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What happened during Open Data Day 2016 in Aix en Provence?

Mor Rubinstein - March 30, 2016 in open knowledge

This blog post was written by Samuel Goeta and the team in Open Knowledge France

This year, Open Data Day in France left Paris after hosting us in several tech hubs in the capital: Telecom ParisTech in 2013, Simplon in 2014 and La Paillasse en 2015. However, Paris still celebrated Open Data Day online. Etalab, the French government open data taskforce, made a blog post celebrating their favorite open data apps and Open Street Maps announced that there are now 400 million objects in its French database.


On the 5th of March, Open Knowledge France headed South to the city of Aix en Provence, near Marseille. Yelloworking hosted the Open Data Day, and it was the first event organized at the new villa of the coworking space. Thanks to Open Knowledge’s Open Data Day mini grant, we were able to start the event with delicious Italian buffet that gave us plenty of energy for hacking. Anonymal, a local webtv, shoot a short video report (in French) on the event. In two minutes, it explains the concept of the open data day and shows some of the activities that happened on March 5th in Aix en Provence.

Le Yelloworking accueille l’Open Data Day à Aix-en-Provence from anonymal tv on Vimeo.

Our main activities

Activity #1: Hack a coffee machine

The concept:

  1. Open the guts of the coffee machine of the coworking space (ask premission first!)
  2. Connect an Arduino board to the buttons of the machine
  3. Collect data on each coffee made: time, length and strength of the coffee.


This data will be used to monitor the activity of the coworking space as each member or visitor usually consumes a coffee.

Why it matters: Open Knowledge can seriously benefit from open hardware devices for automatic real-time data collection. This activity was one of the rare bridge between the open hardware and open data movements which rarely speak to each other.

How did it turn out? Well, the Arduino starter kit is indeed…a good start. We managed to connect the buttons, monitor the strength of a coffee, to record on a log when each coffee is being made. The code has already been published but we still need more equipment to actually publish data.

What’s next: Another hacknight is planned, and the data will be visualised live on Yelloworking website.


Activity #2: Open Yelloworking data

The concept: Yelloworking is a transparent coworking space which already provides regular updates on its incomes, expenses and its activities. We used Open Data Day to push transparency one step further by opening data on Yelloworking’s revenues and visualizing it.   

Why it matters: Open Business models are promising to develop transparent business and increase consumer trust. This is especially true for coworking spaces which are about strengthening trust and tightening ties between members. Open data on revenues can be a powerful way to renew transparency in the corporate sector.

How did it turn out? Samuel, as both the host of the event and a partner at Yelloworking, went through every single invoice and reported it in a CSV file. Then, he visualized the data using Raw, an incredible tool made by Density Design. Data has been published on, a CKAN instance run by Open Knowledge France and Regards Citoyens.

What’s next: Yelloworking now wants to open data on its operating expenses. However, the work to report this information will take much longer.  


Activity #3: Deliberations of the city council

The concept: The city council of Aix en Provence, as everywhere in France, votes on deliberations (public debates by city officials). These protocols are online, and can be downloaded as a PDF, but for the average citizen, inspecting and understanding the official lingo in these files is a fastidious job. PourAix, a young collective dedicated to mobilisation and citizens participation, had an excellent idea to map these complicated documents to make local policymaking more accessible. For each protocol, they identified the place that are affected by the decision and created a map. The participants crowdsourced this information and reported the precise place concerned by each deliberation in a file in order to create a map including date, location, name of the elected official proposing the bill, full text of the document, decisions taken.

Why it matters not only here: We know that much extremely valuable information about local life is still stuck in PDF. Crowdsourcing can, in a matter of hours, make these information much more accessible and processable. This in the end, can help and foster accountability.

How did it turn out? More than 100 deliberations were mapped. Crowdsourcing helped PourAix to map all 2015 deliberations. The data were published on their data portal, on and mapped using Umap, OSM France ’s tool.

What’s next:  These crowdsourced data will be used to create a monitoring tool for citizens on the model of, the Parliament Monitoring Tool made by Regards Citoyens.


