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Open data & Biodiversity Research

May 6, 2015 in Events

There is a world of tools, standards and data out there, ready for you to use.

“Biodiversity Informatics” deals with the application of informatics techniques to biodiversity information for improved management, presentation, discovery, exploration and analysis of scientific data. Combined with open data sources on the Internet, this is a powerful new approach in doing research.

Bringing these tools and data to scientists, citizen scientists or open data adepts is one of the task of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. To achieve this goal we decided to organize the “Empowering Biodiversity Research” conference on May 21th in Brussels 2015.

During this conference, we will like to take you on a tour to the world of biodiversity informatics & open data. Several interesting projects will be highlighted, for example, you will get to know the whereabouts of Eric the seagull, a dataset published as open data on the internet and learn how to deal with rare animal occurrences and putting them in context.


Whereabouts of the Belgian tagged Seagulls

We will also look at Antartic biodiversity and find out how you could use a taxonomic backbone to improve your biodiversity data.



Antarctic Biodiversity Portal

During this conference we will try to make the link between open data initiatives and freely available biodiversity data on the internet. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is the worlds biggest aggregator of data when it comes to this type of data. We hope to realise some fruitful discussions with interested persons coming from the open data community.

For more information on this conference, please visit the website. Registration deadline ends in a couple of days, on May 7th. And yes, there is a networking event foreseen.

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.


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.


When: 23rd of February 2015
Where: Place D’Armes 1, 5000 Namur
Tickets: Tickets and info:

Flyerfront Open Belgium

BikeCityGuide and Nostalgeo win the Apps for Europe competition.

April 4, 2014 in Events, Featured

After a long and intense few days at FutureEverything, the winners of the Apps for Europe International Business Lounge 2014 were finally announced on Tuesday evening at an awards ceremony organised by TechHub Manchester.

This event was the culmination of the first year of the Apps for Europe project; the 10 finalists, selected either online or from local Business Lounge events, presented their ideas to the conference delegates and jury.

So who won?

BikeCityGuide – Daniel Kofler and Lukas Kulhanek

An app which helps cyclists find bike friendly routes and is currently available in nearly forty cities across Europe. The judges were impressed with the duo’s convincing proposition, powerful pitch, and demonstrated impact.

The jury runners up were:

2nd – Nearhood

3rd – OldMapsOnline

At the event itself there was an audience vote and the audience prize went to:

Nostalgeo – Ides Bauwens and Han Tambuyzer

An Belgian app which allows the user to combine old postcards with contemporary street views.

The event

All 10 finalists had enjoyed a fully packed few days in the neo-gothic splendour of Manchester Town Hall, an incredible setting for the showcase of the business benefits of Open Data.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the project by Frank Kresin (Waag Society) with speakers addressing the value of Open Data, including Milena Popova (Europeana), Julian Tait (FutureEverything) and Pieter Colpaert (OKFN Belgium).

The finalists’ ideas were exhibited with videos throughout the duration of the conference. They also took part in a series of workshops that aimed to equip them with the tools and knowledge to grow their ideas into sustainable businesses; there were sessions on media, UX design and finance.The culmination of day one was a networking event on the atmospheric twenty-fourth floor of Manchester City Tower. Conference delegates gathered to meet with the finalists and talk to them about their ideas.

Day two began with each finalist offering a ten minute presentation about their app and business plan. This was followed by an intense 30 minute long individual interview with the judging panel.

Other events also took place in the International Business Lounge space, which were designed to compliment Apps for Europe’s objectives surrounding Open Data. Dan Hill (Executive Director of Futures and Best Practice for the Future Cities Catapult) and Dominic Campbell (Founder of FutureGov) spoke about the importance of designing for Openness; Open is not simply a switch we can turn on or off as we choose – once open, things can never be closed, therefore openness needs to be carefully designed.

This was followed by a hands on workshop that gave participants the chance to explore and use some of the APIs that FutureEverything and partners are developing.

Just before the announcement of the winners, Paul Maltby made a surprise revelation of his own: the launch of Policy Lab UK, headed by Dr Andrea Siodmok, bringing user-led design, data & digital to policy development in the UK Government.

What’s next?

Through access to the Apps for Europe support network it is hoped that all 10 finalists’ ideas will be able to grow and flourish – providing evidence of the business value of open data.

We are, with 10 other partners running the Apps for Europe programme to stimulate the scale of app businesses in Europe built on open data. The project has just come to the end of its first year.

Do you have an open data based app or service?

The pan-European competition will run again from 2014/15 culminating in another International Business Lounge next year at FutureEverything. There are two ways to enter next year’s competition:

1. Enter and win a local business lounge – check our website for upcoming events

2. Enter our online competition – which will be open on the website from next week.

For more information about the project visit
For more insights on the conference itself through the attendees, here’s is a storify:

A look back to the Open Belgium Conference 2014

February 25, 2014 in datadays2014, Featured

Last monday, on the 17th of February 2014, the first edition of the Open Belgium Conference was held in the STAM Museum in the City of Ghent as part of the three day conference called DataDays. DataDays is an initiative organised by OKFN Belgium, Citadel on the move and LOLA to discuss the role and future of Open Data on a national, European and global level.

The Storify summary below is a way to show everyone, attendees / speakers and people who couldn’t make it on how it all went down.

And for those who want to gaze at the presentations that were given during the event, head over to the DataDays Website. Want to watch the pictures of the event itself? On Facebook there are quite a lot of pictures to be found.

Last but not least we would like to thank our co-organisers, our sponsors, volunteers, speakers, ambassadors and attendees. There are to many to call by name but you know who you are and we thank you for being there at our side.

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