Government Information and Data - Topics A-Z
Topics A-Z listing of articles and resources about initiatives relating to making government information widely available to be used in various applications including mashups of various kinds.
This category last updated: 20 June 2013
What's next for Chicago's open data strategy?
- by Matt Kiefer. Chicago Business, April 16, 2013. "Chicago's open data strategy has published unprecedented amounts of public information and solidified the city's standing within the Government 2.0 movement in recent years, which leads to the natural question: "What's next?"..."
EU watchdog: Data collection can't fly under 'user experience' flag
- Big data projects run the risk of breaking EU data protection laws, by Jennifer Baker (IDG News Service). CIO, 10 April, 2013. "Improving users' experiences is no justification for using consumer information in big data projects, according to Europe's top data protection officials.
The Article 29 Working Group, which includes the data protection supervisors from the European Union's 27 member states, said that consumers' "specific, explicit consent" is almost always required if companies want to use their information in big data projects..."
Web tool to address delays and rising global appetite for info, says Tony Clement
- By Mike De Souza, Postmedia News. Ottawa Citizen, April 9, 2013. "OTTAWA – A global trend of citizens seeking more information than they did in the past from their governments is contributing to growing delays and complaints surrounding freedom of information requests in Canada, said federal Treasury Board President Tony Clement Monday.
In an interview with Postmedia News, Clement said that he is introducing some user-friendly changes such as a new Internet application tool, making it easier and faster for Canadians to get information..."
Opening Public Data in South Africa
- Written by Adi Eyal. Open Knowledge Foundation Blog, April 11, 2013. "It seems somewhat absurd to me that publicly funded institutions in South Africa should be allowed to copyright data produced using public funds. Of course, it is reasonable to expect that physical assets such as buildings, vehicles or machinery should appear on their balance sheets and be reserved for their exclusive use. But knowledge? I'm not so sure. Assuming that the information in question cannot reasonably be considered a state secret, the revelation of which would harm national interests, I would expect that it cannot be owned or its use restricted to taxpayers..."
Making Open Government Data Sustainable
- by Tom Lee. Sunlight Foundation, April 12, 2013. "Earlier this week, David Eaves kicked off a fascinating conversation with a post on TechPresident. Titled "Optimism, Fear and the Knight News Challenge," it raises important questions about how open government work is supported and sustained. In particular, David focused on Democracy Map, one of two KNC finalist projects from friend-of-Sunlight Phil Ashlock. Democracy Map aims to improve U.S. citizens' ability to determine who represents them at all levels of government. David argues that a subsidy from Knight to DM could threaten the business of companies like Cicero that are trying to solve the problem through a commercial offering. Once the Knight money dries up, will Democracy Map still be around? Or will it only last long enough to kill off Cicero?..."
Open data shifts from apps to big issues
- Cities have a wealth of data — from crime stats to maps to transit schedules, By Tal Kopan. Reuters, 8 April 2013. "The term open data brings to mind images of next bus apps and geeks poring over data sets about potholes, but advocates say the next phase could go far beyond the smartphone — changing the way cities and governments tackle big problems and even how they work together.
Experts see increased collaboration and universalized standards as upcoming steps to take open data's recent success stories to the next level — and keep moving it toward its next act, which could involve addressing issues as complex as climate change, education and public health..."
OpenGov Voices: The Open Data Ecosystem Thrives in Philadelphia
- by guest author Pam Selle. Sunlight Foundation, April 5, 2013. "Philadelphia is known as a leader in the open government movement – the city lays claim to the second Chief Data Officer in the country (Sunlight OpenGov Champion Mark Headd), is a two-time Code for America host city, is home to an active Code for America Brigade and has social good hackathons at least every month, sometimes every week. There’s a strong interest in creating applications to inform and empower citizens with apps such as Lobbying.ph, PhillySNAP and Baldwin using public data for their respective purposes..."
