Are the terms 'PDF' and 'Open' compatible?
James King, Technical Lead on the Portable Document Format (PDF) standardization, will take part in the W3C's workshop about Open Data on the Web to be held on April 23-24 in London, UK. He will give a talk titled "The Role of PDF and Open Data", where he will analyse the potential of the most famous format for documents on the Web to enable reusing its embedded data.
As James, who is Senior Principal Scientist for Adobe Systems Inc., has said: "The challenge has been to find ways to have your cake and eat it too: to have a highly controlled and crafted final presentation and yet keep the ability to reshape the same content into some other form."
King's talk will prove an interesting keynote to open this workshop, which will serve to inform the future of Open Data in W3C. Check the agenda and all the information about the workshop on its website.
54% of requests for information from Spanish public institutions in 2012 have received no answer.
Administrative silence seems to be the default response to citizen pleas for public information in Spain. At least during the past year, according to the 'Tuderechoasaber.es 2012' report ('Your Right to Know') recently published by Access Info Europe and Fundación Ciudadana Civio.
The report's conclusions are based on 567 requests for information made between 20 March and 31 December 2012. 306 of the total number of petitions, or 54%, were ignored, while the remaining 46% that were acknowledged left much to be desired: 14% got an incomplete or unsatisfactory reply or were rejected outright
In 12% of the cases, the public institutions said they didn't have the requested information, and 7% of requests were sent paperwork to fill out, a process the report sees as creating further obstacles for citizens' access to information.
These published results seem to reflect the widening chasm between public administrations and citizens in Spain, an especially acute problem because no legal framework exists for access to public sector information. While governments in other countries are legally bound to facilitate information to their citizens, Spain is only now debating similar legislation. The country's first Transparency Law does feature on the political agenda (the draft was presented on 26 March 2012), but Civio says it is insufficient and will do little to improve access to practical information.
Civio, an organization that's highly active in promoting PSI reuse, and Access Info Europe have come up with some suggestions to amend the draft Transparency Law. You can read them here.
The Global Integrity Fund has selected proposals from Spain, Serbia and Macedonia for their creative ideas to stem corruption.
The TESTING 1 2 3 Global Integrity Innovation fund has announced the top 5 entries (among 300 in total) that will receive funding to test unique ways of addressing corruption, poor transparency, and low levels of accountability in governments around the globe.
'Simply Visualizing Politics' (Macedonia), 'Hidden Agenda' (Spain), 'Veritza.org' and 'Access to Urban Development Regulations' (Serbia) are among the winning candidates:
Simply Visualizing Politics - Macedonia
Simply Visualizing Politics employs text-based mining techniques and filters records of debates in the Macedonian parliament. The idea is to collect and display trends to inform voters about the interests of their political leaders, and the issues they support.
The project aims to test whether data mining algorithims serve to trace patterns of political behaviour.
Hidden Agenda - Spain
Its creators hope that crowd-sourced images will expose lobbying efforts that often remain under the radar, despite being in the public interest.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about the transparency deficit in Spain in order to promote legislative change forcing the creation of a lobbyist’s register and the publication of officials’ agendas,” says Hidden Agenda creator David Cabo.
Veritza.org - USA/Serbia
Veritza.org is a real-time corruption alert system that will use algorithims to 'scrub' government datasets in order to predict potential instances of corruption or abuse of power.
Planizacija.rs: Access to Urban Development Regulations - Serbia
This online platform will provide access to regulatory documents for urban development in Serbia. It will archive technical policy materials and shape them into understandable and accessible tools for citizen engagement in urban planning.
The new section is included in the Digital Agenda for Europe's "Content and Media" tab.
The European Commission (EC) has recently rebranded and relocated its Public Sector Information policy web content, choosing the more popular Open Data brand and inserting the refashioned page into the Digital Agenda website. The move gives the page more prominence, reflecting the EC's commitment to Open Data.
The new menu bar is sleek, but stores more information than before, much of which is accessible through hyperlinks on each page (instead of through the menu bar only, as before). Another novelty is the twitter stream @EC_opendata.
