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Open Data Day 2016 Birmingham, UK

Mor Rubinstein - March 24, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blogpost was written by Pauline Roche, MD of voluntary sector infrastructure support agency, RnR Organisation, co-organiser Open Mercia, co-Chair West Midlands Open Data Forum, steering group member Open Data Institute (ODI) Birmingham node, founder Data in Brum

20 open data aficionados from across sectors as diverse as big business, small and medium enterprises, and higher education, including volunteers and freelancers gathered in Birmingham, UK on Friday, March 4th to share our enthusiasm for and knowledge of open data in our particular fields, to meet and network with each other and to plan for future activities around open data in the West Midlands. We met on the day before Open Data Day 2016 to accommodate most people’s schedules.

Organised by Open Mercia colleagues, Pauline Roche and Andrew Mackenzie, and hosted at ODI Birmingham by Hugo Russell, Project Manager, Innovation Birmingham. The half day event formally started with introductions, a brief introduction to the new ODI Birmingham node, and watching a livestream of the weekly ODI Friday lecture: ‘Being a Data Magpie’. In the lecture, ODI Senior Consultant Leigh Dodds explained how to find small pieces of data that are shared – whether deliberately or accidentally – in our cities. Delegates were enthralled with Leigh’s stories about data on bins, bridges, lamp posts and trains.

We then moved on to lightning talks about open data with reference to various subjects: highways (Teresa Jolley), transport (Stuart Harrison), small charities (Pauline Roche), mapping (Tom Forth), CartoDB (Stuart Lester), SharpCloud (Hugo Russell) and air quality (Andrew Mackenzie). These talks were interspersed with food and comfort breaks to encourage the informality which tends to generate the sharing and collaboration which we were aiming to achieve.

During the talks, more formal discussion focused on Birmingham’s planned Big Data Corridor, incorporating real-time bus information from the regional transport authority Centro, including community engagement through the East of Birmingham to validate pre/post contract completion, for example, in: road works and traffic management changes. Other discussion focussed on asset condition data, Open Contracting, and visualisation for better decisions

Teresa Jolley’s talk (delivered via Skype from London), showed that 120 local authorities (LA) in England alone are responsible for 98% of the road network but have only 20% of the budget; also each LA gets £30m but actually needs £93m to bring the network back to full maintenance.The talk highlighted that there is a need for more collaboration, improved procurement, new sources of income and data on asset condition which is available in a variety of places, including in people’s heads! The available research data is not open, which is a barrier to collaboration. Delegates concluded from Teresa’s talk that opening the contracts between private and public companies is the main challenge.

Stuart Harrison, ODI Software Superhero, talked about integrated data visualisation and decision making, showing us the London Underground: Train Data Demonstrator. He talked about visualisation for better decisions on train capacity and using station heat maps to identify density of use.

Pauline Roche, MD of the voluntary sector infrastructure support agency, RnR Organisation, shared the Small Charities Coalition definition of their unique feature (annual income less than £1m) and explained that under this definition, 97% of the UK’s 164,000 charities are small. In the West Midlands region alone, the latest figures evidence 20,000 local groups (not all are charities), 34,000 FTE paid staff, 480,000 volunteers and an annual £1.4bn turnover.

Small charities could leverage their impact through the use of Open Data to demonstrate transparency, better target their resources, carry out gap analysis (for example, Nepal NGOs found that opening and sharing their data reduced duplication amongst other NGOs in the country) and measure impact. One small charity which Pauline worked with on a project to open housing data produced a comprehensive Open Data “Wishlist” including data on health, crime and education. Small charities need active support from the council and other data holders to get the data out.   Tom Forth from the ODI Leeds node, showed delegates how he uses open data for mapping with lots of fun demonstrations. Pauline shared some of Tom’s specific mapped data on ethnicity with 2 relevant charities and we look forward to examining that data more closely in the future. It was great to have a lighter, though no less important, view of what can often be seen as a very serious subject. Tom invited delegates to the upcoming Floodhack at ODI Leeds on the following weekend. He also offered to run another mapping event the following week for some students present, with more assistance being proffered by another delegate, Mike Cummins.

Stuart Lester of Digital Birmingham, gave an introduction to CartoDB and reminded delegates of the Birmingham Data Factory where various datasets were available under an open license.

