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Missing Maps Mapathon tomorrow!

December 12, 2014 in Events, Featured

Tomorrow is Map-day or as OpenStreetMap mappers call it, M-day! This saturday (13/12/2014) is the first mapathon of OpenStreetMap Belgium. They’re inviting everyone to the Missing Maps project as a way to learn OpenStreetMap and map regions in order to save lives. Together with experienced mappers you have the opportunity to offer a valuable contribution to the hard fieldwork of Doctors Without Borders and to build the necessary skills to continue to do this in the future. Even from your comfy chair, you will be able to map the world.
You can register right here!

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 10.32.33
CC-BY-SA Missing Maps 2014

Missing Maps

The ww.missingmaps.org/”>Missing Maps project is a collaboration between the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Doctors without Borders UK and the British and American Red Cross. The goal of the project is to map the most crisis sensitive areas of the world on OpenStreetMap. This to improve the efficiency and speed om humanitarian interventions.

What are we mapping on the 13th of December?  

This mapathon will focus on the Central African Republic, where Doctors without Borders Belgium is active. At the moment they are working in certain areas of which they only have handdrawn maps, something the local volunteers and worked would love to see improve.

What do you need? 

A laptop, a computer mouse and a lot of enthusiasm.

Is it mandatory to have mapping experience for this event? 

No, everyone is welcome! OpenStreetMap Belgium will give introductions to unexperienced volunteers who want to help out.

So where is this mapathon happening?

The mapathon has found a great location at Idealabs in the Lange Klarenstraat 19, Antwerp. And of course you can find it on OpenStreetMap.

The programme

  • 14.30u: Start & welcome!
  • 15.00u: Introduction Missing Maps by Jorieke Vyncke (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) & Pete Masters (Doctor Without Borders UK)
  • 15.10u: Split up in 2 groups:
    • Unexperienced Mappers: they will get a full introduction to the OpenStreetMap mapping.
    • Experienced Mappers: They can start mapping right away!
  • 20.00u: The room is reserved until 20.00, if we are still mapping, we’ll have to find an alternative spot. Sandwiches are provide, so don’t worry about food. But be sure to register so we know how many sandwiches they need to order!

Catherine Van Overloop of Doctors Without Borders Belgium wil also be present during the Mapathon and will illustrate the current situation in the Central African Republic.

So what do I now?

If you’re up for this challenge, sign up and join us at the mapathon!

More Information needed?

More information about Missing Maps in this article on deredactie.be (Dutch) and in this episode on ‘Vandaag’ on radio1 (sorry also Dutch). You can take a look on the Missing Maps website or contact OpenStreetMap Belgium on twitter or through community@osm.be.

missing_maps_flyer

Apps for Antwerp: From Open Data to Open Services.

December 8, 2014 in Events, Featured, local governments

Since 2012 the City of Antwerp is releasing open data and the datasets keep coming our way, but that is not all what Antwerp is releasing. Now the City of Antwerp is adding Open Services that you can use in your 3rd party applications and websites as well. The first released service is the login-service, a single sign on system to use with the Antwerp A-profile in your application or website. Something you will already be able to incorporate into your application during the Apps for Antwerp hackathon.

Apps for Antwerp 2.0

  1. On Tuesday the 9th of December there will be an info-session about the hackathon with an overview of which data is released under an open license, how the open service works, how the competition works and so forth. During this info-session logins for the open service are given upon request.
  2. Those who want to submit an application in the competition must enter a case, an idea for a website or application that you are a team want to develop based on open data. Your proposal must be submitted before the 5th of January 2015. (The form will be online soon).
  3. The jury will select 9 proposals by the 10th of January 2015. Those selected proposals may work further upon their idea.
  4. On the 2nd of February, there is a closing event. The 9 selected teams will pitch their application or website to the jury and the crowd. After a short deliberation the reception and award ceremony will follow.

Target Group

It’s doesn’t matter whether you are a hobbyist, student, start-up of professional mobile agency: everyone is welcome.

Practical

Infosession

date and location

The infosession itself will take place in the KBC Tower in the centre of Town. Register on the Eventbrite link to participate.

 Parking

When you’re coming by car, use the public parking on the ‘Eiermarkt’. It’s only a 2 minute welke from the session location.