For the moment, old content is still searchable through Google, as transferring archives and inserting redirects will take some time.
Check out the new Open Data website here.
ePSI Platform's Scoreboard has been updated. Check out your country's score!
The PSI scoreboard is a crowdsourced initiative that measures the status of Open Data and PSI reuse throughout the EU. The data is compiled using a combination of internet research and information from local experts.
The scoreboard measures 7 aspects of PSI re-use (see full indicator description):
-Implementation of the PSI Directive (based on 2 indicators) -The practice of re-use (based on 5 indicators) -Formats (based on 4 indicators) -Pricing (based on 3 indicators) -Exclusive arrangements (based on 3 indicators) -Local PSI (based on 3 indicators) -Events and activities (based on 3 indicators)
A country can score up to a 100 points on each of these 7 aspects, for a total of up to 700 points. A country will only be able to score 700 if they have an impressive track record in the field. Since the PSI scoreboard is directed at the state of play in Member States, a lot of the current indicators are based on national policies, laws etc. When indicators cease to be discerning we will remove them or alter them.
Check out your country's score here
The second edition of this global data festival kicks off on Monday, featuring events in over 25 cities.
This global Big Data Week brings together a worldwide community of data scientists, data technologies and data businesses spanning major commercial, financial, social, and technological sectors. The festival connects over 25 cities (click here to view events in your city) through locally hosted meetups, events, networking functions, data visualisation demos, debates, discussion, and hackathons.
Below are some examples of events that feature different aspects of Public Sector Information (PSI) reuse:
22 April, 17:00-18:00. Barcelona, Spain.
Organised by Catalunya Dades
23 April, 18:30-21:30. Madrid, Spain.
"Communication and Big Data"
Organised by Macrodatos
25 April. London, UK.
"Putting Data to Work"
27-28 April. Leeds, UK.
Big Data Challenge - How Healthy is your City?
Organised by Leeds Data Thing.
For more information and to see the full programme of events, click here.
Oil, gas, mining, and logging companies will now have to publish details of payments they make.
The European Union decided on 9 April 2013 that all EU-listed or large privately owned oil, gas, mining and logging companies will be required to publish payments over €100,000 they make for access to natural resources in all countries where they operate.
The new legislation forms part of the revised European Accounting and Transparency directives to be formally agreed upon by member states and the European Parliament, and does not contain any exemptions. Several oil companies have claimed that certain countries do not disclose payments to governments, but these examples have not in the end affected the EU oil and mining transparency law.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act in the United States set the precedent, as it required all oil, gas and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to publish their payments to all countries and for every project without exception.
The agreement coincides with UK Prime Minister David Cameron's G8 chairmanship, which features globalising these laws beyond the US and Europe in its plans.
Read the full press release, from Publish What You Pay (PWYP) here.
'ReisRadar' and 'Shark Park Best Bet': best in Rotterdam's open data challenge.
Learn everything you need to know about your daily commute in real-time, when the best time to leave the house is, and where to find the best parking spot around at the touch of a button. The two apps that facilitate this information are called 'ReisRadar' and 'Shark Park Best Bet,' and were recently awarded best in show at Rotterdam's 'Avoid the Traffic Jam' open data challenge. The event was organized by the Rotterdamse Verkeersonderneming and the Open State Foundation as part of the 'Internet of Things', and consisted of developing apps based on open traffic data to help prevent traffic jams in the region of Rotterdam. Developers were allowed to use the data available in the Rotterdam Open Data Store.
The ReisRadar app was submitted by the Waag Society, and imports mobility data like timetables, traffic, or weather forecasts, linking them to the OpenStreetMap database. The app is still being developed, but here is an example of how this works in Amsterdam, and here's a preview of the interface for end users.
Shark Park Best Bet app
The Shark Park Best Bet app is by Firefly IT and is an extension of the existing Park Shark app, which informs users of inexpensive parking nearby. Shark Park Best Bet builds on that and includes information on when a parking garage is free and when the best time to leave home is so as to avoid traffic. This app is also currently being developed, and still uses historical data of car parks and NDW (National Data traffic data). The next step will be to integrate the app with real-time data. Watch the demo version of the application here.
