Global Community Stories #5: Nepal, Czech Republic, Greece, Japan, Brazil and Texas US.

 

The global community of Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups around the world is once again brimming with great tales of how the community is working tirelessly to promote open data and open knowledge around the world. This time we hand the mic to our friends in Japan, Brazil, Nepal, Greece, Czech Republic and Texas, United States.

In Brazil, Open Science was kicked off in style and international OKF meet-ups took place…

In June the first national meeting of the Brazilian Open Knowledge Foundation working group on Open Science took place in São Paulo. The first day over 60 people participated in round tables throughout the day, covering the many aspects of openness in science: education, publications, tools, data, citizenry and research. It was followed on the next day by a workshop at Casa Nexo, a center for collaborative culture, where a smaller group of about twenty people engaged in hands-on learning of the topics and sketched an action plan for the group.
The working group has grown significantly from the meeting, and is quite energetic. Current priorities include building a knowledge base, publicizing open scientific practices and studies about them while encouraging peers to adopt, and engaging opportunities to promote change in institutions and public policy. A website was set up for the event, which afterwards was repurposed as a public face and communication channel for the group, in addition to the mailing list, wiki and chat.

Alexandre Abdo, the main facilitator for the working group and member of the advisory board of OKF Local Group Brazil, also visited London in early July for a write-shop organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation as part of the Open Science for Development project.

Meanwhile, on the open data front, the last week of June was entirely dedicated to events in Montevideo, Uruguay. First with ABRE LATAM, where Michael Bauer (School of Data) and Zara Rahman (OKF Local Groups Community Manager) announced the Spanish version of the School of Data, and Everton Alvarenga (OKF Local Group Brazil) had the opportunity to meet Eduardo Bejar of OKF Local Group Equador, among other groups supporting open data in Latin America, such as D.A.T.A. from Uruguay. Next was the Regional Conference on Open Data, with strong participation from the OKF Local Group Brazil team giving talks during the conference’s panels: Everton Alvarenga and Gisele Craveiro of the steering committee, Thiago Rondon, Ariel kogan and Vagner Diniz of the advisory board.

In Japan, “Where Does My Money Go?” activities have become infectious…

“Where Does My Money Go? (WDMMG)” activities are gaining ground across cities all over Japan. Accordingly, OKF Local Group Japan has been receiving increasing number of inquiries on how to develop WDMMG sites from both forward-looking local government officials and interested individuals.
In a year, since the first release of the first WDMMG site for Yokohama in July 2012, the number of WDMMG participating cities has jumped to 19 by July 2013. Enthusiastic engineers are forming a community of practice led by Hal Seki, Georepublic Japan, to share know-hows and experiences on WDMMG development and helping new members to become able to develop new WDMMGs for their interested cities. National media outlets such as Nikkei, Asahi and NHK have covered the growing WDMMG activities as a new phenomena caused by Open Government Data movement in Japan.

Building on this growing attention to WDMMG, and as mentioned briefly in the last Global Community Stories #4 update, the OKF Local Group Japan is planning to conduct an Spending Data Party on July 20th and 21st to further assist interested city officials, engineers and civil society activists to create their target city’s WDMMG sites. This event will be held as a part of Global Spending Party organized along with the OpenSpending community.
The event in Japan will highlight some advanced WDMMG-like activities in Japan, help recently joining players to develop their own sites, and discuss the latest issues on WDMMG development such as budget data standardization and transactional data collection. Please take a look at the WDMMG site in Japan and keep your eyes on new developments!

