Open it to fix it

How Nigerians are shedding light on public deals with dataProcurement monitor Nonye Onumonu during a mission to inspect 37 government school contracting projects across Nigeria (Credit: PPDC)

On a hot, dry day in February 2017, Nonye Onumonu boards a small wooden boat

Posted in Benefits of open data, Data, Greater efficiency, Informing Decision-making, Posts from feeds, Saving money, Transparency Tagged with: , , ,

Creative Commons and Hope — How Open Access Journals Helped Me in a Dark Time

I’m bad with linear time. Sometime about two months ago, my daughter was four months old. She was healthy and happy and life was good for our family. When we brought her in for her four-month vaccination, I asked our

Posted in Education, Posts from feeds, Public Health, Quality of life, Research, Resilience Tagged with: , , , , ,

US EPA Orders Turn-Off of Open Data Service on 28-Apr-2017

The US Government’s largest civilian linked open data web service is scheduled to go dark at 12noon US ET Friday 28-April 2017.

23-April 2017 — Last week, after numerous conversations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Information (OEI), and various technical

Posted in Open Government, Posts from feeds, Transparency Tagged with: , , , , ,

Using mySociety’s APIs for #ge2017

If you’re living in the UK, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the Prime Minister Theresa May has put the wheels in motion for a UK General Election on June 8th. This means that an estimated 47 million UK

Posted in Benefits of open data, democracy, Informing Decision-making, Posts from feeds, Smart communities, Transparency Tagged with: , , , , ,

Trump Presidency Sees Spike in “Open Data Day” Events Across US Cities

After a two-year decline in the number of “Open Data Day” events held in US cities, the Trump presidency has seen renewed interest in organizing the event, and given it new meaning.

By Aaron Wytze

It’s hard to say what first alarmed data scientists

Posted in Benefits of open data, democracy, Informing Decision-making, Journalism, Posts from feeds, Quality of life, Resilience, Smart communities, Transparency Tagged with: , ,

EPCs in 3D — Help needed!

Buildings in Manchester City Centre (not) coloured according to their energy rating

I was going through the recently-released energy performance certificate data, and wanted to join the ranks of people who’ve made awesome things with the data.

One of the things I really wanted

Posted in Posts from feeds, Visualising data Tagged with: , , , , , ,

A Story About Open Data (and Snow)

Open access to publicly-funded research accelerates discovery and progress

By Jen Caltrider, Global Campaigner, Mozilla

It’s Tax Day. Let me tell you a story about my buddy Erik, snow, your taxes, and open data.

Here in Colorado where I live, people love snow. It fuels

Posted in Benefits of open data, Commercial opportunities, Informing Decision-making, Neat tools, Posts from feeds, Quality of life Tagged with: , , , ,

‘Bring Open Data to Your School’: connecting teens with open data in Argentina

With access to more data about their communities, teenagers can use it to shape decisions and plan their futures. Supported by the ODI’s mini-grants programme, the Argentine Government set out to empower young people with tools to find and compare information that could make a difference

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Photo: Esther Vargas

By Marisol Parnofiello

How can teenagers be empowered to generate and use data about their communities? This is something we at the Open Data and Innovation team in the Argentine government have been focusing on recently, with our ‘Bring open data to your school’ programme and application.

The problem

Opening data is only worthwhile if it is used. That is why we do everything we can to connect open data with citizens, helping them to realise that open data is a powerful resource for understanding their environment and for making better decisions every day.

We think that open data could be particularly useful for teenagers. In such a crucial time of their lives – when they have to make so many decisions about education and employment – having easy access to data could help enormously.

To enable this, we need to increase young people’s knowledge of open data and their data literacy skills to use it. We also need to bring them the right open data to inform them of their communities. We decided that developing an application would be the best way to achieve this, since many young people are already familiar with that technology.

Building the app

To help build the application, we engaged industry experts including digital agency Aerolab, to help design user experience for teens, and educational foundation Eidos, to design open data learning activities around the app.

Our aim was to create a simple and responsive tool that could be used for young people to search, find and compare information. The application drew upon data from the 2010 Argentine Census of Population and Housing Census, to allow teenagers using the app to compare:

  • their local reality versus the reality of different places around the country
  • their perception versus the reality

The app is structured around questions to help students apply this data to relatable issues, such as:

What percentage of teenagers between 15 and 18 years old do you think go to school in your neighbourhood?

Users are asked to answer the question with a number or percentage based on their knowledge or assumptions. The app then compares the user’s guess and the true answer, showing the data in an understandable way through a data visualisation. Pretty simple!

During the project, the government team also engaged in regular, remote mentoring sessions with the ODI team in London, who offered feedback and advised on project implementation.