Voir en plein écran


Open Data Day Buenos Aires – planning the open data agenda for 2016

Mor Rubinstein - March 29, 2016 in Open Data Day

Captura de pantalla 2016-03-26 a las 12.16.56

This blog was written by Yamila Garcia, Open Knowledge ambassador in Argentina 

For the third time, we celebrated Open Data Day in Argentina, and we invited different groups to celebrate it with us: members of the official open government office; transparency, open data and freedom of information activists, civic innovators, journalists and anyone who is interested in the progress of 21st century open governments.

March the 5th marks a day of open data deliberations, where we understand the importance of open data in three main pillars – release, reuse and impact. It is a day to share ideas, projects and opening up the dialogue channels about open public information, promotion of freedom of information laws, open government in the three branches  of the state, strengthening democracy, promoting citizenes participation and generation of public and civic innovation. Fundación Conocimiento Abierto with Argentinian civil society organizations (Democracia en Red, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, Directorio Legislativo and FOPEA) had the honour to receive 250 participants in #ODD16. The event was supported by ILDA.

In the last two years, we invited open data projects in Argentina and practitioners from different fields such as academia, government (in all branches), journalists and civic hackers to join us under the same roof and present their projects.  This year we decided to shake things up, and had an event with the following  activities:

Captura de pantalla 2016-03-26 a las 12.27.10

  • Panels: we had Four central panels with the following topics:

    • “Progress for a law on access to information” with Laura Alonso (anticorruption office holder), Fernando Sanchez (national legislature), Government officials and José Crettaz (Journalist of La Nación Newspaper).
    • “Challenges for open government” with Rudi Borrmann (National Subsecretary of Innovation and open government ), Carolina Cornejo (ACIJ), Alvaro Herrero ( City government) and Gustavo Bevilaqcua (national legislature).
    • “Hackers civic and open data” with four famous civic hackers  
    • “Local governments and opening information” panel with five representatives of local government innovation


  • An open space of dialogue with mentors in the following  topics:

    • Innovating in the public sector,
    • Challenges for a law on access to public information
    • Municipalities progress in the area of open government, How to achieve citizen participation channels?
    • OGP agenda in Argentina
    • Challenges for open municipal government with open data
    • The impact of open data: How to measure results?
    • Codeando Argentina: Cooperation between governments and civic hackers, and Parliament opened.

Tag your photos (1)

We accomplished the goal of gather all the areas that work on open data to shape the Open Data Agenda for 2016 in a collaborative way. Each year this community grows more and more. In 2017, we will expect to have an Open Data Day in other parts of the country, and not only in Buenos Aires. From year to year, we get more challenges, and we are happy to have Open Data Day to tackle them. 




Open Data Day 2016 Malaysia Data Expedition – Measuring Provision of Public Services for Education

Mor Rubinstein - March 28, 2016 in Open Data Day

International Open Data DayThis blog post was written by the members of the Sinar project in Malaysia 

In Malaysia, Sinar Project with the support of Open Knowledge International organised a one-day data expedition based on the guide from School of Data to search for data related to government provision of health and education services. This brought together a group of people with diverse skills to formulate questions of public interest. The data sourced would be used for analysis and visualisation in order to provide answers.

Data Expedition

School of Data D&D Character Sheet

GiraffeA data expedition is a quest to explore uncharted areas of data and report on those findings. The participants with different skillsets gathered throughout the day at the Sinar Project office. Together they explored data relating to schools and clinics to see what data and analysis methods are available to gain insights on the public service provision for education and health.

We used the guides and outlines for the data expedition from School of Data website. The role playing guides worked as a great ice breaker. There was healthy competition on who could draw the best giraffes for those wanting to prove their mettle as a designer for the team.



Deciding what to explore, education or health?

The storyteller in the team, who was a professional journalist started out with a few questions to explore.

  • Are there villages or towns which are far away from schools?
  • Are there villages or towns which are far away from clinics and hospitals?
  • What is the population density and provision of clinics and schools?

The scouts then went on a preliminary exploration for whether this data exists.

Looking for the Lost City of Open Data

The Scouts, with the aid of the rest of the team, looked for data that could answer the questions. They found a lot of usable data from the Malaysian government open data portal This data included lists of all public schools and clinics with addresses, as well as numbers of teachers for each district.

It was decided by the team that given the time limitation, the focus would be to answer the questions on education data. Another priority was to find data relating to class sizes to see if schools are overcrowded or not. Below you can see the data that the team found. 

