Czech Republic’s First #OpenDataCZ Meetup is a Success

Editor’s Note: This blog post comes from Michaela Rybičková, one of the organisers of the OKFN’s newest regional group in the Czech Republic, #OpenDataCZ. You can find more information about our local groups and chapters here.

Our first Prague open data meetup was held on the 14th of December in the Kulový blesk restaurant. Despite it being a season of Christmas parties and common colds, the attendance was good – fourteen open data enthusiasts from various backgrounds gathered around a table to share their insights and plans. It was a rather informal event intended to bring the community together and meet each other in person.

Lots of interesting issues were discussed. My colleagues and I from Open Society Fund Prague (OSF) introduced the umbrella web for Czech open data initiatives that we are working on. While refreshing us with numerous kinds of local brews, we did a quick “beerstorming” to come up with a resonant brand for the website. Also, the Czech OKFN chapter was discussed; we introduced everyone to the current state and ask them to add their insights and ideas on interesting events.

Another strong topic was the Open Government Partnership (OGP) – commitments for the Czech Republic should be delivered in February, and the 19th of December was the deadline for public comments, so we tried to formulate our requirements.

It was a last-minute effort of quite a small group of people, but it was great to see the community working together and developing a bottom-up influence on government. A few days after sending the document with comments and objectives for OGP, its authors received an email from Marta Léblová, the coordinator of the government anti-corruption committee, in which she thanked them for their meaningful contribution and invited them to an official OGP action plan workshop which would be held on the 16th of January.

The atmosphere of the meetup was sincere and inspiring. The community showed a strong willingness to work together on diverse useful applications, set open data as an important part of government agenda and introduce it to broader public. Our New Year’s resolutions have been made, so now let’s grab our devices and fulfill them!

To get a clearer notion of the amazing potential of #opendatacz, here is a brief summary of the events that the community is preparing for this winter:

January

Launch of several open data projects:

  • umbrella web of Czech open data initiatives (a simple dispatcher for open data related projects) developed by OSF
  • budovanistatu.cz – monitoring the work of government officers and its real impact
  • rozpocetverejne.cz – publishing and visualizing municipal budgets
  • upgrade of Napistejim (Czech version of WriteToThem) – the app is available for a while and quite a lot of emails have been sent, but now couple of new features have been added

These launches should be accompanied by a linked data workshop for open data related initiatives prepared by the people from OpenData.cz.

February

  • Austrian-Czech conference focused on politicians – people from Austrian open data initiatives and politicians that work with them will come to Prague to share their experience with successful use of open data in civil service with their Czech fellows. The event is supported by the LOD2 project.
  • One World Social Innovation: data- driven journalism workshop – OWSI is a competitive section of One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, open to projects that use new media for social good. The organisers prepared a set of accompanying events focused on new technologies and its potential for civic participation and right now they working on a data-driven journalism workshop for journalists and watchdog organizations (follow @OWNewMedia for more information).

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