Agenda

(Although we write this blog in English, do understand that the explanation during the info-session will be solely in Dutch)

  • state of play of open data in Antwerp and the ambitions with aOS (Antwerp operating system)
  • Introduction to the first open services
  • Demo of the first experiments with open services
  • Explanation on the contest and the rules 
  • Drink

Final Event

Date and location

Monday the 2nd of February 2015 – Den Bell, Francis Wellesplein 1, 2018 Antwerpen – doors at 19:00; start programme at 19.30 uur; end at 23 uur

 Agenda

  • Introduction by mayor Bart De Wever
  • Presentation of the 9 propositions by the selected application before the jury and the audience (10 minutes per submission)
  • Deliberation by the jury and reception
  • Award Ceremony

Registration:

Registration for the infosession and/or the closing event on http://opendataantwerpen.eventbrite.com.

Jury

The jury for this edition consists of the following people:

  • Dirk Diels (chairman of the jury) – director-general of work and economy at the city of Antwerp
  • Peter Crombecq -CEO Digipolis Antwerp
  • Davor Meersman – CityOfThings, iMinds 
  • Anthony Liekens -mad scientist, R&D contractor IO Lab
  • Noël Van Herreweghe -programme manager Open data at the Flemish Government.

Prizes, because what is a hackathon without an incentive?

Because agencies, startups, students and other people all have different needs, Antwerp has some prizes that are adjusted for the winners. So what do you want to win?Make a suggestion in the babbelbox.

When making a suggestion, don’t forget which type of participant you are.

Sponsors wanted

Are you one of the sponsors for this event?
Let the organisers at Apps for Antwerp know through: opendata@stad.antwerpen.be.

We hope to see you there.

Open Belgium Conference 2015 is live!

December 3, 2014 in Events, Featured, OpenBelgium2015

The second edition of Open Belgium is upon us. On the 23rd of February 2015 the conference will take place in Palais des Congrès Namur in Wallonia. We hope to see 200 open data pioneers, practitioners, thinkers, researchers and entrepreneurs from all across Belgium to learn and discuss the next steps during this conference.

And to celebrate our online launch we are offering 50 early bird ticket prices in December. You have to admit these would be awesome gifts beneath the christmas tree for open data enthusiasts. You pay 80 euros for early bird tickets instead of the normal price of 130 euros. Want to provide us with a form of sponsoring while buying a ticket? You can buy a supporter ticket of 160 euros to support the organisation of this event and to affirm that we can continue this in the future.

openbelgium

The conference itself is a community driven effort of Open Knowledge, the Open Belgium Community and our partner organisations such as AWT, Packed vzw and others who will join our cause. Together we all want to put Open Data on the Belgian agenda. Through workshops we can learn from each other and be inspired by the different national efforts. We’ll have keynote sessions and a panel with Alexander De Croo and people from the Walloon government about the National and Regional Open Data governments Efforts.

And in the afternoon there are 8 break out sessions divided over 2 timeslots from which you can choose. The format remains the same but the topics and approach will be very different from last year ranging over numerous topics such as Open Culture, Open Transport, Open Tourism, Open Street Map, Local Open Data, Open Science and Open Tools.

Practical

When: 23rd of February 2015
Where: Place D’Armes 1, 5000 Namur
Tickets: Tickets and info: http://2015.openbelgium.be/

Flyerfront Open Belgium

Pitch your brilliant open idea at the Opening Up Conference

November 14, 2014 in Events, Featured


Opening Up

With Future Everything and the Apps for Europe international business lounge happening in early 2015, it is time for another Local Business Lounge. This time we are happy to invite you to the Opening Up conference on the 3rd of December to present us your open data business idea.

The concept of a business lounge is similar to a hackathon, though it has a different goal: To present the best business idea and not necessarily to the most innovative idea (although a combination of both might be the killer app we are all looking for).

open data business lounge

The concept for the Local Business Lounge at the Opening Up conference is pretty straight forward. You have 5 minutes time to present your business case and 5 minutes time to follow up with a Q&A by the jury. In the end the jury will select one winner who will receive the prestigious award of Local Business Lounge winner 2014 which ultimately will place them in the international business lounge during Future Everything.