The second last talk of the day was a demonstration of SharpCloud from Hugo Russell, who described using this and other visualisation tools such as Kumu to tell a story and spot issues / relationships

Finally, Andrew Mackenzie presented on air quality and gave some pollution headlines, relating his presentation topically to the LEP, Centro and HS2. He said that some information, while public, is not yet published as data yet, but it can be converted. There were some questions about the position of the monitoring stations and a possible project “What is the quality of the air near me/a location?”. Andrew says it’s currently £72,000 to build an air quality monitoring station and gave some examples of work in the field e.g. http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/environmental-sensors.html , http://airpi.es/ and Smart Citizen . He also mentioned the local organisation Birmingham Friends of the Earth and a friendly data scientist Dr Andy Pryke. One of the delegates tweeted a fascinating visualisation of air pollution data

Summary

Our diverse audience represented many networks and organisations: two of the Open Data Institute nodes, Birmingham  and Leeds , West Midlands Open Data Forum , Open Mercia , Open Data Camp, Birmingham Insight, Hacks and Hackers (Birmingham) , Brum by Numbers and Data in Brum. Our primary themes were transport and social benefit, and we learned about useful visualisation tools like CartoDB, SharpCloud and Kumu. The potential markets we explored included: an Open commercialisation model linked to the Job Centre, collaboration where a business could work with a transport authority and an ODI Node to access Job Centres of applicable government departments on a Revenue Share and an Air Quality Project.

Future Events information shared included the Unconference Open Data Camp 3 in Bristol, 14-15 May (Next ticket release 19 March), an Open Government Partnership meeting on 7 April at Impact Hub Birmingham, a Mapping workshop with Tom Forth (date TBC), and offers of future events: CartoDB with Stuart Lester (½ day), OpenStreetMap with Andy Mabbett (½ day) and WikiData with Andy Mabbett (½ day) Pauline also compiled a Post-event Storify: https://storify.com/RnROrganisation/open-data-day-2016-birmingham-uk

Open Data Day Cairo 2016

Mor Rubinstein - March 23, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Adham Kalila from Transport for Cairo

There is a strong institutional fear of open data in Egypt. In a culture attuned to privacy and private spaces, the concern with the potential negative impacts of opening up data and giving access arouses suspicion towards asking too many questions. There is often a tendency to withhold information. For these institutions,  It seems unlikely that some nerdy enthusiasts just want to learn more and solve what they are capable of solving, for little more than the experience and thrill of getting it done. Few imagine this because we do not do it enough. Open Data day and the Cairo Mobility Hackathon were an excellent first step in showing everyone that some of us want to think a little harder and do a bit more with our time and skills. One by one, people and institutions will stop being so suspicious when we can offer help in exchange for their data, openly.

Transport for Cairo (TfC) is a group initiative of young professionals that aims to gather and share information about public transportation to everyone in the most convenient and practical ways: for example printed maps and digital feeds. This project is fundamentally about open data since this data belongs to every citizen. Leading by example, TfC released a GTFS dataset of the Cairo Metro as open data three days before the event.

To celebrate open data TfC in collaboration with the Access 2 Knowledge 4 Development (A2K4D) research centre and Open Knowledge International, called out to Egypt’s open data community to spend a day learning, engaging, and networking. Participants could attend the Cairo Mobility Hackathon or attend workshops held by four organizations from the Cairo community who came to speak and raise awareness about different projects and opportunities around open data in Egypt. The response was uplifting!

The day started with an ice-breaking activity that involved a tennis ball and some funny confessions. After a brief introduction by Mohamed Hegazy, TfC’s director, about the activities of the day and some much-needed coffee, the hackathon and the workshops commenced in earnest. Originally, the workshops were scheduled in parallel but after feedback from participants about wanting to attend overlapping ones, the workshops were rearranged to follow one another. The workshops focused on establishing and fostering an open data culture in Egypt and were given by a number of established organizations including Takween integrated Community Development, the Cairo node of the Open Data Institute, the Support for Information and Technology Center (SITC), and InfoTimes. At the end of the day, A2K4D held a pitching competition for data-fuelled start-ups.