In Texas, US, Open Knowledge Foundation was presented to the Linux community and a new project idea took shape…

In early June, OKF Local Group Texas Ambassador Heath Rezabek presented a lightning talk at the Texas Linux Festival in Austin TX. He covered quite a bit of ground in his session, introducing approximately 100 TXLF attendees to the Open Knowledge Foundation’s global efforts and its commitment to open knowledge in all its forms. After an overview of the OKFN’s scope, Heath focused in on CKAN and its recent deployment as the open source infrastructure behind data.gov. Finally, Heath issued a call for collaborators in a project of great interest: a proposed custom build of CKAN geared specifically towards serving media-rich content for creative collaboration between digital artists working with original and adapted Creative Commons material.
Numerical datasets may not always require as much media-rich previewing or presentation in CKAN; but an open culture CKAN, designed specifically to foster creative collaboration in the digital arts, would benefit from enhanced previewing and media presentation. This project, a long-term goal of Heath’s in his work with OpenGLAM, also has implications for the long-term preservation of both original and legacy open culture content.
Heath is working on this project as a proof of concept related to long-term preservation of the cultural record. Heath hopes to help jump-start the Texas chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation from the interest generated. If you have interest as well, feel free to contact the OKF Local Group in Texas.

In Nepal, the Local Group was officially kicked off and an OpenSpending City Party was held with great success…

In the earlier parts of the summer lots of events on open data took place in Nepal, including the inaugural kick-off event of the Open Knowledge Foundation Nepal Local Group, where key members came together to discuss areas such as Open Science, Open Design and the Open Definition. During the summer the Nepalese Ambassador also met with people from World Bank, Open Institute, Kenya Open Data Initiative and fellow community members from Open Knowledge Foundation Germany. A more detailed account of the experience exchange can be found on the Local Group Nepal blog, where you will also find reports of heavy networking activity with the local Nepalese open knowledge community – which coincides with connective efforts with the OKF Local Groups in Bangladesh, India and China to discuss regional collaboration and coordination.

Most recently the Nepal Local Group has been a leading part of the global efforts in the OpenSpending project to organize City Spending Data Parties – alongside OKF communities in among other Japan, Canada, Israel, United States and Nigeria.
In Nepal the participants worked on spending data of Kathmandu Metro City and took data from pdf-format, pushed it onto
openspending.org and visualized in online on the Where Does My Money Go portal – before later being presented to an audience of among other CSOs, media and students. For a full account of the activities of the day, see this blog post.

In Czech Republic the School of Data came by and many other events took place…

May was a busy month for the Czech open data community. They were visited by Michael Bauer from Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data and Anna Kuliberda from Fundacja Techsoup who taught a couple of Czech watchdog activists how to master data-driven campaigns. They also organized their 6th meetup, featuring Anna and Michael and also guests from DERI Galway and Tilburg University.
The night opened with a short presentation from Jan Cibulka, one of the brave data driven journalism pioneers in mainstream Czech media. After some hacking with highway accident statistic data, the community engaged in a very inspiring and fruitful discussion about benefits and threats of opening data.

Later in the summer Otakar Motejl Fund together with Faculty of Informatics and Statistics at University of Economics and Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University launched Open Data Forum – an independent expert body dedicated to promoting openness. The Forum kicked-off its activities off with a first Czech Open Data Challenge, an app competition which will award the 20 best apps in various categories.

In Greece, big media praises the Local Group and new tools were released…

In Greece the resolute efforts of the OKF Greece groups was recognized by one of the biggest Greek newspapers, To Wina, which wrote a longer article about the group’s many activities including development work and efforts on the Greek Open Data portal.

The group also released the first version of want2know, a platform inspired by the Open Data Census project, which lets citizens request data they want to know about and in which they want to have open access. The plan is now to integrate the want2know platform with the froide platform in order to use it as a direct application form for public administrations.

Lastly, OKF Greece co-organized the Wikimedia Educational Programme in the School of Mathematics of AUTh with 145 participating students and had great success. Read more about it on the greek blog.

In shorter news…

…we also want to praise Oum Vantharith in Cambodia, one of our new Ambassadors, who was interviewed by the large Phnom Pen Port newspaper about his work for Wikimedia and with starting the local Open Knowledge Foundation group. Read the full article here.