What we learnt from Boundary hunting

- December 10, 2018 in #mysociety, Open Data Census, open data survey, open politics, politics

You may remember that in August this year, mySociety and Open Knowledge International launched a survey, looking for the sources of digital files that hold electoral boundaries… for every country in the world. Well, we are still looking! There is a good reason for this hunt: the files are integral for people who want to make online tools to help citizens contact their local politicians, who need to be able to match users to the right representative. From mySociety’s site TheyWorkForYou to Surfers against Sewage’s Plastic Free Parliament campaign, to Call your Rep in the US, all these tools required boundary data before they could be built.

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

We know that finding this data openly licensed is still a real challenge for many countries, which is of course why we launched the survey. We encourage people to continue to submit links to the survey, and we would love if people experienced in electoral boundary data, could help by reviewing submissions: if you are able to offer a few hours of help, please email democracy@mysociety.org The EveryBoundary survey FAQs tell you everything you need to know about what to look for when boundary hunting. But we also wanted to share some top tips that we have learnt through our own experiences. Do
  • Start the search by looking at authoritative sources first: electoral commissions, national mapping agencies, national statistics bodies, government data portals.
  • Look for data formats (.shp, .geojson, kml etc), and not just a PDF.
  • Ask around if you can’t find the data: if a map is published digitally, then the data behind it exists somewhere!
Don’t
  • Confuse administrative boundaries with electoral boundaries — they can be the same, but they often aren’t (even when they share a name).
  • Assume boundaries stay the same — check for redistricting, and make sure your data is current.
If you get stuck
  • Electoral boundaries are normally defined in legislation; sometimes this takes the form of lists of the administrative subdivisions which make up the electoral districts. If you can get the boundaries for the subdivisions you can build up the electoral districts with this information.
  • Make FOI requests to get hold of the data.
  • If needed, escalate the matter. We have heard of groups writing to their representatives, explaining the need for the data . And don’t forget: building tools that strengthen democracy is a worthwhile cause.  
mySociety is asking people to share electoral boundary data as part of efforts to make information on every politician in the world freely available to all, and support the creation of a Democratic Commons.  Electoral boundary files are an essential part of the data infrastructure of a Democratic Commons. A directory of electoral boundary sources is a potential benefit to many people and organisations  — so let’s keep up the search!

Το Ίδρυμα Ανοικτής Γνώσης Ελλάδος υποστηρικτής του OLLD19

- December 10, 2018 in News, Εκδηλώσεις, Νέα

Το Thessaloniki Active & Healthy Ageing Living Lab (ThessAHALL) του Εργαστηρίου Ιατρικής Φυσικής, του Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης (ΑΠΘ) και το European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) σας προσκαλούν την ερχόμενη Τετάρτη 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2018 και ώρα 12:00-14:00 στην επίσημη ανακοίνωση της ανάληψης διοργάνωσης και διεξαγωγής του επόμενου διεθνούς συνεδρίου Open Living Lab Days 2019 (OLLD19), […]

OffeneGesetze: Zentrale Dokumente der Demokratie erstmals frei zugänglich

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Die Bundesgesetzblätter sind die zentralen Dokumente der deutschen Demokratie. Unter OffeneGesetze.de sind sie jetzt erstmals frei zugänglich. Auf unserem neuen Portal stellen wir die Dokumente kostenfrei und zur freien Weiterverwendung bereit. Bisher sind Bundesgesetzblätter nur über die Website bgbl.de des Bundesanzeiger Verlags verfügbar. Der private Verlag verlangt für grundlegende Funktionen, zum Beispiel die Durchsuchbarkeit oder das Drucken von Gesetzblättern, Abogebühren. Eine Weiterverwendung der Dokumente untersagt der Verlag mit Verweis auf das Urheberrecht. Das Urheberrecht darf der Demokratie nicht im Wege stehen. Daten und Dokumente des Staates müssen frei für alle Menschen zugänglich sein. Wenn das Justizministerium nicht dafür sorgt, muss eben die Zivilgesellschaft einspringen. Der vormals staatliche Bundesanzeiger Verlag wurde 2006 privatisiert. In einem umstrittenen Verfahren sicherte sich der Dumont-Verlag das Unternehmen. Die genauen Bedingungen der Kooperation des Bundes mit dem Verlag hält das zuständige Justizministerium geheim. Neben dem Vertrieb des Bundesgesetzblatts erhielt der Verlag ohne Ausschreibung auch den Auftrag zum Betrieb von anderen staatlichen Plattformen, zum Beispiel dem Transparenzregister. Durch die Funktionen von OffeneGesetze.de, etwa den Gesamt-Download aller Bundesgesetzblätter seit 1949, wird es erstmals möglich, den Textbestand der Gesetzblätter zu analysieren und Veränderungen in Gesetzen der letzten Jahrzehnte nachzuvollziehen. Außerdem können anders als bisher einzelne Dokumente verlinkt und durchsucht werden. Die Plattform wurde von Stefan Wehrmeyer, Johannes Filter und Arne Semsrott erstellt. Pressekontakt: Arne Semsrott, arne.semsrott@okfn.de, Tel.: 030 57703666 0