One of the main achievements of the day is the crowd of around 70 people that gathered at the American University in Cairo in Tahrir for ODD. One of the first participants to show up arrived by train all the way from the coastal city of Alexandria just to attend. The hackathon that took place focused on mobility around Cairo, which is a problematic issue close to everyone’s heart. It gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the released dataset, build upon it and engage with the team that created it. To structure the ideathon and give participants a chance to share their projects and ideas, we had a fillable schedule board on the wall for sessions to take place between 6 tables and four-time slots. Slowly but surely, teams started forming around similar projects or topics to be discussed. In one session of the hackathon, everyone was asked to dream up public transit routes (bus, tram, and metro) that would make their daily commutes faster and easier. Different routes were drawn in various colors on a map of Cairo, and the final product has started a thought experiment on where investment was most needed and how to prioritize one route over another. The day ended with our minds opened to new possibilities and ways to engage with the data and with one another. The one striking thing that was lacking from the day, and I dare say it was not missed, was suspicion. Nobody questioned the motives behind our interest in one another’s experiences, projects, and goals. There was a shared sense of collaboration and engagement and above all, community. Open Data day 2016 in Cairo was a resounding success and we hope to play a bigger role in its organization in the future. If you would like to see more pictures of the day, check out our facebook album.

#OpenDataDay 2016 – Lima, Peru

Mor Rubinstein - March 22, 2016 in Open Data Day, open knowledge

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For the third consecutive year, Open Data Peru organised the #OpenDataDay 2016, an international event about #OpenData.

Currently, the open data is becoming a trend adopted by governments to provide information about public spending, budgets, etc. in open formats, free to use and available to any citizen. In this way it seeks to create a more transparent and citizen participatory system. As data is released under this license, any citizen can access and use the information to build distribution platforms, data visualizations, and so on. This not only benefits citizens, it also allows specialists, academics, journalists and organizations to process this information to generate research, articles, and much more complete applications.

IMG_7816On March 5, Open Data Peru invite different specialists, citizens and organizations to discuss and learn about the use and contribution of open data. During the morning, they could hear various talks on the implementation of open data in Peru. Several initiatives, such as the collective @QDatosAbiertos (We Want Open Data), which seeks to inform and engage citizens with different communication campaigns and workshops aimed at demonstrating how to use simple technologies that allow this data to be used without needing specialist skills. The group, Ciudadanos al Día,  presented an initiative for Best Practices of Open Data in the public sector, which aims to reward public institutions to publish information in open data.

Another great presentation was that of the Municipality of San Isidro, which has been promoting a culture of technology and innovation has been since 2015. They implemented an open data portal and organized a hackathon. They also signed up to the International Open Data Charter.

IMG_7813Open Data Peru presented a summary of the work carried out during 2015, and one of the main activities (workshops, hackathons, Dataton, etc.) that was undertaken was the National Scholars Program, which focused on the decentralization of open data at the national level. Throughout this program, we worked with communities of different technology departments in Peru and selected leaders to become data trainers. With this work, Open Data Peru seeks to create a network of trainers and specialists who can work steadily and advise on creating platforms and applications using open data, and create a space for experimentation and citizen participation.

During the afternoon, we simultaneously held workshops with different specialists. Participants were able to learn more about data journalism work, visualizations, narrative, semantic web, usability and internet governance.

The #OpenDataDay 2016 in Peru, finished the day with dynamic lighting talks during #PiscoyDatos.

Open Data Peru is constantly in search of volunteers to work with open data technology projects, train more journalists in the dynamics of working with data and promote a more transparent system through the release of open data. To date we keep on improving and contribution of open data in our platform d.odpe.org

We thank all the communities and organizations that were part of #OpenDataDay: StoryCode, OjoPúblico, Hiperderecho, Hack IT Labs, Ciudadanos al Día and each of the speakers.

The event was sponsored by Hack IT Labs, Municipality of San Isidro, the Peruvian Press Council and the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), thank you for your contribution and support of the event.

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CodeAcross & OpenDataDay Zagreb 2016

Mor Rubinstein - March 21, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Filip Rodik from Code4Crotaia. 

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Close to 100 guests, speakers, teachers and journalists gathered in a conference room on March 3rd to hear the recent news about the ongoing Croatian curricular reform and the development of the Open Data program. The event was hosted by one of our sponsors – Algebra University College.

