Open data could seem a luxury in a land like Sierra Leone where food is scarce, security isn’t guaranteed and health care is limited. Yet that is often where governments need to be more open, and use all of the data at their disposal to inform wider decisions and prioritise limited resources. So how can open data make a difference in a country where many people can’t access the internet? A government blog post reveals how the Philippines’ Open Data Task Force met up with a team from Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative to discuss alternative means of keeping citizens in the loop.
Cambodia is developing at a fast pace but accessing information can be a challenge. At the GMF, Penhleak Chan, a researcher and volunteer coordinator at Open Development Cambodia, took part in a DW Akademie panel and explained how an online-platform is helping create transparency.
San Diego’s Council’s Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee approved an Open Data Policy that will increase efficiency and transparency in local government, and enhance access to public information. The policy will help transform the City’s technology operations and make public information and government data available in more user friendly formats.
The Australian Government is preparing an Open Data Toolkit to consolidate policies and guidance for agencies managing and sharing government data. “This Toolkit will consolidate policy, guidance, case studies and technical advice on how to manage, publish and share government data more effectively and efficiently for greater benefits to the public service, industry and the broader community”, the data.gov.au team wrote in its latest blog.
A partnership between Bristol City Council and two bodies created by government to encourage excellence in their respective fields, the Future Cities Catapult and the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, means huge amounts of data about the city will be made "open" to the public so the city can be improved. Around 100 different sets of data will be made available online which could be used by businesses and app developers to make the city more "smart".
Chile's congress has become one of the first government bodies in Latin America to launch an open data website, with the intention of publishing unadulterated information for use by NGOs that act as government watchdogs. According to a statement, the objective of the initiative is to improve transparency and access to information and allow the general public or NGOs to cross reference information to keep tabs on parliamentary activity.
The City of Cape Town, South Africa, plans to launch an open data programme, with public comment on the draft policy. The initiative seeks to make information generated by the city that could potentially be useful to citizens available through an accessible online portal.
Journalism is one profession that has embraced open source. Open source enables smaller organizations with little or no budget to effectively extend their news gathering capabilities. It's not just smaller news organizations who've been adopting open source—The New York Times recently unveiled a new open source content management system. But it's data journalism where open source has gained its biggest foothold. There a number of open source data collection and analysis tools that are used extensively in data journalism, and there is a growing the number of repositories related to data journalism on GitHub.