The goal of business lounges is to connect people with brilliant open data ideas with professionals at the business end. That’s why we will have a healthy jury consisting of Open Data Experts, Incubators and accelerators during Opening Up. The international business lounge has a similar audience, but also consists of early investors, venture capitalists and international renowned incubators and accelerators. So if you want to turn or already have turned your open data idea into a start up, than this is a chance you cannot miss.

And for participants of the Local Business Lounge at the Opening Up Conference not only do you get that chance of pitching your idea. You also get free entrance to this two day conference on Social Media and Open Data and admittance to the exclusive dinners with the Open Data partners.

But beware! There are only two of the four spots at the local business lounge left. So we will be picking candidates based on motivation and open data use.

Do you think you have a shot a becoming the open data start up?
Register below and we’ll let you know as soon as possible whether you are selected.

Apps For Europe: Take your Open Data application to the next level.

October 21, 2014 in Events, Featured

Have you participated in an hackathon this year? And are you ready to build a start up around your application? Or are you still tweaking your open data application idea and do you consider turning that idea into a viable start-up? If your app is using Open Data as a resource than we have the perfect opportunity for you.

At Apps for Europe we want to connect the best Open Data applications to a crowd of European investors, incubators and accelerators. But to be allowed to participate during the international business lounge at Future Everything festival, you need to prove your application is worth the attention. That’s why we want to help out with a few thorough preparation sessions:

On saturday the 8th of November we’re organising a pre-business lounge in Ghent. This pre-business lounge will go down during Drupalcamp 2014 in Ghent on the ‘Schoonmeersen Campus’ of HoGent. During the camp we will give a introduction session on ‘Making money with Open Data’, where we discuss open data business models and examples of succesful implementations. Afterwards there is a ‘how-to-pitch’ session in the afternoon with live try-outs where other participants are your soundboard, enabling you to tweak your business pitch perfectly. So on one day you will learn to write the ideal Open Data business pitch. Interested? Let us know you’re coming through pieterjan@okfn.be and register on http://ghent2014.drupalcamp.be/ (it’s free!)

pastedGraphic

Next Steps
After the pre-business lounge you will be ready to pitch your application to the whole of Europe. But to be a finalist for the international business lounge in Manchester during Future Everything Festival you need to prove yourself. This can be done in two separate ways.

1. You submit your application online on the Apps for Europe website. A grand jury of experts will decide which application will go through to the international business lounge.

2. You can attend one of the local business lounges. The winner of each local business lounge also gets a direct ticket to the final international business lounge.

Tip: You can enter the online competition and participate in the local business lounge with the samen application.

For Belgium, the local Business Lounge will be on the 3rd of December during the Opening-Up Conference. There you will be able to give a 5 minute pitch to a jury of 5 accelerators / incubators, open data experts and start ups. Convince them of your application and win the local business lounge, which is also good practice for the international business lounge. If you want to join us as a contestant, send a mail to pieterjan@okfn.be. It’s not obligatory to have attended the pre-business lounge to enter the local business lounge, but it recommended for early stage open data ideas or people who are new to pitching their idea.

And if we can’t convince you, maybe Nigel Williams can.

So come to the local business lounge or pre-business lounge to promote or build upon your open data idea or application. If you have questions about the business lounge or the online competition, Tags: , , , , Comments Off

Local Data Census: Do you approve our top 15 datasets?

October 16, 2014 in Featured, local data census

After a first live discussion, a fruitful public consultation and close cooperation with our Open Belgium ambassadors we have what could be the 15 datasets used for the local data census. But before we implement this top 15, we want your final approval or objection if you do not agree. For those who are not familiar with the whole process:

  • We started by collecting proposed datasets and discussing the standard datasets during the Open Antwerp workshop in June.
  • We did a public consultation, asking everyone to rank these datasets through a wiki survey and add new ones as well. You can see the results in this blogpost.
  • We asked our Open Belgium ambassadors to give us their top 15 datasets for the local data census, taking into account the score of the wiki survey.
  • Finally we combined the scores of the wiki survey with the scores based on the top 15 of our Open Belgium Ambassadors.