OffeneGesetze: Zentrale Dokumente der Demokratie erstmals frei zugänglich

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Die Bundesgesetzblätter sind die zentralen Dokumente der deutschen Demokratie. Unter OffeneGesetze.de sind sie jetzt erstmals frei zugänglich. Auf unserem neuen Portal stellen wir die Dokumente kostenfrei und zur freien Weiterverwendung bereit. Bisher sind Bundesgesetzblätter nur über die Website bgbl.de des Bundesanzeiger Verlags verfügbar. Der private Verlag verlangt für grundlegende Funktionen, zum Beispiel die Durchsuchbarkeit oder das Drucken von Gesetzblättern, Abogebühren. Eine Weiterverwendung der Dokumente untersagt der Verlag mit Verweis auf das Urheberrecht. Das Urheberrecht darf der Demokratie nicht im Wege stehen. Daten und Dokumente des Staates müssen frei für alle Menschen zugänglich sein. Wenn das Justizministerium nicht dafür sorgt, muss eben die Zivilgesellschaft einspringen. Der vormals staatliche Bundesanzeiger Verlag wurde 2006 privatisiert. In einem umstrittenen Verfahren sicherte sich der Dumont-Verlag das Unternehmen. Die genauen Bedingungen der Kooperation des Bundes mit dem Verlag hält das zuständige Justizministerium geheim. Neben dem Vertrieb des Bundesgesetzblatts erhielt der Verlag ohne Ausschreibung auch den Auftrag zum Betrieb von anderen staatlichen Plattformen, zum Beispiel dem Transparenzregister. Durch die Funktionen von OffeneGesetze.de, etwa den Gesamt-Download aller Bundesgesetzblätter seit 1949, wird es erstmals möglich, den Textbestand der Gesetzblätter zu analysieren und Veränderungen in Gesetzen der letzten Jahrzehnte nachzuvollziehen. Außerdem können anders als bisher einzelne Dokumente verlinkt und durchsucht werden. Die Plattform wurde von Stefan Wehrmeyer, Johannes Filter und Arne Semsrott erstellt. Pressekontakt: Arne Semsrott, arne.semsrott@okfn.de, Tel.: 030 57703666 0

OffeneGesetze: Opening Germany’s Law Gazette

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

The Federal Law Gazettes are the central documents of German democracy. To pass a law, it has to be published in the Law Gazette. At OffeneGesetze.de they are now freely accessible for the first time. On the portal we provide the documents free of charge and for free re-use. So far, Federal Law Gazettes have only been available via the website bgbl.de of the Bundesanzeiger Verlag. The private publisher charges subscription fees for basic functions, such as searchability or printing of law gazettes. The publisher prohibits re-use of the documents with reference to his self-proclaimed database rights. Copyright law must not stand in the way of democracy. Official data and documents must be freely accessible to all. If the Ministry of Justice does not ensure this, civil society must step in. That’s what we are doing. The formerly state-owned Bundesanzeiger Verlag was privatised in 2006. In a controversial procedure the Dumont publishing house secured the company. The Ministry of Justice keeps the exact terms of the federal government’s cooperation with the publisher secret. In addition to distributing the Federal Law Gazette, the publisher was also commissioned to operate other government platforms, such as the Transparency Register for beneficial ownership, without a call for tenders. The functions of OffeneGesetze.de, such as the complete download of all federal law gazettes since 1949, make it possible for the first time to analyse the text of the law gazettes and trace changes in laws of recent decades. In addition, individual documents can be linked and searched in a different way than before. On the official website of the Bundesanzeiger Verlag, for example, the first Federal Law Gazette, the promulgation of the Basic Law in 1949, is only available as a slate image scan. The platform was created by Stefan Wehrmeyer, Johannes Filter and Arne Semsrott. Press contact: Arne Semsrott, arne.semsrott@okfn.de, Tel.: 030 57703666 0