After a short introduction by the organizers, the event was kicked off with a keynote by Eben Groenwald, UK lead for Coding Education Policy. Eben gave a rather short, but very informative talk about UK’s experience with the Computer Science reform. The reform started off with a diagnosis of what had been wrong with the previous CS curriculum, and a panel of experts trying to solve those problems from the perspectives of both the private sector and the scientific community. The main goal of the new curriculum was to teach students how to solve problems using a computer. This would be a far greater challenge than the previous curriculum, which was mostly based on learning how to use Office software and sometimes a programming language. Teachers now had the liberty of doing things their way because the schools were told what the students should learn, not how to do it. But this level of flexibility brought up new issues because only a small percentage of teachers had a real computer science background. The solution to this problem was organizing a core team of 300 Master Teachers who then educated their colleagues around the country.

According to Eben, students should be creators of digital content, not just consumers. To achieve this, computing needed a big shift in the curriculum, so it became a core subject – like English or Mathematics. It also includes moving from the classical ICT curriculum to general digital skills. This would not be possible without the full support of everyone included – the government, teachers, local communities, the private sector and the parents.

First panel discussion – education

The guests were very interested in Eben’s talk because of the fact that Croatia is currently going through a thorough curricular reform. A total of over 500 experts have been preparing it for over a year now and this was an opportunity to learn from the UK’s experience. One of the experts was Lidija Kralj, who was a member of the first panel discussion of the day. Lidija is the head of the team of experts working on the ICT curricular reform. She was joined by Vedrana Miholić – ambassador of the eSkills initiative, Bela Ikotić – Member of Osijek Software City, and finally Eben.

20160304_Code_Across_&_Open_Data_Days_d_Andrea_Radmanic_07The participants, who were inspired by the UK’s reform, started out by comparing Croatia’s situation with the UK prior to the reform. There was curiosity regarding the pace at which the reform had been done. A single year for adapting to the new curriculum seemed rather short, but, according to Eben, changes needed to happen as soon as possible.

Vedrana stated that there is a great shortage of workers in the IT industry in Croatia. This is something that everyone from the industry has been aware of for years. The education system is simply not providing the market with enough skilled workers. Apart from that, lots of them are leaving Croatia in search for better working conditions in foreign countries. Some people, like Bela, started to improve things in their local community trying to reach out to young students and improve their computer skills. Another approach would be to increase the number of girls in computer science. A community which tells young girls that computers are for boys, and that they should be doing other things is doing incredible harm to everyone involved. The situation is slowly improving at Croatia’s top technical faculties where there are now 15-25% female students.

One question was particularly interesting for everyone in the room – why won’t the new curriculum make computer science mandatory for all Croatian students starting at the first grade? The answer is that there are still not enough resources for such a radical change though everyone is aware that it is something that should have been done years ago.

Second panel discussion – open government

The participants of the second panel were Anamarija Musa – Commissioner for Information, Tomislav Vračić – Chief of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Administration, and professor Neven Vrček – dean at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics.

Since the first #OpenDataDay in Croatia, things have been improving at a certain pace. One of the results was the data.gov.hr website, which was first presented at last year’s open data day. Since then, the number of datasets has been growing, but there is still not enough knowledge, and laymen do not know  what open data is and how it could be used. According to Anamarija, the datasets are still not clean enough and can hardly be connected or reused. This is a problem on which her team has been working for the last year, so in 2016, trainings for Croatian ministries are scheduled. The portal Imamo pravo znati, which was launched in the middle of 2015, has been a success so far. This was a project created by volunteers on last year’s hackathon which followed the conference. Its goal was to help civilians get the information they are interested in by making requests which follow the Freedom of Information laws.

Tomislav, who is in charge of data.gov.hr, said that georeferenced and real-time datasets are something the public wants the most, but those are the hardest to get. Dean Vrček stated that the most useful applications, made on top of public data, are the ones which use data generated by the local administration, so developers should put more pressure on local government to release useful data.

After the lunch break, there was a general discussion about open data in Croatia. This was an opportunity for non-technical people to learn about how to get involved. It was also a short introduction to the hackathon which would follow Friday’s conference.

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Hackathon

Saturday was the first day of this year’s hackathon held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb. The Hackathon was scheduled for both days of the weekend. The day started off with a presentation of ideas for projects both from the organizers and other NGOs. Dražen Hoffman from GONG presented a project named “Stop the Hatred” – a Web app people could use to report hate speech (on the Internet, public gatherings, TV, news, etc.) so data can later be analyzed. Antun Sevšek from “Pravo na Grad” presented an idea to gather data about the unused infrastructure owned by the city authorities and present it on an interactive map. Other ideas included creating a visualization of all crimes in Croatia, visualizing infrastructural projects in Zagreb and integrating unemployment data.

