Report from the Global Open Data Conference

Report from the Global Open Data Conference

At the end of May, our team from the Center for Open Data Enterprise traveled to Ottawa for the third International Open Data Conference. This global event may be the single largest gathering focused on Open Data. May’s conference brought together about 1500 people – roughly three times the size of the last such conference, held three years ago.

The event demonstrated the accelerating interest in open data and the wide variety of ways it’s being applied. Several sessions highlighted international open data initiatives, like those run by the World Bank and GODAN, the program for Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition.  Others included panelists from every continent discussing open data and  standards, impact measurement, sustainable development, and applications to healthcare, media, the environment, and many other areas.

For our team, the Conference was both a wonderful opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the world, and a chance to share our own work on the Open Data Impact Map, which launched at the conference in beta. The Map is a project of Center for Open Data Enterprise, as part of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network, and has received support from the International Development Research Centre, which co-hosted the conference. The Map is a searchable centralized database of hundreds of open data use cases from around the world. They’re presented in a way that makes it easy to sort and compare these use cases by geographical region, sector, type of organization, type of data use, and other factors.


Our announcement of the Map and our booth at the conference attracted a lot of interest from people who saw the Map as a platform they could use. We launched with 700 use cases from 70 countries – a sample of the larger database we plan to build by 2016. A week after the conference, we received suggestions for 350 additional use cases from people who had heard about it in Ottawa, and had over 1000 unique visitors to the Map webpage from more than 50 countries.

In conversations at the conference, we brainstormed with our international colleagues about ways the Map could help them meet their goals. A U.S. government official, for example, was interested in using the Map to see how health data is applied around the world. A minister from an African government thought about using it as evidence of open data’s value to justify further investment to a new incoming administration. A member of an advocacy group is looking to the Map to understand how nonprofits use open budget data. And private-sector companies are interested in using the Map to see what other companies in their industry are doing with data.

We’re eager to see how all these uses, and others, can help grow the Map’s audience and increase its value to the open data community. The Open Data Impact Map gives policy makers, international organizations, open data advocates, researchers, and entrepreneurs a central place to search through and understand the many ways open data is being used around the globe.


We also encourage you to get involved and help us grow this international resource. Through collaboration and information sharing, we can not only create this Map together – we can also identify and share different experiences, examples, and best practices in open data use.

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Submit Your Organization: do you represent an organization that uses open data? Take our survey to be displayed on the Open Data Impact Map.

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