The Open Government Partnership: Government Self-Assessment Report for the United States of America - in pdf format (405kb)
- (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). The White House, March 29, 2013. "The Obama Administration has committed itself to openness in government, because openness strengthens our democracy and promotes a more efficient and effective government. A government that is transparent is more accountable to citizens. A government that is participatory enhances government effectiveness and improves government decision - making. And a government that is collaborative engages all Americans in governing. Building on these principles, the Obama Administration launched the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government ('Plan') in September 2011. In a little more than a year, the Administration has made significant progress implementing the Plan. This document – the Government Self-Assessment Report for the United States of America ("Report") – reviews the progress that has been made for each Plan commitment..."
Maine has an open government - with nearly 500 exceptions
- By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff, Bangor Daily News, Posted April 5, 2013. "Maine's open records law dates back more than 50 years. A review of the law's history shows the Maine Legislature meaningfully expanded the open government law in the two decades following its passage. That's also when lawmakers started carving out exceptions — a practice that hasn't stopped..."
How a new app delivers school performance data to the public in Kenya
- By: Maite Fernández. Ghana News -SpyGhana.com, April 10, 2013. "Students there take standardized exams at the end of primary and secondary school. The results are big news in the country, but the press coverage usually focuses on just a part of the story, such as which schools are top performers and how much they improved, said Muchiri Nyaggah, a developer and a fellow for Code4Kenya.
Now starting its second year, the Code4Kenya project embedded four developers in media and civil society organizations to work toward making open data available to the public..."
How does a country get to open data? What Taiwan can teach us about the evolution of access
- Assumptions about government openness vary from country to country. Here are a few lessons a cross-national perspective can bring to the open data movement, By Jonathan Stray. Nieman Journalism Lab, April 10, 2013. "TAIPEI — I recently had the pleasure of teaching a two-day data journalism workshop at the Commonwealth Magazine Group in Taiwan's capital city. The signature moment came when I showed these journalists the L.A. Times crime map, and explained that it updated automatically from government data feeds.
There were gasps from my audience. 'Why does the government publish all of that crime data, online, for free?' they asked.
I realized I didn't have a quick answer to that. In the United States, in 2013, it's widely assumed that governments on all levels should make their data available for public use. But why? How did we get here? And, importantly, how do other countries get there?..."
World Bank Group : Ulyanovsk Oblast: Regional Government Launches Open Data Initiative in Russia
- 4-Traders, 10 April 2013. "Russian Federation, City of Ulyanovsk, April 10, 2013 - Ulyanovsk Oblast Government launched an Open Data Initiative based on the recommendations of an Open Data Readiness Assessment prepared by the World Bank, at an "Open Region" seminar today.
Ulyanovsk Oblast Deputy Chair of the Government Svetlana Opyonysheva, who is already a champion for Open Government in Russia, acknowledged the value of Open Data for her region from the government and business perspectives..."
Halifax Regional Municipality launches open data catalogue
- Halifax Regional Municipality. News Release, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. "Halifax, NS – Accessing popular city information became easier today as HRM launched its open data catalogue, as part of a pilot project to release readily available, high quality data sets for public viewing, and use in the development of web and mobile based applications.
"The launch of this free, online data catalogue represents the first step in an ongoing effort by members of Council to make city government more open and accessible to residents," said Mayor Mike Savage. "We collect a great deal of information on the state of the city, which we know could be better utilized through data applications that enhance our existing services and improve our citizen’s quality of life."..."
Queensland's open data push goes 'global'
- by Katherine Feeney. Brisbane Times, April 3, 2013. "It's better than Google Earth, apparently.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has unveiled the prize piece of his government's so-called open data revolution, Queensland Globe, a computer program he says will better inform taxpayers and reveal new money-making opportunities to business and enterprise.
But the program's reliance on multiple government data sets opens up concerns about privacy and the release of information classified as commercial-in-confidence – issues Mr Newman says will be dealt with by a special expert panel..."
The messy reality of open data and politics
- Government datasets are political in themselves and their use is under the magnifying glass. by Tim Davies. Guardian Professional, Monday 8 April 2013. "It is perhaps unsurprising that there is growing awareness of the political nature of open data policies.
It is only by ignoring the messy reality of both data and politics that positivists can suggest the release of data will inevitably lead to more 'rational' and evidence-based government.
In practice, datasets themselves are political objects, and policies to open up datasets are the product of politics. If you look beyond the binary fight over whether government data should be open or not, then you will find a far more subtle set of political questions over the what and the how of opening data..."