Open Data Aarhus (ODAA) makes public information available as part of the Smart Aarhus efforts.
The Open Data Aarhus (ODAA) project is a collaboration between the Central Region of Denmark, Aarhus University, Alexandra Institute, private companies, and The City of Aarhus. Its main elements include an Open Data platform, and the cultivation of a thriving Open Data community through activities such as Aarhus Data Drinks meetup and a place to interact via the platform's forum.
The open data portal has been created using CKAN 2.0 and Drupal CMS, and makes a variety of data available. Some examples include:
-Real time transaction data from libraries -Data about library media in stock -Property list -Population data -Statistical data -Geodata about hiking trails, parks, bonfire places, shelters, mountainbike routes etc. -Street names and codes -Citizenship and ancestry in Aarhus
The overall objective of ODAA is to increase transparency and support the productivity and development in Aarhus area. Developers, entrepreneurs, companies, institutions, citizens and others will be able to access the open data easily and turn it into new services / applications that can improve life in the Aarhus area.
Datos.gob.es the Spanish PSI official initiative offers its source code for reuse.
CENATIC Free Software Forge community has created Datos.gob.es project, with the publication of application development that supports datos.gob.es. It is in an open form, which allows any citizen, organization or company to use it and create their own space dedicated to Open Data. Alongside the publication of the development of datos.gob.es, forged by CENATIC, a public forum has been enabled to discuss development, along with a public mailing list for exchanging messages, and a space to manage bugs, support, patches and request functions.
The current National Data Catalog version that has been released is "Datos.gob_15_04_2013", and users can find the relevant project documentation in the files section, while the source code can be obtained from the SCM (Source Code Managemement) Repository by providing the username anonsvn and password anonsvn.
The release of datos.gob.es in open source code is a continuation of the project's commitment to the open data community, following last year's publication of portal architecture and other documentation.
18 April. Training Workshop at 16:00. Padova, Italy.
SMAU (Salone Macchine e Attrezzature per l'Ufficio) is a computer expo in Italy, held annually at FieraMilano exhibition centre, Milan since 1967. Inside this expo there are a lot of workshops about ICT technologies, and Web scenarios, held by IWA Italy.
One of them is about Italian Open Data scenario: it's important to make the point and to spread the word about Open Data across small enterprises.
Date: 18 April - 16:00h.
Place: PadovaFiereSpa, Trade Arena Room. Hall 11, via N. Tommaseo, 59 - 35131, Padova, Italy.
The Swiss drugmaker reacts to flak for lack of transparency.
The Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding announced early this month to make its clinical trial data available to third party researchers. The decision follows years of pressure to release details about Tamiflu, an antiviral that generated 3.2 billion Swiss francs (2.6 billion euros) in revenue from sales related to fears of a global swine flu pandemic. Critics have questioned the efficacy and safety of the medicine, and had asked Roche to make Tamiflu testing accessible to researchers.
"We understand and support calls for our industry to be more transparent about clinical trial data with the aim of meeting the best interests of patients and medicine," said Daniel O'Day, Chief Operating Officer of Roche Pharma. "At the same time, we firmly believe that health authorities need to remain the gatekeeper for drug assessment and approval." O'Day insisted that Roche's new process for accessing trial data would respect patient confidentiality and avoid the risk of publishing misleading results.
Roche has said it will work with an independent body to evaluate and approve requests to access anonymised patient data and that it will support the release of full clinical study reports (CSR) via regulatory authorities. These CSRs are formal reports that detail the design, methods, and results of clinical trials, and are what submissions to regulators are based on.
Last year, Europe's regulator, the European Medicines Agency, opened up its scientific data troves to independent researchers.
Earlier this year, British multinational GlaxoSmithKline already broke ground by making its scientific data available to 3rd parties, although whether US-based companies like Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Merck will follow European suit remains to be seen.
