While open data efforts are lauded by government officials, a recent study discovered that most Americans are unaware or underwhelmed. Across all levels -- federal, state and local -- respondents were divided on how well they thought government shares data, with about 80 percent expressing lukewarm opinions of "somewhat effectively" and "not very effectively.
As part of its Open Government initiative, Ontario is the first province to post a draft Open Data Directive for public feedback. Ontario's Open Data Directive aims to make data that the government collects and generates on topics, like school enrollment and traffic volume on provincial highways, open to the public. Public uses for this data could include building maps, apps and models that can help Ontario tackle gridlock or make health care service options more accessible.
Open data will pave the way to more informed decisions, and a better society. Variations on that theme dominated the third-annual GO Open Data Conference held at Brock University Friday. Among its keynote speakers was Christian Villum, a Denmark-based international community manager for the non-profit Open Knowledge.
Every day, unprecedented volumes and types of data are generated from new technologies that most people could not have imagined even two decades ago. At the same time, the world is facing the challenge of global food security: Many of the solutions to food security and malnutrition may lie in innovative use of data relevant to the agriculture and nutrition sectors. It is also more important than ever that decision-makers, at all levels of the agricultural system — from the farmer to the policymaker — have access to all relevant information to make informed decisions.