European Open Data Summit

Last week was the first European Open Data Summit in Brussels (which we blogged about here) organised by EU Transparency, who created The event brought together journalists, researchers, civic hackers, and representatives from European institutions for two days of documenting and building on documents and datasets from European institutions and member states.

At the press briefing, Farm Subsidy announced their compilation and analysis of material regarding the Common Agricultural policy – which received coverage on the front page of the International Herald Tribune and in the New York Times. The cleaned up data will be published in full in the near future. The event was attended by a representative of Vice-President of the European Commission, Siim Kallas, who was today honoured for his commitment to openness by the European Information Association.

We had a presentation from Sara Hagemann of which was launched today (see here and here). The new service is a bit like Publicwhip or mySociety’s TheyWorkForYou, aiming to provide:

detailed information about parliamentarians’ voting records and formal political activities – from committee work to parliamentary reports – and includes easy-to-access information on the political coalitions that are formed around policy issues.

Unfortunately from their disclaimer it doesn’t look like their code or content is open – but we hope they consider using an open license so others are free to build on their work with new features to help the public to understand and explore what goes on in the European Parliament.

I presented our work on the European Open Data Inventory, which currently includes nearly 150 packages. You can see these under the ‘eutransparency’ tag on CKAN:

For each package we looked for legal information and whether or not items could be downloaded in bulk – providing direct download links where possible. Data includes everything from budget information to statistics to postcode databases. Material that was identified as particularly ripe for re-use included:

During the Summit we added several more packages and drilled down into some that were already listed. We explored material published on beneficiaries of the EU Cohesion Fund. Currently material is linked to via an image map of the member states and then regions within those states – so we used Julian Todd’s Codewiki to collate the links into a single list. While some member states publish material as a single machine readable file (France is a good example of this) – many publish information in PDF on a variety of websites for different regional authorities (such as the UK), which have to be scraped before the data can be readily re-used or compared to information from other member states.

If you know of any datasets from European institutions or member states, we hope you consider adding them to CKAN!

For more information you can see:

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.