Open Data Monthly Review 06/2012

A review of latest news and blog posts in the field of open data.  


Open data idea offers payback
While delegates to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities were in town, I helped to give a series of tours of an affordable housing project. There were mayors, councillors and civic administrators who came, looked around and asked a lot of questions. Most had to do with funding streams, but on the last tour the questions focused on problems of homelessness in Saskatoon. I was going to share my thoughts, but I asked them: “Do any of your jurisdictions study root causes of social issues?”

Opening up the voluntary sector: using data to drive innovation
There’s a lot of debate in the sector about open data. How do we share, what do we share, should we share. Having worked in the public sector (who are required by law to be open with data and often embrace the principle), this last sentiment in particular surprises me. Ed Anderton of Nominent Trust argued that sharing data will improve service delivery and help solve broader issues. I absolutely concur, but we can take it further.

Unlocking real-time traffic, bus and rail data powers revolution in travel choices
The owners of real-time transport data are releasing the information to help motorists to change their journeys and the public to discover public transport options for their trips. Making this explosion in information available is not without its challenges. Open Data site fills up with spam
Opened-up government floodgates work both ways. Spammers have forced the Cabinet Office to close portions of the UK’s open data website. Comments have been disabled after the CAPTCHA gateway was smartly circumvented.

Open data: linking Barack Obama, Andrew Lansley and Jon Bon Jovi

What is the connection between Barack Obama, Andrew Lansley and Jon Bon Jovi?
It is doubtful even the most avid pub quizzer would know, but the answer is open data.

Release of cancer figures marks an era of open data
Patients will be able to compare how well each GP performs in saving the lives of people with cancer after the government announces the release online of a new wave of data.

Hack the vote: how open data is giving elections back to the voters
As the world’s economies move from crisis to crisis, governments are falling all over the globe. This has been a year of elections beyond Washington, the power of the vote changing how we see the world. (

Open data white paper promises ’21st Century democracy’
Official data on everything from cancer survival rates to the performance of local schools will be made available to the public under new plans. 

Inside the Open Data white paper: what does it all mean?
Does anyone disagree with more open data? It’s a huge part of the coalition government’s transparency strategy, championed by Francis Maude in the Cabinet Office and key to the government’s self-image. Some Open Data are more open than others

The government’s long-awaited Open Data white paper, published this morning, introduces standards for “higher data usability”, according to the minister in charge.
Frances Maude made the claim in the paper, available here, that was published following an extended period of consultation on how government data should be released.


Open Source Data Solutions Offer Enterprises More than Cost Savings
Forrester predicted earlier this year that we’d see more open source data tools find their way into the enterprise this year, thanks in no small part to the fact that open source rules the Big Data space.

Facing the Open Data Templars at GovCamp in Canberra
Yesterday I delivered the closing keynote at the GovCamp event in Canberra, where government innovators, academics and folks from private sector met to discuss open government and other innovations in the public sector. This followed a GovHack held the days before, where a number of winning applications leveraging open data had been selected.

The truth behind transparency
Put a handful of media reports from the days before Sunshine Week in March next to a series of White House blog entries on keeping citizens informed and you might think they’re talking about two different governments.

Open data systems: a collective response to a collective problem
Imagine the great data sets measuring the life support systems of the planet communicating freely with each other, accessible to the public, supplemented and enriched by crowd-sourced material and constantly generating the kind of analyses that problem solvers around the world could use to find solutions to our most intractable public goods dilemmas.

Open Data Platforms and Local Wikis
I’m enthusiastic about two pieces of technology that I think are constructive for the civic web: open data platforms and local wikis. An open data platform is an online catalog and repository of data that is useful for both people and software programs.

The (somewhat) latest developments in open data
Some of these developments may be dated by a month or more, but we want to make sure they are on your radar by pointing them out here.

EU award for Europeana cultural hackers shows potential of open data
Europeana will today showcase award-winning apps that demonstrate the social and commercial possibilities of open cultural data and its potential to touch everyday lives, at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda Assembly.

Open Data Journalism
In the practical community of professional journalists writing about political events, the term “open data” is hardly ever in circulation. And yet, to those who are doing the best work it’s an invaluable tool. David Simon succeeded in turning the idea that information age journalists need to learn to “do more with less” into a national joke, but the underlying concept makes perfect sense.

Call for Papers: Open Data Academic Research at OKFest
At Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw last year, much discussion took place about academic research around Open Data. In response to these conversations, a specific ‘Open Data Academic Research’ session will be taking place at OKFest this year. The session will bring together a community of researchers from a variety of disciplines who are exploring Open Data from a range of perspectives. 

UK Royal Society: Open Data is the Key to the Second Scientific Revolution
The UK Royal Society is a fellowship of the world’s most brilliant scientists. Founded in 1660, its members have included Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. Distinguished thinkers Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee are current members of the society.

Reasoning and open data
It’s hard to argue with increased government transparency and accountability. Who wouldn’t welcome a bulwark against opportunist backroom deals and increased incentives for rulemakers to think carefully about policy decisions?

5 thoughts on “Open Data Monthly Review 06/2012

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