This provided the following ranking: Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 16.13.14

Yesterday, during a final online meeting with the Open Belgium ambassadors we asked them whether this top 15 was balanced enough to publish on the Local Data Census. We wanted a lists of datasets that can be opened by almost every city or municipality, regardless of size of population. We also wanted a balance between datasets which are easy to obtain and open up and datasets that are hard to obtain on a practical and a political level.

In the end we changed two datasets in the ranking in order to have a balanced top 15. What we eventually left out:

Number 5 Public Tenders

Simply because the dataset Public Tenders can be found twice in the top 15 ranking as displayed above and we felt that Public Tenders dataset number 8. has far more interesting requirements than 5. So we chose 8. to stay and replace 5. with the number 16. in the ranking Crime Statistics.

Number 14 Noise Pollution

Although Noise pollution is a very interesting dataset, it is not a dataset that every city or municipality can obtain because it requires expensive recording equipment, especially if you want real time data. So we decided to replace it with a more feasible option: Local Schools which is number 17 in the total ranking.

So that means the 15 datasets of the Local Data Census Belgium are:

  1. Road constructions: Overview of different road constructions
  2. Traffic accidents: Geo overview of the traffic incidents in certain regions of the city
  3. Parking space: Overview of parking facilities and/or the available parkings spots
  4. Annual budget: Total annual budget for the city administration
  5. Zoning plans (Bijzondere Plannen van Aanleg en Ruimtelijke UitvoeringsPlan – BPA’s en RUP’s)
  6. Opening hours: Opening hours of public city services
  7. Public tenders : granted party, amount, type of contract, decision council
  8. Service requests: Requests for city services assistance, non-law enforcement related. Eg. Littering
  9. Environmental permits: Overview of the different applied environmental permits in the city
  10. Subsidy systems: Enumeration of the different available subsidy systems
  11. Tax information: Information breakdown and conditions of local taxes
  12. Health facilities: Overview of number of doctors, hospital beds, pharmacies
  13. Decision making process: Breakdown of the decision making process in the city council
  14. Crime statistics: Statistics about the crime rates in and around the city
  15. Local schools: Geo overview of the local schools in the city

Is this list of datasets something you approve? If not, please let us know why and what suggestions you have by sending an email to pieterjan [at] okfn.be. I’ll send the email to the Open Belgium ambassadors with the inquirer in CC.So please do let us know if you think there could be a more suitable top 15.

If we do not receive any feedback after the 16th of October we’ll assume this list is approved.

Choosing the cities
What we also discussed is which cities we will include in the Local Data Census at first, because adding all 589 municipalities and cities would be an overload to manage. So we decided to base ourselves on the 50 cities with the biggest population in Belgium, found in this list: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabel_van_Belgische_gemeenten. However municipalities who are not in this top 50 can be added to the list upon request.

Next Steps

After the approval process we need to write proper definitions for each dataset, publish the list and definitions on http://be-city.census.okfn.org/ and start incentivising cities and open data hackers to add the datasets of their respective municipality.

If you want to help out with the definitions or the dissemination of the census or the adding of datasets, let us know and we’ll keep you posted.

Headerimage CC-BY J.D. Hancock – Flickr

Results of Wiki Survey and final steps

September 12, 2014 in Featured, local data census, local governments, open data

After launching our Public Consultation Call three weeks ago we have received 1533 votes on our All Our Ideas page Wiki Survey. Thank you for your contributions to this inquiry. We’ll talk about the results of these votes and how we’re going to approach choosing the 10 to 15 winning datasets to be used in the actual Belgian Local Data Census.

In the end of June, before we started this public consultation we had a meet-up of Open Belgium ambassadors, local public servants and citizens around the idea of building a Local Data Census during Open AntwerpMaaike Scherrens and Mathias Van Compernolle introduced the participants to the 15 standard datasets that are now on a still empty Local Data Census webpage. 8 were refused, 1 abstained and 6 were approved, although some proposed to split these up into multiple smaller datasets.

