A new monthly digest showcasing initiatives from local communities across the globe

As you may have seen, the Open Knowledge Foundation’s many (30+!) Local Group communities have been hard at work over the last month, launching several exciting new initiatives, opening up data and engaging regional communities in interesting ways.

Given these new developments, we are happy to launch the first installment of the Global Community Voices series, a monthly wrap-up of some of the most interesting actions and initiatives happening in open knowledge communities around the world.

In Australia, a set of local mapping hackdata events

In Melbourne, the Australian Local Group is planning a set of public community events focused on mapping, data and the neighbourhood. Says Local Group organiser David Flanders, “I think mapping data is going to be a key tool for us and other Local Groups to help make regional data come alive. We are organising a series of hackdata events together with the help of friends from The Age newspaper, TileMill and OpenStreetMap to do cool things like producing printed cycle maps of Melbourne.”

The best part about this event series? “This is the type of thing anyone in any country can do! Who doesn’t want a beautiful printed map?”

In France, new projects around food security and energy conservation

In France, local organisers related to the Open Knowledge Foundation France Initiative have introduced community-focused open knowledge projects in two areas that have become increasingly salient for consumers and producers alike — food security and energy conservation.

The first emergent project, Open Food Facts, is a free, open collaborative database of food facts from around the world that aims to help consumers make better choices about what they put in their body. Based on these interactions, Open Food Facts hopes to motivate existing industries to take more care over the production of their food. A blog post with more details about this new project can be found here — and if you’d like to join the movement, the Open Food Facts team is currently collaborating with the Open Sustainability Working Group to get more people involved from around the world.

The second project, Open Transition Energie, is a collaborative website focused on “sharing, exploring and visualising data and other useful resources to engage with the national debate on energy transition” from a French perspective. Its members have also started a thematic group on the French open data platform NosDonnées.fr to share and reuse data related to this debate. Its organisers add, “We want to promote the work of researchers, engineers, journalists, NGOs and citizens who are interested in the question of the energy transition — so please let us know if you’d like to contribute or share a resource!”

In Greece, praise from Neelie Kroes for a new data portal

As you might have read on this blog last week, we were all quite excited to hear about the launch of a new self-hosted Greek Data Portal run by the talented team behind the Open Knowledge Foundation Greece Initiative, which integrates our data management software CKAN. We were even more excited to find out that European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes had released a public note of support for the new portal!

Says Ms. Kroes, “At a time when many Greeks are looking for new sources of inspiration and hope, I am pleased to say that the Open Knowledge Foundation is one of those sources. I encourage all public bodies to support this effort.”

In Finland, a call for regional working groups

Moving North, in Finland local organisers ran a very successful OKFN Finland Convention last month – and they have introduced another way to get involved with their efforts to engage citizens in open knowledge from a Finnish perspective – local installments of our thematic Working Groups, from Open Science to Open Government! Says the Open Knowledge Foundation Finland ry, “We hope that these regional instalments of Working Groups can work towards concrete change in Finland but also collaborate internationally, in the spirit of ‘think globally, act locally’”. For interested Finns, the OKF FI Board is accepting applications here until March 13, 2013.

That’s it for this edition – big thanks to local organisers in Australia, France, Greece and Finland for their great ideas and innovative new projects! We’ll be back next month with more exciting news from even more member nations across our Local Groups network, so definitely stay tuned!

Featured Image thanks to Daniel Schildt and used originally by the OKFN Finland Convention team.