Just as it does for the code behind software, opening up the data behind news stories and other forms of journalism has a number of benefits, including the fact that it’s easier to detect and fix errors — and it’s easier for others to expand and re-use the data.
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On 15 July 2014, the Public Data Group (PDG) published an open data statement, which will be of interest to any business that uses public data and/or wants to develop products and services built using public data. The PDG has stated that, given the growing interest and importance of open data to the economy and society, it feels that it is important to provide a description of the kind of data that these organizations already make available and to set out the PDG’s commitments to future open data releases and activity.
Despite the difficulties in estimating the real economic impact of open data, their huge potential can not be denied. The World Bank’s "Open Data for Economic Growth" study highlights the beneficial economic and social impact of open data, based on a coagulation of monetary and statistical arguments.
New statistical and open data platforms are being set up to remedy long-standing challenges of development data access across Africa, promising to improve services and increase transparency. Open data on developing countries can be used “to improve the efficiency and coverage of public services in a variety of development sectors such as education, health, transport, energy”, says Amparo Ballivian, a lead economist at the World Bank. Open data can also help generate new businesses and therefore job opportunities, and improve transparency, adds Ballivian.
Fort Worth has joined the ever-growing community of open data governments by launching an online portal with direct access to information. The website, data.fortworthtexas.gov, was made public last month and currently has certificates of occupancy, development permits and residential permits available for download in several formats, including Excel and PDF. The goal is to get the most-requested data online first, said Brian Chatman, content strategy coordinator for the city’s website. The site has easy-to-use tools to visualize the information, such as creating charts or graphs, and also provides a quick way to embed the data onto another website.
At last week’s OKFestival in Berlin, Kat Borlongan and Chloé Bonnet from Parisian open data startup, Five By Five, moderated an interactive session to examine how startups are building viability using open data and open data APIs. The picture that emerged revealed a variety of composite approaches being used, with all those presenting having just one thing in common: a commitment to fostering ecosystems that will allow other startups to build alongside them.
The European Commission is publishing guidelines to help Member States benefit from the revised Directive on the re-use of public sector information (PSI Directive). These guidelines explain for example how to give access to weather data, traffic data, property asset data and maps. Open data can be used as the basis for innovative value-added services and products, such as mobile apps, which encourage investment in data-driven sectors
If data is “the new oil,” then the Open Data Institute’s 5,000 square feet building in London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood is a huge oil field in the heart of the U.K. capital.In the 18 months since it was established, the ODI — a hybrid non-profit data science school, research institute, startup accelerator, and business franchise — has been digging, mining, analyzing, and dealing in vast reserves of data.
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.
The Open Data Institute (ODI) has announced seven companies who have joined the ODI startup programme. Each company will receive mentoring, funding and support from the ODI as they develop their solutions and plan to bring them to market. The seven new companies are a very diverse group and this shows that the ODI is not getting too focused on one area of technology.