Civic hackers were working on applications which used open data, while non-technical participants attended workshops about scraping data from the Web and accessing public data. Participants learned to scrape data on real examples, and they successfully scraped registers of non profit organizations, theatres, museums in Croatia, centres for social care and a dataset with a complete list of cultural legacy. There were only two teams of programmers actively participating in the contest, but the good news is that we had participants from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina coding, learning, and sharing different experiences from their countries. The result of this year’s hackathon programmers were these projects and applications.

Photos by: Fotosekcija KSET – Andrea Radmanić, Darjan Grilec, Josipa Vragolov

International Open Data Day in Addis Abba, Ethiopia

Mor Rubinstein - March 18, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written By Solomon Mekonnen Co-founder, Code4Ethiopia & Local Organizer, Open Knowledge

Group-participants

An open data interest group representing 25 participants from universities, NGOs, CSOs and government ministries attended an open data event on 5th March, 2016, with theme “Raising Open Data awareness in the grass root community of Ethiopia”. The event was organized by Code4Ethiopia and Open Knowledge Ethiopia, with the support of Open Knowledge International and Addis Ababa University, in connection with Open Data Day which is a global celebration of openness.

The event was opened by Mr. Mesfin Gezehagn, a University Librarian at the Addis Ababa University (AAU). Mr. Mesfin briefed the participants that Addis Ababa University has been providing training on open research data and open science to postgraduate students and academicians to see more researchers practicing open data sharing (making data free to use, reuse, and redistribute) and open science (making scientific research, data and other results and work flows available to all). He also stated that the University collaborates with open data communities like Open Knowledge Ethiopia and Code4Ethiopia.

groupMr. Mesfin also informed the participants that AAU has started drafting a policy to ensure mandatory submission of research data for researches that are sponsored by the University to open the data to the public.

Following the opening, three of the Cofounders of Code4Ethiopia (Solomon Mekonnen, Melkamu Beyene and Teshome Alemu), and a Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science of AAU (Desalegn Mequanint) presented discussion areas for participants. The presentations were focused on Code4Ethiopia and Open Knowledge Ethiopia Programmes , raising Open Data awareness to the grass root Community of Ethiopia , open data experience in African countries, and,  social, cultural & economic factors affecting open data implementation in the Ethiopia.

Following, the workshop was opened for discussion by Daniel Beyene, co-founder of Code4Ethiopia. The participants recommend that advocacy should be done from top to down starting from the policy makers to grass root community of Ethiopia and they also proposed that Code4Ethiopia and Open Knowledge Ethiopia in collaboration international partners should organize a national sensitization Open Data Hackathon to reach various stakeholders.

The workshop also identified challenges in Ethiopia for open data implementation including lack of awareness, absence of policy level commitment from governments and lack of appropriate data science skills & data literacy. The participants also selected data sets that need priority for the country’s development and that interest the general public which includes budget data, expenditure (accounts) data, census,  trade information, election data, health and educational data.

The workshop was concluded by thanking our partners Open Knowledge International and Addis Ababa University for their contribution to the success of the event. All of the participants have also been invited to join Code4Ethiopia and the Open Knowledge community. Most of the participants have agreed to join these two communities to build open data ecosystem in Ethiopia.

Open Data Day Guyana – Bringing Open Street Map to the classroom

Mor Rubinstein - March 17, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Vijay Datadin from the GIS collective Open Data Day 2016 group photo

Open Data is a new and still not very well understood concept in Guyana, as is probably the case in other countries as well. The GIS Collective, a group of volunteers, each highly skilled and experienced in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), know the value of data being available to help a country to develop, and the hurdles posed by unavailable or outdated data.

Secondary school teachers can impart their knowledge to the upcoming generation of youth on the subject. The GIS Collective therefore offered a short seminar on open data for secondary school Geography and IT teachers based in and around the capital city, Georgetown, working through the office of the Guyana Chief Education Officer (CEO) and with the support of the Assistant CEO for Secondary Schools. The event was hosted on the 11 March 2016 at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) located in the Kingston ward of Georgetown.

