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← #opendata

A short film about #opendata from the Open Knowledge Foundation. For more information, please see:

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Showing Revision 5 created 04/17/2011 by Nick.

  1. Tom Steinberg: Open Government Data is any information the Government collects, by and large for its own purposes,
  2. that it then makes available for other people to use for their purposes.
  3. Rufus Pollock: It’s government data that’s Open
  4. and Open means free for anyone to use, re-use and redistribute.
  5. Aine McGuire: The Open Data Movement is a way of transforming the relationship between the citizen and government
  6. such that everyone knows what’s going on
  7. and if everyone knows what’s going on
  8. then it will become much more easy for both parties to participate more fairly in society.
  9. Chris Taggart: Our lives are increasingly governed by data, in fact our lives increasingly are data.
  10. Given that, not to be able to look at the information about us,
  11. where we live, who represents us,
  12. companies that do business with the government and so on
  13. starts to undermine democracy.
  14. Rob McKinnon: It is much broader than just government.
  15. Government is actually just one participant in our society.
  16. What we are seeing happening is actually the cusp of a major social change, a global social change.
  17. Together, we have the ability to transform the way society works.
  18. Globally, we are bringing together, through sites such as Wikipedia or collections of structured data,
  19. a big global overview of how society works and how we organise ourselves.
  20. So, we’re just at the beginning of a major change in the way we operate...
  21. Rufus Pollock: There are three ways in which Open Government Data can make the world a better place.
  22. Number one: it enables companies, individuals, not-for-profits
  23. to go and build interesting, useful, valuable applications and services.
  24. Number two, I think it’s about democracy, it’s about the participating in government, it’s about transparency,
  25. allowing us to see what our government is doing.
  26. And number three: I guess is why not?
  27. It is basically costless to open up government data,
  28. so why not open up the data that is already there and is already being collected.
  29. Tom Steinberg: Open Data is important for several different reasons
  30. and none of them is more important than the other.
  31. We have the possibility of generating economic value,
  32. which is at the forefront of many people’s minds in hard times like these.
  33. The creation of more jobs and more companies,
  34. and more profitable companies to generate more tax revenue.
  35. That's obviously a big thing about the potential power of open data.
  36. There is also the classic old fashioned issue of making data open and available so that we can see potential corruption
  37. and misuse of public money and practices that are unfair or illegal and nothing to do with money but are hidden in some way.
  38. Ton Zijlstra: You can expect people to start businesses by adding value to data,
  39. taking that data and using it for a certain application.
  40. It’s also about transparency
  41. but it’s also about people empowering themselves to be better able to make decisions about their own lives
  42. based on information that wasn’t available before.
  43. And it’s also about making the organisations which create this data more efficient and effective themselves.
  44. Rufus Pollock: For example we do a project called
  45. to help show you where your tax money goes, which I think is a really important part.
  46. I think it would be interesting to know, ‘this is the biggest contribution I make to the state - where is this money going?’
  47. Without open data in government, I can’t answer that question.
  48. David Eaves: We use Federal Pollution data and we mash it up into a map with electoral data
  49. to show you near your postal code or in any area you care about
  50. what facilities are near you and how they pollute and what they pollute and whose riding they are in.
  51. So you can begin to examine what the pollution levels around you are like.
  52. Tom Steinberg: MySociety builds various different civic and social websites and look after them.
  53. And by civic and social website I mean services that do things like tell you:
  54. ‘who is my politician?’ ‘how do I write to them?’ ‘what do they say in parliament?’, ‘how do they vote?’, ‘what do they do with the money they get?’
  55. - that’s on the democratic side.
  56. On the civic side we build services that say: ‘how do I get problems on my street fixed?’
  57. ‘how do i get information that I need to out of the government?’
  58. And soon ‘how do I get my transport problems fixed?’, which is forthcoming...
  59. David Eaves: In Vancouver the garbage schedule is very dynamic...
  60. it changes on a regular basis and people always forget when to take their garbage out.
  61. And so now they can just go to a site and they can register
  62. and we’ll send them an email that says “Tomorrow is your garbage day”.
  63. It’s the type of application that the ordinary citizen wraps their head around very quickly,
  64. it delivers immediate use to them.
  65. And so when people see VanTrash, they say, "so is this part of what Open Data is about?"
  66. And we say, “Yes” and they say, “I want more of this in my life”
  67. Richard Cyganiak: On the level of the European Union,
  68. it would be really interesting if we could actually get all of this data into a single place
  69. so that we can search across the countries and actually start to compare things across countries.