Testing the app

After four months in development, the Eidos team launched the app with a sample group of 20 adolescents in December 2016. The session was held at La Casa Nacional del Futuro, a new innovative centre designed to gather young people together to improve their technical knowledge and skills.

Three mentors from Eidos began the session by describing what open data is and how important it is to make decisions based on evidence. Later, teens tried the app and created visualisations with data that were then shared on social media.

During the session, teens enjoyed using the app to compare data about their neighbourhoods with other places in the country, especially those ones far away from the capital, Buenos Aires. Tomas, a student at the session, described his reactions to the data he saw:

I was really surprised [to learn] about how many children go to school in my neighbourhood. I thought it was almost the half the correct number. That was shocking.

Another student, Ludmila, noted that “there is so much more information than I thought”, and that “there are many possibilities [with open data]”.

What we learned

Young people are really interested in open data, and want to use it to help make decisions. We’d recommend that other organisations working with young people consider how they can introduce data in a way that is relevant to young people, focusing on topics they understand, like sports or food.

We want to reach more young people to help them experience the world of open data. As a result, Eidos and the Open Data and Innovation team will be creating a guide, so mentors and teachers elsewhere in the country can deploy the same activities in their own classrooms. Watch this space!

Bring Open Data to Your School has been supported by the ODI’s mini-grant programme, which included remote mentoring and a grant of £6,500 to support the development and implementation of the project. The project was supported by the Open Data for Development (OD4D) programme, a partnership funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Marisol Parnofiello is UX Content Manager of the Argentine Government Open Data Team. Follow @datosgobar on Twitter

If you have ideas or experience in open data that you’d like to share, pitch us a blog or tweet us at @ODIHQ

Posted in Benefits of open data, Education, Innovation, Posts from feeds, Smart communities Tagged with: , , ,

Data Pitch: a new Europe-wide data accelerator launches today

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  • Up to 50 startups and SMEs to receive equity-free funding of up to €100k
  • European Commission commits €7.1m into data driven innovation, and €4.8M to directly fund startups and SMEs over the next 3 years
  • Startups will work with data from established businesses to tackle top industry and societal challenges
  • Data Pitch follows the lead of Open Data Incubator Europe (ODINE), whose 57 successful projects generated €16M in sales and investment since its launch in 2014, and created 268 jobs
  • The three-year project will be delivered by the Open Data Institute, The University of Southampton, Portuguese innovation company Beta-i and French data marketplace platform Dawex. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Announced today, Data Pitch is a new European-funded project bringing together established businesses and startups to meet today’s challenges with data.

Data Pitch will provide up to 50 European startups and SMEs with world-class business support including: up to €100K equity-free funding, expert mentoring, investment opportunities, and access to data from established businesses and the public sector.

Data Pitch is also recruiting businesses and other organisations to share their data via a new, secure data innovation lab, based at the University of Southampton. They will also help define the challenges along with the Data Pitch team and a range of industry experts spanning from agriculture to health. Startups will be encouraged to use this data to address the challenges by developing innovative products and services.

Startups and SMEs will be able to apply for a place on Data Pitch from 1 July 2017.

Successful startups will be selected in October and November 2017, and the first cohort will join in December 2017. Each startup will be on the programme for six months.

The ambition is to create an innovation ecosystem for Europe, where larger organisations work closely with agile startups to innovate and learn from each other, using data as an enabler to solve problems.

Elena Simperl, Professor at University of Southampton and Data Pitch project Director said:

Data Pitch will create a European ecosystem for data-driven innovation. In the digital age, every organisation – public or private, big or small – generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all of them have the opportunity to use this data effectively. With Data Pitch, we take an established open innovation model and apply it at European scale – we pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science, and for society as a whole.

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the ODI said:

Startups have the skills, agility and energy to create novel and innovative solutions using data. Corporates need to understand the benefits of publishing and sharing data to take advantage of this innovation and realise the efficiencies, product opportunities and increased productivity that effective use of data can bring. Data Pitch will allow both corporates and startups to experiment with ways of encouraging open innovation using data in a safe environment.

Data Pitch will begin by running online and offline ‘datathons’ in Spring 2017, around themes including smart cities, health and wellbeing, and food and agriculture. Ideas for the datathons will be crowdsourced and put forward by data providers, bringing together startups, data scientists and experts to work on a case during a hackathon.

For more information go to: www.datapitch.eu

Posted in Benefits of open data, Commercial opportunities, Innovation, Posts from feeds, Smart communities Tagged with: , , , ,

What is data asymmetry?

You’ve just parked your car. Google Maps offers to record your current location so you can find where you parked your car. It also lets you note how much parking time you have available.

Sharing this data allows Google Maps to provide you

Posted in Benefits of open data, Big Data, Data, Informing Decision-making, Neat tools, Posts from feeds, Smart communities, Visualising data Tagged with: , , , , , ,