Here are the 6 approved standard datasets:
  • Annual budget: Total annual budget for the city administration
  • Public Facilities (split over multiple subjects)
  • Crime statistics: Statistics about the crime rates in and around the city
  • Public tenders: Overview of all the submitted public tenders
  • Building permits: Overview of the different permit requests and approvals
  • Service requests: Requests for city services assistance, non-law enforcement related. Eg. Littering

What we were very grateful about during the Open Antwerp session, was that a lot more datasets were suggested. In merely an hour and a half the participants suggested 22 possible datasets, which together with the 6 displayed above formed the base for the Public Consultation on the Wiki Survey.

Here are the 22 suggested datasets:
  • Parking space: Overview of parking facilities and/or the available parkings spots
  • Road constructions: Overview of different road constructions
  • Traffic accidents: Geo overview of the traffic incidents in certain regions of the city
  • Opening hours: Opening hours of public city services
  • Noise pollution: Noise levels measured on different points throughout the city
  • Environmental permits: Overview of the different applied environmental permits in the city
  • Health facilities: Overview of number of doctors, hospital beds, pharmacies
  • Cycling nodes: Geo overview of all the cycling nodes in the area
  • Subsidy systems: Enumeration of the different available subsidy systems
  • Local schools: Geo overview of the local schools in the city
  • Decision making process: Breakdown of the decision making process in the city council
  • Demographic statistics: Aggregated demographic information about people living in the city
  • Park and tree locations: Geo location of trees and/or parks
  • Construction Sites: Information and geo location of the construction of public buildings
  • Sports locations: Geo locations of public sport facilities
  • Tax information: Information breakdown and conditions of local taxes
  • Salary of politicians: The salary of politicians working for the local council
  • Results of transparency Act: Questions and answers based on the right on transparency act
  • Childcare: Geo overview of the local childcare facilities in the city
  • Public playgrounds: Overview of the different public playgrounds in and around the city
  • Toll roads: Geo overview of specific toll roads in or around the city
  • Taxi licenses: Overview of all the approved taxi licenses

So  even before the Public Consultation started, we had more datasets than there should be on the Local Data Census. It is recommended to have around 10 to maximum 17 datasets. But we really wanted to break the conversation open to everyone in Belgium and not just determine our choices on one workshop. So we decided to host a live Wiki Survey that would run for three weeks. Most of those votes were given in the first few days:

Votes per day

But we’re glad that we did suggest to do it over three weeks, because the new ideas coming in were spread out during the whole period.

In total the crowd added 7 new ideas:

 

  • Website: content of the local government website
  • Public buildings or commercial buildings : overview of owners
  • Number of building/environmental permits in process + where it is in the total process.
  • Local museum collections
  • Public tenders : granted party, amount, type of contract, decision council
  • Availability of public sport facilities, location, opening hours and available time slots.
  • Zoning plans (Bijzondere Plannen van Aanleg en Ruimtelijke UitvoeringsPlan – BPA’s en RUP’s)

 

So in the end we had no less than 35 different datasets, or at least variations. And a few of the crowd suggested datasets during the Wiki Survey actually made it quite high in the overall ranking.

Rough results of the Wiki Survey

If you want to look into the raw data of the survey, you can find it here as comma seperated csv files.
Below we added the full results list, based on the score given by the Wiki Survey tool.
Do take note that this ranking is based on the number of positive votes, not total votes. So ideas that were brought up later, but had a lots of positive votes will have a much higher score than datasets which have many more positive votes, but also had a few downvotes along the way.

 

So what are the final steps after this public consultation?

This dataset list and current ranking will be presented to our Open Belgium Ambassadors to assess and discuss a few things. This will be crucial to determine which of the datasets we will keep. The following questions still need to be answered:

  • If all the suggested datasets are applicable on a local level or does it contain datasets that are only available on other levels such as regional or federal or within other organisations such as utility companies.
  • If these datasets are applicable for every local government from big cities to smaller towns.
  • If we have a balanced mix of datasets. In the Open Antwerp session there were 6 topics suggested: Transport, finance, health, environment, legislative and civic information. Can we ensure a balance between these different topics?
  • Considering all of the above, which 15 datasets will fit the best in the spirit of the Local Data Census: Creating awareness in local governments and stimulating opening up datasets for its citizens.