The idea of open data was briefly presented and discussed, that is ‘What is Open Data?’ and ‘What Open Data does for National Development’. However the main part of the seminar involved the teachers learning-by-doing, producing open data  themselves.Geography and IT Teachers editing OSM in Georgetown Guyana

The teachers were introduced to a source of open spatial data – Open Street Map (OSM) and taught to use and edit it themselves. The teachers were organised into groups of 4-6 people and using Field Papers to make notes, they walked and surveyed various parts of the surrounding area of the city. Using laptops and the OSM iD editor the teachers then transferred their observations to OSM, digitizing building outlines, naming and describing landmarks, and so on.

Geography and IT Teachers editing OSM in Georgetown Guyana 2The group enriched OSM by adding information on Government Ministries, Embassies, private companies and other buildings, and historic structures such as the Georgetown Lighthouse (built 1830), the Umana Yana (a national landmark built by indigenous peoples) and the Georgetown Seawall Roundhouse (built 1860).

The teachers were enthusiastic participants, and enjoyed the hands-on approach of the seminar. Some have apparently already continued to edit OSM in other areas of Guyana in the days following the seminar. The organisers are grateful for the support of the Guyana Ministry of Education and Open Knowledge International.

PublicBodies Datathon: Collecting the information of Nepal Government diverse PublicBodies

Nikesh Balami - March 11, 2016 in Open Data Day

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Once again, a bunch of open philosophy believers and lovers gathered for the fourth annual celebration of International Open Data Day 2016 in Nepal. This year Open Data Day was organized in three different places of Nepal and was lead by different communities. Open Knowledge Nepal in collaboration with FOSS Nepal Community and CSIT Association of Nepal, hosted a series of presentations and a PublicBodies Datathon to celebrate the global celebration of openness. The event was held in Nepal Engineers’ Association, Pulchowk, Lalitpur and started at 10 am (NST). Event planning and details can be found on the event page.

Nikesh Balami, Open Government Data Team Lead of Open Knowledge Nepal started by welcoming and thanking all the participants for joining the event. He explained what open data day is and how it has been celebrated in Nepal during the past few years.

After making a  change in the presentation schedule, Navin Khadka representing db2map, was welcomed for the first presentation of a day. Navin described their product db2map and also shared details about their upcoming planning. Db2map helps people to visualize their data in the interactive map of Nepal, by using a simple  dragging and dropping method. He also shared work which they had completed in the past and how it is making an impact.

Right after the presentation of db2map, Shubham Ghimire, Volunteer of Open Knowledge Nepal was called on the stage for the presentation of NGOs in Nepal. NGOs in Nepal is the crowdsourced online directory of NGO’s located in map with their contact information.  Ghimire shared how the initiative was started after the April earthquake and how people and NGO’s both benefit from it. At the end of his presentation, he asked participants to contribute by submitting additional  information on NGO’s, which they know of within their locality.

Chandan Goopta, Co-Founder of The Opnio joined the stage after the presentation of Mr. Shubham. Mr. Goopta  presented information about the Android app project of the Nepal Government lead by NITC. This app contains all the information related to the government administration. The idea behind the app is to bridge the gap between citizens and the government by taking the notices, decisions etc made by government accessible to the public. The name of an app was “NepGov Portal” and at the end of his talk, he also asked participants engaged with the project with their own contributions.

20160305_120047After that Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge again joined the stage for his orientation presentation of PublicBodies Nepal. He first presented a little bit about the community “Open Knowledge Nepal” and then shared the whole concept of PublicBodies Nepal, including how the data / information will be presented and how it will be collected. He also notified participants that all of them will be working together  on  data collection during the Datathon.

Last but not the least, there was an presentation from Saroj Dhakal, Consultant for Google, and an active contributor to the Nepali Wikipedia. He presented on an upcoming project named “Open Transits Nepal”. The aim of this project is to collect the data of all transits point used by Nepali Transportation and to release those data in the Open Domain. So that anyone from all around the world can build innovative ideas around this data. After the presentation of Mr. Dhakal, the formal presentation session was completed and the coffee break started.IMG_20160305_120827-1024x768

During coffee break, the groups split into  the  Datathon session. Right after the break Nikesh who is currently leading PublicBodies Nepal project, briefed participants and shared all the resources with them, which they would need  while collecting data. A google form was used for data collection and participants searched and trawled different government websites for one to one data collection. The Datathon was followed by many small lunch and coffee breaks. While going through many websites for the information collection, participants also identified different mistakes and updated information in many government bodies websites, which highlights the topic for further discussion. Some participants contributed the information on local public bodies. At the end of the day, more that 150 information around Nepal Government diverse public bodies was collected by the participants.

