Global Community Stories #6(b): Ireland, Germany and Updates

Ireland: Meetups, OpenSpending projects and prominent media exposure…

In July our Irish group held Open Data Ireland Meetup #9, which was dedicated to ‘Local Government’ and was attended by around 20 people – see follow-up blogs posts among other here and here. In October this was followed up with Open Data Ireland Meetup #10 that focused on “The Way Forward for Open Data in Ireland” (see Storify stream) and just a couple of days ago #11 was held in Dublin and featured, among other, a telecast by Open Knowledge Foundation CEO Laura James.

On the side the Irish group is working on contributing to the Where Does My Money Go project, acting very actively on the Irish front in the Open Government Partnership and reported also that Fingal County Council has became the 1st local authority in Ireland in Open Spending. The next challenge is now to convince and help 33 other local authorities to follow Fingal’s example.

Lastly, the Ireland Open Knowledge Foundation Ambassador Denis Parfenov was prominently featured in The Irish Times as part of a band of Freedom of Information (FOI) advocates putting forward a critique of a proposition to allow adding fees to FOI requests.

Germany: Hackathons, Code for America collaboration, teenage hacker academy, presentations across the world and much, much more…

Our German group is so active we hardly know where to begin – and we’ve had to select only a few of their activities to fit into the Global Community Stories format. Well done Germany! Here we go:

In cooperation with the Museum of Jewish Culture, the German Digital Library, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Wikimedia Germany, Internet and Society Co:llaboratory and iRights, the Germany group is organizing the conference Zugang gestalten! – Mehr Verantwortung für das kulturelle Erbe (Shaping Access! – More responsibility for our cultural heritage) and addressing the shift in their role of cultural heritage institutions, the public expectation towards them and the chances and challenges digitalisation means to them. The conference will take place in Berlin from November 28th – 29th.

Conferences, workshops and talks continue to be important for the mission of FragDenStaat.de project, which the group is also leading. They addressed experts and potential founders at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and attended the International Conference of Information Commissioners to exchange ideas and connect with other professionals in the area.
They also organized a community workshop to educate people about FOI and teach campaigners how to use FragDenStaat.de. A talk has been submitted to the 30th Chaos Communication Congress.

Over the last month members of OKF Germany board and team furthermore participated as speakers and contributors to a range of open knowledge events, including Wikisym/Opensym and Wikimania in Hong Kong, the Service Experience Camp in Berlin, the Open Access days in Hamburg and of course at this year’s Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva.

In September, piggybacking on the elections in Germany, the group organized a hackathon titled Wahl.Daten.Helfer that invited the community to build their own “polling stations” in their hometown and to reinterpretate information about candidates, results and historic election development. Later that month they organized an open data hack weekend for teenagers: Jugendhackt. The event was co-organised with their partner Young Rewired State and took place in Berlin. The results were simply overwhelming: more than 60 young coders (between 12 and 18 years) and 25 mentors worked in 15 teams developing awesome apps based on open datasets (schools, nature, elections etc.). See photos here, videos here and projects here. If all goes as planned this will repeated in 2014!

In the near future the group has scheduled a hack day on Geodata to take place on Open Data Day next year (Feb 22 2014). Similarly, they will dive into making a Culture Hack day working with The German Museum of Technology and the German National Library – in collaboration with Wikimedia Germany. Open Knowledge Foundation Germany is also part of the international expansion of the successful Code for America Program. Together with Code for America and our main sponsor Google they will introduce the fellowship program to Germany at the beginning of 2014.

Lastly, one of the most important events in the upcoming year is of course the OKFestival 2014 and the Germans are thrilled that it will be held in Berlin! As the annual conference of the entire Open Knowledge Foundation Network, OKFestival is organised by the OKFN central, but the German group will of course contribute and help ensure making this a really great event.

…and in shorter news:

Our new Swedish Ambassador and his group recently organized their first science seminar on Open Design, and in Brazil they shared how they used the OpenSpending API to visualise Brazilian government spending. Open Knowledge Foundation Finland and Brazil have started visualizing their projects using the Hackdash software – see their activities here and here. In France, they’ve been translating School of Data into French, Ecole des Données, and in Scotland they held a very successful Meetup recently, and did a fabulous job of documenting it – catch the livestream videos here and here, read follow-up blog posts here, here and here.

In India, the group is developing a series of projects including OpenEducation, Open Data, Open Science & Research and the Vitayard Open Science Platform. Furthermore they recently participated in a workshop on Open Science and Open Data, held at the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore, in the beginning of October.

Many groups also got engaged around the Open Data Index release in October, as mentioned earlier herein. The release was mentioned in ao. The Guardian, The Economist and lots of local media around the world – thanks to localization efforts around our Local Groups: In Taiwan they crafted a Chinese (traditional) version and other groups made French, Egyption, Irish, German and Danish comments.

In the days to come, Open Knowledge Foundation Nepal will organize Open Election Data Week from 24th to 30th Nov 2013 – read more about that here. We’ve also heard news from our Japanese group, that they’re getting ready to launch Spending Stories in Japanese. Watch this space!