OffeneGesetze: Opening Germany’s Law Gazette

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

The Federal Law Gazettes are the central documents of German democracy. To pass a law, it has to be published in the Law Gazette. At OffeneGesetze.de they are now freely accessible for the first time. On the portal we provide the documents free of charge and for free re-use. So far, Federal Law Gazettes have only been available via the website bgbl.de of the Bundesanzeiger Verlag. The private publisher charges subscription fees for basic functions, such as searchability or printing of law gazettes. The publisher prohibits re-use of the documents with reference to his self-proclaimed database rights. Copyright law must not stand in the way of democracy. Official data and documents must be freely accessible to all. If the Ministry of Justice does not ensure this, civil society must step in. That’s what we are doing. The formerly state-owned Bundesanzeiger Verlag was privatised in 2006. In a controversial procedure the Dumont publishing house secured the company. The Ministry of Justice keeps the exact terms of the federal government’s cooperation with the publisher secret. In addition to distributing the Federal Law Gazette, the publisher was also commissioned to operate other government platforms, such as the Transparency Register for beneficial ownership, without a call for tenders. The functions of OffeneGesetze.de, such as the complete download of all federal law gazettes since 1949, make it possible for the first time to analyse the text of the law gazettes and trace changes in laws of recent decades. In addition, individual documents can be linked and searched in a different way than before. On the official website of the Bundesanzeiger Verlag, for example, the first Federal Law Gazette, the promulgation of the Basic Law in 1949, is only available as a slate image scan. The platform was created by Stefan Wehrmeyer, Johannes Filter and Arne Semsrott. Press contact: Arne Semsrott, arne.semsrott@okfn.de, Tel.: 030 57703666 0

PSI public sector information

- December 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

Opendata in Europe, on the re-use of public sector information, otherwise known as the PSI Directive, is an EU directive that encourages EU member states to make as much public sector information available for re-use as possible.
Documents & upcoming English summary below. Seit 2012 beschäftigt sich die OKFDE aktiv mit der PSI - Public Sector Information Directive, aka Open Data. Und so wie es scheint, auch noch länger. Am Montag den 5. Dezember kam es im federführenden ITRE-Ausschuss (Industrie, Forschung und Energie) zur Abstimmung (25min) über die PSI Richtlinie, also über die kommende Richtlinie für offene Daten in der europäischen Union. Ergebnisse im Detail Am 12. Dezember findet der erste Trilog statt. Dazu gibt es hier eine kurze Übersicht zu den wichtigsten Punkte. Hintergrund zur PSI zum besseren Verständnis (die Genesis der PSI und Modell zur Umsetzung).
tl;dr: Ursprünglicher Antreiber war UK, fällt jetzt weg, Frankreich aktuell der zweite Treiber, ist von Deutschland alleingelassen worden. Großbritannien war Ende der 1990er-Jahre ein Innovator auf dem Gebiet der PSI. Der Beitrag der britischen Regierung war für die offene Datenpolitik und die 2003 verabschiedete EU-Richtlinie von wesentlicher Bedeutung. Dazu gehört auch die Aufnahme der Liste von hochwertigen Datensätzen in die G8-Charta. Ein weiterer Treiber ist heute die französische Politik, die ein Gesetz über die „Digitale Republik“ verabschiedet hat. Frankreich definierte Kategorien von vorrangig im öffentlichen Sektor gehaltenen Daten, die von grundlegendem Wert für die ganze Gesellschaft sind. Nach dem Brexit bräuchte es in der EU umso mehr politische Einigkeit bei der Festlegung einer innovativen Datenpolitik. Die Chance auf den Aufbau einer europäischen Dateninfrastruktur wurde leider von Deutschland, allen Sonntagsreden zum Trotz, nicht wahrgenommen. Deutschland kann im internationalen Wettbewerb langfristig nur als Teil eines europäischen Ansatzes bestehen. Eine Kooperation mit Frankreich hätte die Chance geboten, beide Länder zum Motor einer europäischen Opendata Strategie zu machen. Damit wurde wiederum eine Chance auf ein europäisches Gegenmodell nicht genützt. Das Thema wurde von der Bundesregierung nicht ausreichend unterstützt, und wie mehrfach abgesichert aus Verhandlungskreisen bekannt ist, waren VertreterInnen aus Deutschland und die Bedenkenträgerfraktion leider tatkräftig am Werken und einer der Bremsklötze schlecht hin (Links folgen). Übrigens, im aktuellen Koalitionsvertrag der deutschen Bundesregierung steht: „Um die Chancen und den Nutzen behördlicher Verwaltungsdaten für Wirtschaft und Bürgerinnen und Bürger noch weiter zu verbessern, werden wir im Rahmen eines zweiten Open Data Gesetzes die Bereitstellung von Open Data ausweiten.“ Man darf gespannt sein, wie dieses Verlaufen wird. Die nächste Baustelle bzw. Chance. Nächstes Update erfolgt am 12.12.2012.

