The seasons of OpenPompei. A project’s diary

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Spring 2013. It’s a strange place for the first team meeting face to face: we come from different cities and we meet at the train Circumvesuviana stop “Villa dei Misteri”.
For the first time the team of OpenPompei meets the Pompei Superintendent. We are here to support the transparency policies of the Grande Progetto Pompei and, starting from open data, experiment with active citizens a new proactive relationship with the archaeological site most talked-about in the world.
We are welcomed with curiosity and a lot of questions: what could mean transparency in Pompeii? What kind of effects could it produce? The best way to answer is to show a demo, which gives a concrete idea of ​​how you might see archaeological, scientific and economic data about restoration and securing.

While a part of the team works on the demo, some of us starts a journey around Pompeii , Naples, Salerno, Aversa looking for active citizens and innovators. What is the link between this research and the transparency of the Grande Progetto Pompei? With the aim to rethink the relationship between citizens and the archaeological area, we believe that we must collaborate with the people who in Pompeii and in other parts of Campania are rethinking a new way of living their land?

Summer 2013. The trips continue, around confiscated property and summer school about rural innovation, social innovators on bike and young’s cooperatives in the suburbs of Naples. Meanwhile the demo is presented to the Superintendency. It’s a big surprise for them discovering the Pompeii map detailed as the one on OpenStreetMap, with icons linked to economic and scientific data, images, easy to consult. But we have no time to gain the first data of Grande Progetto Pompei because a political transition period changes our stakeholders.

Autumn – winter 2013/2014. A political change leads to a new Superintendent, from Dr. Cinquantaquattro to Dr. Osanna, and the foundation of the General Direction of the Grande Progetto Pompei headed by Generale Nistri. The period of adjustement is longer than we expect and so we have the only chance to focus our activities exclusively on civic hacking. So we begin to build upon the relationships created during the research journey. We support two projects of the Department of the politics of development and cohesion. We collaborate with Kublai to organize the Kublai Award in Naples. We support A Scuola di OpenCoesione, an experimental school project in seven Italian cities, including Naples, to build interdisciplinary educational paths starting from the civic monitoring of projects financed by the cohesion policies, using the portal data OpenCoesione. With the team of A Scuola di OpenCoesione we go for three lectures in Naples high school and the energy is incredible. During our travel, we visit a lot of properties confiscated at the Camorra, so we create a collaboration with Monithon and togheter with Libera we organize #OPMeeting: a two-days of civic monitoring in 3 confiscated properties in the Vesuvius area. #OPMeeting is the occasion to create a group of citizens that, a month later, generates a kind of “spin off” of OpenPompei, a real proud for us.

Spring – Summer 2014. In fact during the Spaghetti Open Data meeting, inside an hackathon led by Andrea Borrusowas the group realizes Confiscati Bene, a platform that collects, analyzes and monitoring the informations and the projects about the properties confiscated to organized crime. The idea was born to give order and an easy access to informations not available or fragmented and incompleted into different maps and sites. In the same period, the door of the Grande Progetto Pompei is opened again and so begin meetings with the General Direction for pick up our work at the support of transparency of Grande Progetto Pompei

Fall-Winter 2014-2015. After a summer of hard and silent work, in September  the transparency portal of the Great Pompeii Project is on line and constantly updated. In the meantime, we dono’ t stop the civic hacking activities. We collaborate with Wiki Loves Monuments to gain, for the first time from the Superintendency of Pompeii, the permission to partecipate at the contest. We also organize a photo safari giving away 100 tickets to take a great numer of photos, not only for the contest, but also to increase the Wikimedia Commons database. Also the Wiki Loves Monuments award is organized in the archaeological park. we close this rich winter woth the STVDIVM, a school of open archaeological data, in collaboration with the MIBACT, the Superintendency of Pompeii and the General Direction of the Grande Progetto Pompei, which involves 22 archaeologists from all over Italy.

Now we live the last season of OpenPompei. Our commitment to support the policies of transparency of the Grande Progetto Pompei goes on and for our small community of open archaeologists and for all the citizens who want to take care of Pompeii, are coming more and more surprises and we have the time to build together others moments. A diary of the past seasons is a run-up before the end of the project.

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