After this final decision making part we’ll have a list of datasets that will actually be implemented in the Local Open Data Census. We’ll add definitions and a how-to so that anyone can start adding datasets of their city. When the platform is ready, we’ll release a blog about it on the Open Belgium website, start contacting local goverments to implement their efforts and have a workshop during the Open Belgium Confere in Namur in February 2015. So we are getting closer to a final result, which will probably be around the end of October or early November.

Thank you everyone again for your patience and your input on this census. It’s good to see that this Local Data Census will eventually be a crowdsourced product that is specifically designed for cities in Belgium.
If you have further questions on this project, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

The iron man of all hackathons in the Benelux is near.

September 5, 2014 in Events, Featured


The Dutch Open Hackathon, the ‘iron man’ of all hackathons in the Benelux is near and it still has a 100 spaces left. This hackathon, organised by Open State will go down in two weeks in Amsterdam.

Why should you participate?

It’s big, a ‘100 spaces’ left means that around 400 hackers and developers already confirmed. Yup, that’s a hackathon of around 500 people in teams of 2 to 5 people. That will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

It’s a new hackathon experience

A lot of companies just opened their API for this event. This means you have a lot of options for making an application with data you don’t really have access to. Time to be creative and show what you can do by driving global innovation.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.03.59

You can make a change

Corporate and Private owned Open Data is still very scarce and this is a perfect way to convince big companies of the usefulness of Open Data and Open API’s. By showing them that Open Data should not be limited by public governments and transparency combined with co-creation within big private companies is viable option as well.

Because Belgian hackers are not to be underestimated

Arjan-Al-Fassed, the organiser didn’t believe me when I said the Belgian participants of hackathons are true innovators. Just to prove my point I want to get as many Belgians to Amsterdam as possible. And because our Dutch colleagues are doing amazing things regarding Open Data and Open innovation as well, it is good to meet up and hack together. Because innovation has no borders, so exchanging experience and ideas are always the way to go.

Belgian Open Data Hackers

Convinced? If not, please visit the Dutch Open Hackathon website, they provide a lot of information about the API’s and the goal of the event.
If you are, here is the practical information you need to get there:

You can register for the event here.

Practical:

It’s on 20 and 21 september 2014
It’s a 30-hour Hackathon
It’s at the IJtoren Amsterdam, Piet Heinkade 55 in Amsterdam

Programme

Saturday
09.00 Participant registration
10.00 Welcome – start hackathon
12.00 Lunch
20.00 Walking dinner + speaker
22.00 Night activity
00.00 … all nighter…

Sunday
08.00 Breakfast
12.00 Sub jury pitching (90 seconds video + Q&A session)
14.00 All 90-second videos are shown on screen on main stage
15.00 Top 10 pitching for jury on main stage
16.00 Award ceremony
17.00 End

Contact:
Open State Foundation
Arjan El Fassed
Tel: +31 (0)20-308-0567 / +31 (0)6-21703833

If you are heading to Amsterdam in two weeks, let us know! We’ll be rooting for all the Belgian teams.

Apps for Europe is looking for the best open data apps

September 1, 2014 in Applications, Featured, Open Data News

With 10 Business Lounges happening throughout Europe this year, Apps for Europe is trying to find the best open data applications and startups that Europe has to offer. Open Belgium invites all the Belgian developers, startups and companies that use open data as a recourse to join this competition. You have the chance to win a spot at the International Business Lounge @ Future Everything at Manchester in February 2015. The finalists have the chance to pitch their open data application to a crowd of international investors, open data experts, incubators and more.

There are two possible ways to enter the competition.

1. You can find a Local Business Lounge hosted in one of the many European Cities. In Belgium the Local Business Lounge will be hosted in Transforma BXL during Open Data Brussels. More information about this business lounge on this blog later this month.

2. You can also enter the online business lounge by providing information about your application, team and business model. The Apps for Europe online competition will run from September 1st to December 31st 2014.

About last years competition

Last years winner BikeCityGuide.org has show the potential of using open data to enhance their company and expand their services. Since the international Business Lounge at Future Everything last year they were able to reach new cities and raise almost 140.000,- in crowdfunding. A true success story!

And talking about a successes, the audience award was won by Nostalgeo, a Belgian application from Nazka that enables you to compare old postcards with todays street view. Nostalgeo was a finalist at the international business lounge by entering the local Business Lounge during Open Data Day in Flanders.