At the end of an event, Nikesh demonstrated the basic design of the PublicBodies Nepal portal, still in the development, and gathered feedbacks from participants.  The event was ended with a group photo. nd formally ends the event by asking everyone for the group photo.

Open Data Day Santiago: “Bringing an “open” philosophy to the people”

Mor Rubinstein - March 11, 2016 in Open Data Day

This post was written by Manuel Barros Open Government Partnership coordinator at Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente.

Read the full blog in Spanish on the ILDA site.

One of the pillars at Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente has been to strengthen democracy through the creative use of information technologies. Inevitably, that mission has always been strongly linked to the use of data -in all formats- and the availability and accessibility of this data.

Open data- although still a small world reserved for a few nerds and therefore difficult to digest for most people –  is a movement and a way to understand public utility data (and especially their availability). Data that is directly related to our lives as citizens; It is a philosophy that, if widely and properly used, can generate benefits for society as a whole … and that’s what we strive  to communicate as an organization!

So, on Saturday March 5th we decided to celebrate the Open Data Day in a completely different way.

In this celebration, held annually for several years all over the world, events like hackathons or conferences are carried out and unfortunately, due to its high level of technicality, they are difficult to access for most people. Activities that, although they are very useful, work for the same circle of people interested in such issues (nerds, geeks and other astronauts in the “open” atmosphere).

This time, however, we decided to take the “open” philosophy to the streets.

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Yes, to the streets!

How did we do it? Very simple. We installed our stand on a pedestrian path at the Quinta Normal Park in Santiago and invited passers-by to contribute to  mapping their neighborhood and extended area surrounding the park. Our objective was to build  a collaborative physical map, from which all data would go to the OpenStreetMap records.We had a couple of computers enabled to make a collective and strong contribution to the open, online map and, incidentally, learn about open data and the several concepts around it. So, people who approached  our stand (or taken by the hand  by our team of evangelizers) used colored stickers to add important landmarks, like restaurants, bike workshops, cultural centers, schools, shops and a number of other points to the physical map, while others worked on the online map.

The results were better than we expected!

Many people were interested and participated in the activity. Everyone left the place with a clearer idea about what open data is and its benefits (thanks to the super marvellous triptychs we distributed) and some even took advantage of the data on the physical map to decide where to eat or a drink that very evening.

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So, today the OpenStreetMap has more and better data in the area of Yungay, Brazil and Mapocho neighborhoods in Santiago.

We all share, we all use, we all win! That is what open data is all about and that’s what we wanted to do on this special day. So in the same vein, it’s expected that more actions of this type are made in the future, from public, private and citizen initiatives. It is necessary to broaden the debate and, especially, to put the data to  use…because opening it’s not enough.

 

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#OpenDataDay 16 in Quito, connecting people and data-driven ideas

Mor Rubinstein - March 9, 2016 in Data Journalism, Open Data Day

This post was written by Julio López P – 2015 School of Data Fellow. Julio is currentl working on energy information management and capacity building projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

See post in Spanish on ILDA’s (Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos) blog

fotooficialODD

In 2016, the Quito open data community  joined the worldwide celebrations for Open Data Day. It all started a month ago with an online call from School of Data and the MediaLab UIO to collect ideas and proposals to organise the event in our city.On Saturday, 5 March 2016, around 80 people joined our event, which included two opening presentations about the potential of Open Data in Ecuador and four interactive workshops. Here we share some details:

Mapping Quito

A civic mapping workshop was led by the MediaLab UIO, who shared their experiences on how to map and collect data around urban issues and groups and also invited participants to contribute with ideas for future mapping projects. The Latin American and the Caribbean Youth Network on Climate Change (CLIC) joined the workshop to share their project YoutHAB, a conference for groups of young people working towards sustainable urban development that will take place in Quito this year along with the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III.