  70. Jack Thurston: What we are trying to do with
  71. is connect all the different government disclosures into one single data centre.
  72. So that citizens can go online and find out what is going on not only in their country
  73. but in other countries and they can make comparisons about how much farms get in one part of the EU compared to another,
  74. how much citizens put in to the policy,
  75. how much it costs them if they are in one country as opposed to another country.
  76. This is the seeds of a pan-European debate that ought to be there,
  77. seeing as we have a pan-European policy.
  78. Erik Swanson: One of my favourite examples of how World Bank Data has been reused occurred very soon after we opened up the database.
  79. We got a message back from a group that had simply taken our entire database
  80. and analysed where all the gaps were in the data
  81. and then produced maps showing country by country, indicator by indicator, year by year
  82. where the gaps were in the data.
  83. It didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know
  84. but it told it to us in a way we hadn’t seen before
  85. and of course it made it public for everyone else to look at as well.
  86. Karin Christiansen: We are at the point where we need the data released
  87. and we need a standard for that data to come out so that we can map it and compare it.
  88. Because what’s needed in Uganda, in Afganistan
  89. is not just knowing what DFID is doing with UK money,
  90. what American money is doing, but about how this all fits together.
  91. Simon Parrish: We are working on an initiative called the International Aid Transparency Initiative
  92. which is about developing standards for how donors involved in government should be transparent about the aid that they give.
  93. Both to be accountable to the citizens and taxpayers in their own countries
  94. but also to a variety of stakeholders in the developing countries
  95. from governments of those countries, to civil society organisations, to parliamentarians
  96. who all want better information about the money that is coming into their country.
  97. The openness and availability of this information has the potential to radically change
  98. the way in which AID money is spent and the effectiveness with which aid money is spent.
  99. The importance is on the openness of that data so that it could be reused by different groups in different ways
  100. to make it accessible for different groups in a way that meets their own specific needs.
  101. Erik Swanson: Some of Hans Rosling’s bubble charts,
  102. the Gapminder software in which he illustrates the progress of countries over time,
  103. using charts that are animated and move...
  104. Even before our data became available, Hans was using it in his Gapminder charts
  105. and it has been terribly effective in raising awareness of development issues.
  106. Tom Steinberg: How can you persuade governments that maybe aren’t interested in Open Data
  107. that it is worth spending their time and money and effort to pay any attention?
  108. I think that demonstration is really the key here.
  109. Demonstration of services that are good, that are useful...
  110. and in particular services that are easy to explain, that offer very obvious value and general benefit as opposed to very niche benefit...
  111. David Eaves: We have three goals.
  112. The first is: let’s help build community around open data in as many cities as want it all around the world.
  113. Second, let’s give a place where local politicians and government officials can come meet people that care about this,
  114. meet people who are engaging on it and also see all of the cool things that are going on around the world
  115. and see how much is actually going on and that others are doing it and that they can do it too.
  116. Then the third is, let’s actually build something.
  117. Let’s try and get each community to build something
  118. because nothing gets people understanding why open data matters more than when they see a really profound visualisation
  119. that allows them to understand their community in a way they never had before.
  120. Jack Thurston: Our job is to remind people how important it is
  121. that they have access to data about what it is their government does,
  122. whether that is getting journalists to write stories, helping NGOs to build their campaigns around data
  123. or just creating web apps for ordinary citizens to go online and find out about what’s going on.
  124. We need to be able to demonstrate that a world in which government data is open is better than a world in which it is closed.
  125. Rufus Pollock: Normally the best things to come out of a new technology are ones that are not thought of.
  126. Imagine electricity, in the 1820’s when Faraday was demonstrating electricity to Gladstone at the Royal Society.
  127. Gladstone says to Faraday,
  128. “Yeah it’s very neat, you can make frogs’ legs twitch but what’s the point of electricity?”
  129. Faraday says back to Gladstone,
  130. “Well what’s the point of a baby? ...
  131. It’s going to grow into something...”
  132. And I think the point here about open data is that we are living in an information age,
  133. an information society - data and information are the key infrastructure of that world.
  134. Ton Zijlstra: If you look at the way that humans solve problems we usually try to jump to easy solutions
  135. even if they are hard and complex problems.
  136. So I think we need to use the data that we hold about our lives and our environment as a way to find
  137. less easy but workable answers to the hard questions that we face.