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What is open data? Governments collect a great deal of information - about the companies it regulates, the built and natural environment, and about individuals - whether it about the delivery of healthcare or criminal justice or other services it provides to us. When you make all of a dataset available, it allows other people to analyse that data, visualise that data, run comparisons, see trends, develop new apps, and solutions. It is really, in short, about the process of opening up a whole dataset so that people, other than the people who have collected that data, can actually make use of it in new ways. What makes all of this significant is not simply that the data is available. It is that the data becomes the raw material to engage other people. It is a tool for participation. The data by itself is really quite meaningless.
Here’s what open data can do: SOCIAL OUTCOMES ECONOMIC OUTCOMES Foster economic growth and create jobs: help launch new businesses or make businesses more efficient; improve the job market; create jobs (data science is considered one of the best jobs to have in the future) Improve efficiency and effectiveness within the public sector: open data can help strengthen healthcare systems by connecting patients to providers; promote education and ongoing learning; and improve food security on both a large and small scale Increase transparency & accountability within governments, & citizen participation in decision-making: the more open & transparent governments are, the less corruption can exist; provide environmental sustainability through reducing pollution, protecting & conserving natural resources; building resilience to climate change Facilitate better information-sharing within government: open data helps improve cities and urban infrastructure; improve disaster resilience; allow essential resources will be distributed effectively in emergencies.
HERE Maps is one of the 3 largest digital map providers in the world (the others are Google Maps & Tom-Tom) They are building a world roading map in preparation for driverless cars Images, GPS coordinates & LiDAR scans are mapping our roads, including in NZ So where does open data come in? Open data enrichens the map data with relevant information about traffic, parking, shops, hotels and so on – all things that are needed when using a digital map or riding around in a driverless car
BlindSquare is a smartphone app that allows blind & visibly impaired people to navigate a city Originating in Helsinki, the app originally took open data on public transport & services, & combined it with social networking app Foursquare, & Open Street Map It describes the environment, and announces points of interest & intersections as a person travels around the city The product now works in dozens of countries and languages, including NZ where the Blind Foundation uses it
Thundermaps ThunderMaps is a mobile hazard and incident reporting app, with the goal of making workplaces safer Users automatically receive alerts for hazards and incidents for areas of their choice eg. their home, their workplace, school areas They can receive information about police call-out locations, fire alerts, earthquakes, rainfall or traffic accident ‘Real-time’ reporting of hazards reduces the occurrence of related incidents, immediately improves safety, & provide quick analysis and elimination of hazards It also means time & cost savings are made as mobile hazard reporting can easily be integrated into business processes
RentSquare A UK start-up which connects landlords and tenants online, without the need for letting agencies Using open data, RentSquare uses a calculator that works out the sweet spot for rents for every address in the UK It combines open data from the Land Registry, with local authority data on housing benefit and rent levels in London, as well as Bank of England economic data
The High 5s application is a landmark initiative from the African Development Bank The goal is to accelerate Africa’s development over the next 10 years High 5 uses open data to track 5 priority areas for development – light up & power Africa; feed Africa; integrate Africa; industrialise Africa; and improve quality of life The application tracks each countries progress again the priority areas & provides visibility across the relevant areas This demonstrates transparency & accountability
Open data is having a huge impact on emergency responsiveness in natural disasters Both after the Nepal earthquake last year & the Ecuador earthquake this year, organisations around the world started immediately releasing imagery & crowd-sourced data to help the disaster response Several international organisations & crowd-sourced efforts began producing & sharing data about the earthquake’s impacts Open data provides useful information to understand the context of the affected cities and towns before the earthquakes This data is used during the response & recovery phases to understand the affected population & infrastructure eg. demographic information provides insight into the affected population, identifying needs around age & gender distribution.
Where can I find open data? Data.govt.nz is the primary site in NZ to find open government data More than 4,300 datasets are currently listed on there You can be involved in helping develop Version 2! – help test the new Beta site The new site will make the data easier to find & provide a preview & visualisation of the data before you download it This will help the user see if the data is relevant to what they’re needing So I encourage you to visit the current site & search for data you’re interested in
Figure.nz pulls together data from the NZ public & private sectors & academic data in one place, & makes it easy for people to see in a visualised form Explore the population by age group, mobile connections, exports to China or the types of devices used to access the internet Click on the relevant link to download the dataset itself and do your own analysis
Data Insights at the NZ Herald brings data journalism & interactive visualisations together. Explore the houses available in Auckland, how many burglaries are happening in a particular neighbourhood, the gender pay gap, or how unemployment differs by ethnicity.
GovHack is an Australian hackathon run over the weekend of 29-31 July (Friday evening – Sunday evening) What is a hackathon? – it’s a combination of ‘hack’ & ‘marathon’ GovHack is essentially a weekend of teams coming together to use data to tell a story It is run in 9 locations around NZ plus more in Australia The multi-skilled teams mean you don’t need to be data savvy Instead bring your creative, strategic, planning, visualising, leadership skills It’s totally free & everything is provided – just bring your device
We need more Open Data Heroes & you can become one today! Find out what open data is being released in your organisation. If nothing is being released, ask why Actively use open data to provide evidence-based practice Check out this Optimal BI blog which talks about the main issues people raise about why they can’t release data. It also gives you suitable responses
Open Data: The new oil of the digital economy (Nerd Nite Wellington)
The new oil of the digital economy
Open Government Information & Data Programme
for Nerd Nite Wellington, 18 July 2016
Open data is data that anyone can take,
use and share. It needs an open licence,
and it needs to be openly available.