During recent years, the Russian Federation has undertaken a number of developments in its open data legislation strategy. This trend inspired a team of professionals to get together and start a non-profit organization, “INFOKULTURA”.
Understanding that data availability is crucial for an information society and the development of an information culture, we emphasise the establishment and promotion of Open Data concept though a number of activities, for example the Apps4Russia Contest, conferences, seminars, research and expertise provision. It is worth mentioning that not only technical capacities and access to the Internet are needed to promote the idea of informational culture as an important social topic: the lack of administrative burden, technological, legal, time and other constraints on the data availability are essential. These problems can be solved with the help of open licenses, open standards and open data sources.
Here in Russia, there is growing interest among society and State authorities
in Open Data expertise, and in responding to it “INFOKULTURA” has developed a set of
proposals in support of the development, implementation and promotion of effective tools for
efficient and successful information interaction between government and
During discussions and team meetings it was agreed that the main goals of the
organization should be focused on promoting the following ideas:
- Information Culture – human activity that is associated with self-actualization and the individual initiatives manifested within the information society. Information culture is based on new data production, communication,
environment change, integration of humanity into a common information space and the development of digital tools in order to create more varieties of information.
- Open Government – new modes of interaction between the government authorities and other public institutions in which the bodies that compose the state government provide a broad disclosure of its activities, provide feedback mechanisms for citizens and public institutions, and an operational set of tools for citizens and public institutions to influence the decision-making process.
- Civilian Control – the way the society can have influence with government bodies and institutions, develop the public good, and help to solve social problems.
- Plain Language – the idea that the society deserves clear communications
from the government authorities – clear and concise language designed to ensure
the recipient understands as quickly and completely as possible. Plain language seeks
to be easy to read, understand, and use.
- Understandable Government – a new platform to broaden and
ease official communications between government and society
via Infographic tools, Clear visualized guidance and other comprehensive interaction
mechanisms that designed to help people find out new ways to engage with State
agencies, and take action to improve the way they work.
In April 2012 the second Apps4Russia contest was announced at RIF+CIB
2012, the Internet industry’s main event in Russia.
The Apps4Russia contest was initiated to promote the idea of Open Data. The
main goal is to encourage Russian developers to create
projects based on Open Government Data, aiming to increase public benefit and improve
In 2011 the Apps4Russia was held in the private initiative format with a prize fund of
EUR 4,000. This year the prize fund has been significantly increased since it is expected that
more developers from various levels, inlcuding school students, will submit to the contest.
In 2011 the following Submissions were nominated and awarded:
- “Fire tracking concept” – public monitoring of the natural resources;
- “DataPult” – interactive infographics data based on downloaded statistics;
- “Warfly: World War II aerial photography” – aerial photographs of Russian and West European cities during the period 1939-1945. All photographs are synchronized with modern landscape.
This year all submissions will be reviewed under the following categories:
- Great — main competition for all developers. (Examples topics: anti-corruption,
clear and plain statistics, environmental monitoring, Russia’s role in the global
- Junior — school students competition (individual and group entries)
- Visualization — interactive and poster infographics competition based on Open
- Cities and urban life environment — web-sites and applications created to
improve urban life environment, through citizens and community initiatives
Call for Proposals timeframe: April – September
Summing up date – 12 September 2012 (Day of the Programmer).
Official web-site: http://www.apps4russia.ru
Ivan is director at NGO "Informational Culture" and founder of the OpenGovData.ru project, as well as lots of other Russian e-Government and open data initiatives. He is a member of the OKF's working group on open government data.
He has worked as a programmer, systems architect and project manager of various russian system integration companies, and has more than 6 years experience in russian procurement automation and e-Government projects.