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Data Science and Python

Learning coding with Python may not be at the top of your list, but Carlos De Smedt (Atikux, @wikicarlos), an Ecuadorian developer, shared his knowledge with a bunch of people interested in using this tool to do scraping and other tricks to use data in different ways. They also had time to talk about data science and its possible applications.

How to manage open data?

anaging data is not an easy task. We had a team from ThoughtWorks Ecuador who shared an open tool to find (CSV, Excel, APIs), use and visualize data from open data portals. They used a dataset from the World Bank on foreign debt to show participants how to use this tool to create a simple model to work with these data as they would do in a company.

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Working in Quito

Data Driven Journalism

In the region we have some fact checking projects, such as Chequeando, El Sabueso and Ojo Bionico. During the ODD16,  a new fact checking project called El Verificador – Gkillcity was attended and presented. They had fun listening to a TV programme from the Presidency of Ecuador that is broadcast on Saturdays to get material to fact check. They identified 14 facts and checked five using public data, we hope that they will publish the results soon.

All of these presenters showed how interesting it is to work with data and data-driven projects (thanks for that!). We had lots of fun and mostly people enjoyed the idea of having these type of events organised by local communities to share and spread their knowledge and explore common ideas around open data.

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The local community around open data is growing in Quito and surely more proposals and events are just around the corner! Let’s keep an eye on it!

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the organisation of the event: Ivan Terceros, Ruben Zavala and Pablo Escandón (MediaLab UIO); Lisette Arevalo, Isabel Jervis, Rodney Espinosa, Denise Valle, Lorena Serrano and Doménica Garcés (GkillCity); Carlos De Smedt (Atikux); Carlos Fuentes, Mauricio Murillo, Gabriela Chasifan and Byron Torres (ThoughWorks Ecuador); Ana Cristina Benalcazar, Margarita Yepez, Roberto Madera and Christian Lopez (YoutHAB) and Susana Guevara (Fundación Telefónica Ecuador).

Special thanks to Open Knowledge International and the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA) for funding this event and CIESPAL (MediaLab Uio) for letting us use their building.

To follow the activities on twitter: @OpenDataEc  #ODDEc . See more pictures of the event

New Report: “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”

Jonathan Gray - March 3, 2016 in Data Journalism, Featured, Open Data, Open Government Data, Policy, Research

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Following on from our discussion paper on “Democratising the Data Revolution”, today we’re pleased to announce the release of a new report titled “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”.

Undertaken as a collaboration between Open Knowledge and the CIVICUS DataShift, the report contains seven case studies accompanied by a series of recommendations for civil society groups, public institutions and policy-makers. The case studies cover data collection initiatives around a wide variety of different topics – from literacy rates in East Africa to water access in Malawi, migration deaths in Europe to fracking pollution in the US. It was researched and written by myself, Danny Lämmerhirt and Liliana Bounegru.

We hope that it will contribute to advancing policies and practices to make public information systems more responsive to the interests and concerns of civil society. You can download the full report here.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

The information systems of public institutions play a crucial role in how we collectively look at and act in the world. They shape the way decisions are made, progress is evaluated, resources are allocated, issues are flagged, debates are framed and action is taken. As a United Nations (UN) report recently put it, “Data are the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability.”1

Every information system renders certain aspects of the world visible and lets others recede into the background. Datasets highlight some things and not others. They make the world comprehensible and navigable in their own way – whether for the purposes of policy evaluation, public service delivery, administration or governance.

Given the critical role of public information systems, what happens when they leave out parts of the picture that civil society groups consider vital? What can civil society actors do to shape or influence these systems so they can be used to advance progress around social, democratic and environmental issues?

This report looks at how citizens and civil society groups can generate data as a means to influence institutional data collection. In the following pages, we profile citizen generated and civil society data projects and how they have been used as advocacy instruments to change institutional data collection – including looking at the strategies, methods, technologies and resources that have been mobilised to this end. We conclude with a series of recommendations for civil society groups, public institutions, policy-makers and funders.

The report was commissioned as part of a research series by DataShift, an initiative that builds the capacity and confidence of civil society organisations to produce and use citizen-generated data. It follows on from another recent discussion paper from Open Knowledge on what can be done to make the “data revolution” more responsive to the interests and concerns of civil society,2 as well as a briefing note by DataShift on how institutions can support sustainability of citizen-generated data initiatives.3

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