18 April 2013. Dublin, Ireland.
Open Data Ireland Meetup #6
Open Data Ireland is hosting its 6th Meetup tomorrow in Dublin. The aim is to bring together all those passionate about sharing, learning, using, and advancing Open Data in Ireland. This meetup's theme will be the "Commercial Exploitation of Open Data for Private Gains," and will include brief presentations from industry experts Jason Hibbets (Red Hat), and Pól Mac Aonghusa (IBM).
Date: 18 April 2013. 18:30-19:00.
Place: Engine Yard, The Warehouse, 35 Barrow Street. Dublin, Ireland.
For more information see here.
The UK will decide by this summer whether to make national addresses open or not.
The so-called 'address wars' have gathered force in the UK as plans to privatise Royal Mail by the end of this year go forth. For over a decade, the 'wars' have been fought between three camps: local government, the Ordnance Survey, and Royal Mail, each claiming ownership rights of around 28 million addresses for over 1.8 million postcodes.
The debate centers on the issue of intellectual property — who exactly owns address datasets? — but also calls into question the public versus private nature of data. While it might seem obvious that the whole business of letter-sending relies on what's written on the back of an envelope, the value of such data is perhaps not so evident. Everyone knows their own address - isn't this information public anyway?
It turns out that the treasure chest of addresses, the Postcode Address File (PAF) is not, in fact, an open good. Under section 116 of the Postal Services Act 2000, Royal Mail is required to make the PAF available to any person wishing to use it on reasonable terms (which can include the payment of a fee), but the database containing every delivery point in the UK belongs to the Royal Mail. According to the current licensing regime, end-users pay licence fees in order to use PAF data, either directly to Royal Mail or indirectly via resellers of products that incorporate PAF data.
What will happen once the Royal Mail is sold off, however? The Open Data User Group (ODUG) boils the issue down to three possible scenarios. In the first case scenario, business as usual, the PAF would be sold as part of the Royal Mail, and the regulatory body Ofcom would monitor its use. It's the case of the Netherlands, whose address data went the way of the national post service in 1989: private.
Another possible scenario is that PAF ownership go to local government and the Ordnance Survey, although this potential monopoly doesn't currently have any provisions for accountability. The final possibility is for the PAF to be released as open data.
Hardly a surprise that the Open Data User Group would advocate this last contingency, but their persuasive plea for openness is hard to sidestep: "addresses are a true, non-rivalrous (anyone can use it without limiting other users), non-excludable (anyone can get hold of it) public good. It is in the public interest that as many organisations and individuals use correct addresses as easily as possible and the best way to ensure that is not to charge for an address at the point of use."
Fruit of the Open Data White Paper (June 2012), the ODUG has issued a reminder that the paper specifically mentioned a national address dataset as one of the matters the government wants to resolve. In the months leading up to summer recess, when the UK government is expected to come to a decision, Ofcom has held a public consultation for anyone interested to express their views. To read more on the consultation, see here.
For ODUG's response to the consultation, click here.
18 April. Prague, Czech Republic.
ONE Conference Prague 2013 - Digital Governance: From Local Data to European Policies
The ONE Conference will serve as a valuable communication platform for researchers, decision-makers and political actors, interested in Digital Agenda and strategic planning of regional policies. The conference will welcome experts dealing with different aspect of Digital Governance:
-Evidence based management of information society
-Improvement of public spending effectiveness
-Cost reduction and a better knowledge exploitation
-Assessment of (regional) policies’ impact
-Structural funds absorption.
During Parallel thematic session 2: "Data & Tools for improving regional policies", beginning at 13:30h, Julia Glidden from 21c Consultancy (UK) – Citadel-on-the-Move, will talk about "Creating a European Open Data Innovation Ecosystem."
The event will also discuss the role of ICT Observatories in enhancing regional capacities for planning ICT investments. It is the second conference, supported by a group of partners of ONE project, in order to discuss those topics in the context of Digital Agenda Europe, which is now in its mid-term evaluation phase.