Other Belgian finalists were data.be, making KBO data searchable and Carambla, the parking app that provides information about parking space in 3 major cities in Belgium. And next year we want a strong Belgian presence at the international Business Lounge as well.

Nostalgeo at the International Business Lounge

Ides from Nostalgeo receiving the Audience award at the International Business Lounge 2014

Over the past years many local, regional and national app competitions in Europe have been organized to stimulated developers and companies to build new applications with open data. Apps for Europe has taken it to the next level. By adding Business Lounges to local events we introduce the world of open data development to that of investors, accelerators, incubators and more. Want more information about the Apps for Europe project? Mail to Pieter-Jan or leave a comment below.

Choose local open data with us

August 21, 2014 in Events, Featured, Open Data News

Open Belgium has been carefully planning the release of a Local Open Data Census, which is a benchmark, similar to the National Open Data Census, as a way to measure local Open Data efforts. The goal is to acknowledge Open Data efforts of Belgian local governments who already have a lot of datasets online and to motivate those who are considering Open Data as well. Which Open Datasets we’ll use as a benchmark for this ranking is entirely up to all of you!

Go to the Allourideas survey and choose which of the two proposed datasets seems the most interesting to you. If neither of them sounds good, just add your own dataset with a short explanation. The more you vote between two datasets and add new datasets, the more enriched data we have to make this a good census.

The objective is to have 10 to 15 datasets to rank the local governments on this page. The survey runs for three weeks, which means we’ll stop the survey on friday the 12th september at noon. So start voting and suggesting!

Local Data Census

 

A little background

OKFN central released the local city data census earlier this year in order to rank local governments within a certain country on their Open Data efforts. Excited as we were, we immediately asked if we could moderate this ranking for Belgium. The only thing was that the standard datasets, which you can still view on the local data census template, are not always applicable to the local governments in Belgium. For example, air quality is something that is measured on a regional level in Belgium, not on a local one. So you can’t motivate cities to open up these datasets, because they don’t own them in the first place.

That’s why decided to change the datasets by the power of the crowd: The Belgian citizens and open data enthusiasts. In order to start up the local data census we want involve as many people as possible in this 3 part process. Three parts you say? Yes!
We started by asking the attendees of Open Antwerp in June what they found of the standard datasets in the local data census and whether these were applicable on a Belgian local level. It was a good testing ground, seen that the room was filled with citizens, open data experts and public servants at the same time. In the end they all rejected 8 of the 15 datasets, accepted 6 and doubted about 1 of them. Even better, they suggested 20 more datasets!

IMG_20140625_194732

OK that’s 26 datasets, what now?

That’s what we wondered as well, we didn’t want to choose ourselves between these 26 datasets and communicate that a group of plus 20 people decided on one afternoon which datasets will be used for the local data census. No we wanted to ask everyone what they think of these datasets and if we missed any of them that might be better alternatives. So that’s why we started this public survey that will take about 3 weeks. We hope this will provide us with an idea which datasets are preferred by the general audience.

After 3 weeks we’ll stop the ‘All our ideas’ survey and will submit the list of datasets and their popularity to the Open Belgium ambassadors. They will figure out whether the new datasets do apply on a local government level and which of the most popular datasets should be assigned to the local data census list. In order to narrow the list of datasets down to 10 to 15 they’ll take into account the popularity of a dataset, the variation of different datasets (Mix between transport, financial, health, environmental, legislative and civic information datasets) and which datasets apply to big as well as small and medium local governments.

When approved by the ambassadors, this final list will be implemented in the Belgian Local Data Census and we’ll start contacting Local City Governments and encourage them to fill in the census for their city. The local data census, just as the national one, is community based, so citizens themselves can also add datasets to their respective city.

 

A glimpse of the hopefully near future:

 
After the release of the local data census we want to involve the regional governments in building a regional census, which means less parties to approach, but all the more complicated, as we work with regions and communities in Belgium. This would enable us to set-up an interactive webpage on OpenBelgium.be, aggregating the results from the National, Local and Regional data censuses, enabling anyone to see who is doing what concerning Open Data efforts in Belgium.

A challenge? Yes, but one we want to tackle together with the community.

Magazine image by aussiegall