user gathering for the open source GIS project supported by the regional government in Valencia. There seems to be a very supportive climate towards free software and open licensed data in Spain. I was impressed to hear people from commercial consultancies and local government information and infrastructure […]

How to Develop Geodata Domain Models

Jo Walsh (who’s also a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation) has written a great post over on the mappinghacks blog about the development a new data model for OpenStreetMap. Though focused on the issue of modelling geodata the points she raises, particularly in relation to ‘Audit’ functionality (change tracking, versioning etc), are applicable to […]

Copyright not applicable to geodata?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard new questions and opinions about open licensing of geographic information, coming from several different directions. Specifically: Local and regional authorities in Italy and in New Zealand among others, have been looking into whether it is appropriate to use a Creative Commons license for geodata. Richard Fairhurst of […]

Open Knowledge 1.0 Nearly Here

Open Knowledge 1.0, which takes place on Saturday March the 17th at Limehouse Town Hall in London, is now just over a week away. While there are still some places left we are nearing capacity so, if you would like to come, we advise you to register as soon as possible via: http://www.okfn.org/okcon/register/ Open Knowledge […]

Opening Up Ancient Geodata: The Barrington Atlas II

I’ve written previously about the Barrington Atlas of the Ancient World which took 12 years to produce (1988-2000). It’s a wonderful example of interdisciplinary collaboration using, as it did, the talents of a multitude of classical scholars as well as many cartographers. In that earlier post I pointed out that, unfortunately, none of the underlying […]

The Tragedy of the Enclosed Lands

Normally I don’t like to blog things solely in order to propagate them, adding no commentary. But The Tragedy of the Enclosed Lands is about the most lucid, personal and usefully social explanation of the consequences of the lack of open access to geodata in the UK, that I have ever read online. There are […]

INSPIRE: Where Next?

The OKF has been very actively involved in the publicgeodata’s campaign on the INSPIRE directive. Now that it appears compromise between all of the parties — the European Commission, Council and Parliament — has been reached it is natural to ask ourselves both: Where next? and How did we do? Where Next The immediate point […]

Mashing up is hard to do

Mashups, what. Two or more data sources or works combined to become a new data source or work. A media cultural term (cf Steinski) now applied to web applications; comparable to the tradition of data overlay in cartography and analysis mapping. Mashup is also a curious marketing phenomenon. Interoperability, what. The exchange and reuse of […]

Collaborative and public geodata

Chris Holmes’ words on “Why isn’t collaborative geodata a big deal already” got me thinking about how some properties of the world can be observed – like street shapes and names – others can’t, but have to be transmitted – like postal codes and administrative boundaries. A GPS unit and a lot of goodwill will […]

Why open geodata in an open source software foundation?

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the pre-OSCON meeting of FLOSS Foundations – a group of people too-intimately involved in the management of free and open source software foundations – representing OSGeo. I gave a short talk on the subject of why a free and open source software foundation finds itself engaging […]

The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World

It took 12 years to produce (1988-2000) and cost 4.5 million dollars (according to its editor Richard Talbert). It has a whole page dedicated to listing donors and supporters of the project. It recruited seventy-three compilers, with ten regional editors with ninety-five reviewers and twenty-two cartographers. It is 148 pp. long and with companion gazetteer […]

In Brussels for Committee Vote on the INSPIRE Directive

By fortuitous coincidence I was in Brussels earlier this week in the run-up to the ENVI committee vote on the INSPIRE directive. The OKF has been actively supporting the Public Geodata campaign and finding myself with some time spare this seemed to a perfect opportunity to do some last minute contacting of MEPs as well […]

Public Geospatial Data and the OSGeo Foundation

I admit that I vacillated for a while over being nominated to the board of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. The idea clicked for me when I realised that I would want to put at least as much time into the Public Geospatial Data Project there as into a board membership role; and the PGDP’s […]

Open Letter from Public Geodata

An Open Letter regarding the INSPIRE Directive to Members of the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament was published by Public Geodata yesterday. OKFN has been providing support resources to Public Geodata as part of the Open Geodata awareness raising effort, and Rufus has been doing a fantastic job of sanitising our rhetoric for official […]