School of Data D&D Character Sheet 2


Open Data

Data in Reports



Not all schools are created equal, there are different types, some are considered as high achieving schools or Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi


Open Data



Other Data

CIDB Construction Projects contains relevant information such as construction of schools and clinics Script to import into Elastic Search


Sinar Project had some budgets as open data, at state and federal levels that could be used as additional reference point. These were created as part of the Open Spending project.

Selangor State Government

Federal Government

Higher education



The team opted to focus on the available datasets to answer questions about education provision, by first converting all school addresses into geocoding, and then looking at joining up data to find out the relationship between enrollments, school and teacher ratios.

Joining up data

To join up data; the different data sets such as teacher numbers and schools, VLOOKUP function in Excel was used to join by School code.

Converting Address to geolocation (latlong)

To convert street addresses to latitude, longitude coordinates we used the dataset with the cleansed address’ along with a geocoding tool csvgeocode

./node_modules/.bin/csvgeocode ./input.csv ./output.csv --url "{{Alamat}}&key=" --verbose

Convert the completed CSV to GeoJSON points

Use the  csv2geojson

<span style="font-weight: 400;">csv2geojson --lat "Lat" --lon "Lng" Selangor_Joined_Up_Moe.csv</span>

To get population by PBT

Use the data from state economic planning unit agency site for socio-economic data specifically section Jadual 8

To get all the schools separated by individual PBT (District)

UseGeoJSON of Schools data and PBT Boundary loaded into QGIS; and use the Vector > Geo-processing > Intersect.  

A post from Stack Exchange suggests  it might be better to use Vector > Spatial Query > Spatial Query option.

Open Datasets Generated

The cleansed and joined up datasets created during this expedition are made available on GitHub. While the focus was on education, due to the similarity in available data, the methods were also applied to clinics also. See it on our repository –


All Primary and Secondary Schools on a Map with Google Fusion Tables

All Primary and Secondary Schools on a Map with Google Fusion Tables

Teacher to Students per school ratios

Teacher to Students per school ratios



  • Teachers vs enrollment did not provide data relating to class size or overcrowding
  • Demographic datasets to measure schools to eligible population
  • More school datasets required for teachers, specifically by subject and class ratios
  • Methods used for location of schools can also be applied to clinics & hospital data

It was discovered that additional data was needed to provide useful information on the quality of education. There was not enough demographic data found to check against the number of schools in a particular district. Teacher to student ratio was also not a good indicator of problems reported in the news. The teacher to enrollment ratios was generally very low with a mean of 13 and median of 14. What was needed, was ratio by subject teachers, class size or against the population of eligible children of each area, to provide better insights.

Automatically calculating the distance from points was also considered and matched up with whether there are school bus operators in the area. This was discussed because the distance from schools may not be relevant for rural areas, where there were not enough children to warrant a school within the distance policy. A tool to check distance from a point to the nearest school could be built with the data made available. This could be useful for civil society to use data as evidence to prove that distance was too far or transport not provided for some communities.

Demographic data was found for local councils; this could be used by researchers using local council boundary data on whether there were enough schools against the population of local councils. Interestingly in Malaysia, education is under Federal government and despite having state and local education departments, the administrative boundaries do not match up with local council boundaries or electoral boundaries. This is a planning coordination challenge for policy makers. Administrative local council boundary data was made available as open data thanks to the efforts of another civil society group Tindak Malaysia, which scanned and digitized the electoral and administrative boundaries manually.

Running future expeditions

This was a one day expedition so it was time limited. For running these brief expeditions we learned the following:

  • Focus and narrow down expedition to specific issue
  • Be better prepared, scout for available datasets beforehand and determine topic
  • Focus on central repository or wiki of available data

Thank you to all of the wonderful contributors to the data expedition:

  • Lim Hui Ying (Storyteller)
  • Haris Subandie (Engineer)
  • Jack Khor (Designer)
  • Chow Chee Leong (Analyst)
  • Donaldson Tan (Engineer)
  • Michael Leow (Engineer)
  • Sze Ming (Designer)
  • Swee Meng (Engineer)
  • Hazwany (Nany) Jamaluddin (Analyst)
  • Loo (Scout)

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. , 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


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:

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 15.30.11

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

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.


CodeAcross & OpenDataDay Zagreb 2016

Mor Rubinstein - March 21, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Filip Rodik from Code4Crotaia. 


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 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, 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.



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


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


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.

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