Place: Klub Lávka, Novotného lávka 1, Prague
Date: 18 April 2013. 9:00 - 18:00
Final programme: here
Registration form: here
The unit will support newspapers by supplying data content and stories.
UK newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has responded to the proliferation and news potential of open data by creating a special data journalism unit, which will begin by working with four newsrooms: the Manchester Evening News, Huddersfield Examiner, North Wales Daily Post, and Wales Online. The idea is to enhance stories with data on one hand, and create original stories outside of the regular news agenda on the other.
Currently the unit is composed of Manchester Evening News' David Ottewell and Wales Online's Claire Miller, but a third team member is soon to be recruited. While remaining at their current location, these journalists will work directly with the various newsrooms on data sets that are relevant to them, thus producing tailor-made stories rather than more general content for titles across the group.
Trinity Mirror's digital publishing director David Higgerson emphasized the need to have a separate unit dedicated only to data journalism. Data may reach across "local geographic borders," he said, "so a centralised unit makes perfect sense in terms of generating content and sharing best practice."
Some of Trinity Mirror's titles already boast a strong data record. Wales Online, for example, has a dedicated datastore, and the Birmingham Mail launched its datablog 'Behind the Numbers' earlier this year.
High-quality data for end users, API for programmers, and data enrichment for the public sector.
Dandelion, which aims to be the one-stop shop for smart, high-quality Geo and Linked Data from trusted sources, starts its private beta. According to its creators, from SpazioDati, the portal was born in January as an effort to make data accessible to all users, not just scientists and data geeks. It promises end users quality, normalized, linked and enriched data for their apps and reports; developers a simple API for any kind of language on any kind of platform; and corporate and government entities a way to publish and profit from their data.
The private beta will be based on a set of data from DBpedia (SpazioDati maintains the Italian DBpedia), Openstreetmap, Geonames, and some government Open Data sources. It will feature two datasets mainly targeted at developers: Italian points of interest and local events.
In the future, Dandelion hopes to bring more data into its market, including from private data providers who want to distribute their data for free or for a fee. It can link private corporate data coming from partners with government- and community-generated Open Data.
At the moment, data is curated by SpazioDati, but by the end of the year it plans to make it available to users, who will then be able to themselves publish their own datasets on Dandelion. Currently, users can access the curation pipeline for its entity extraction and linking API.
Plans are for Dandelion to go live this summer.
FondyEu.eu, from the Czech Republic, aims to increase transparency.
In the wake of various subsidy scandals in the Czech Republic, this portal arises as a way to fight corruption and opacity that envolves the destination of EU grants and public procurement. The project, funded by NFPK and Open Society Foundation Budapest, gathers its information from public databases managed by the Ministry for Regional Development of the Czech Republic, the public procurement portal vsechnyzakazky.cz and other websites such as kurzy.cz and nasipolitici.cz and podnikani.cz.
On the site you can find public procurement information from 2007 until today, as well as search for specific grant recipients, whether beneficiaries of the EU or those supported by projects. At present time, this portal gathers 22,441 recipients of grants and a sum of 528 034 000 000 CZK.
FondyEU.eu will thus complement the already existing Map of Projects, where anyone can browse a map of the Czech Republic through projects supported by money from the structural funds. The Mapaprojektu.cz website is created by the Ministry for Regional Development with support of the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic along with Regional Information Service.
25 April 2013. Birmingham, UK.
The West Midlands Open Data Forum is organized by the Birmingham Business Information Portal (The BIP) and will cover a variety of topics, including: smart city and open data strategy, using big data to expose and reduce crime, how SME's can use big data to their benefit, and opportunities for using real-time data.
Learn how to register here.
Date: 25 April 2013. 10:00 - 16:00.
Place: Millenium Point,Curzon Street. Birmingham, UK.
24 April 2013. Tampere, Finland
This month's Open Data Tampere Region meetup will cover open economic data in Tampere, as well as other issues. The event is free, but registration is required.
For more information click here.
Date: 24 April. 17:00-20:00.
Place: New Factory / Uusi Tehdas - Väinö Linnan aukio 15, 3rd floor. Tampere, Finland