Dokumente:

IMCO Julia Reda Opinion IMCO
28.11 NGOs urge European Parliament to vote for free access to company and UBO registers
5.12 Abstimmungsergebnisse im Detail

Aktueller Fahrplan:

12.12 startet der Trilog
31.12 Übergabe an den rümanischen EU-Ratsvorsitz
Die „Kommunale Daten“ @KASeurope Diskussion mit (ɔ) @AxelVossMdEP und @AlexanderHand vom @Gemeindebund, entfiel leider, soll Anfang 2019 nachgeholt werden.
November geplantes Update/Präsentation der EC, aktuelles Dokument
Am 20. November ITRE doc update Update 7.11 EC press release PSI

English

~ „We shall write, As time, and our concernings shall importune“
– „Duke“ | W. Shakespeare’s „Measure for Measure“: Act I, Scene I (play)
aka It’s is timely ressource question.

Open data and the fight against corruption in Latvia, Sweden and Finland

- December 7, 2018 in financial transparency, finland, Latvia, network, OK Finland, OK Sweden, Open Data, Sweden

This blog has been crossposted from the Open Knowledge Sweden blog.
Transparency International Latvia, in collaboration with Open Knowledge Sweden and Open Knowledge Finland, has published a new study on open data and anti-corruption policies in Latvia, Sweden and Finland, showing that governments in the three countries could do more to leverage the potential of open data for anti-corruption policies and public accountability.  The study comprises an overview report summarising the overall findings and identifying opportunities for knowledge transfer and regional cooperation as well as specific reports assessing to what extent governments in Latvia, Sweden and Finland have implemented internationally agreed-upon open data principles as part of their anti-corruption regime, providing recommendations for further improvement at the national level.                                 The study is the outcome of a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The aim of the project was to gain a better understanding of how Nordic and Baltic countries are performing in terms of integration of anti-corruption and open data agendas, in order to identify opportunities for knowledge transfer and promote further Nordic cooperation in this field. The study assessed whether 10 key anti-corruption datasets in Latvia, Finland and Sweden are in line with international open data standards. The datasets considered in the frame of the study are:
  1. Lobbying register
  2. Company register
  3. Beneficial ownership register
  4. Public officials’ directories
  5. Government Budget
  6. Government spending
  7. Public procurement register
  8. Political Financing register
  9. Parliament’s Voting Records
  10. Land Register
Within this respect, Sweden has made only 3 of 10 key anti-corruption datasets available online and fully in line with open data standards, whereas Finland have achieved to make 8 of these datasets available online, six of which are fully in line with open data standards.  As for Latvia, 5 of them have been found to be available and in line with the standards. When it comes to scoring these three countries with regard to anti-corruption datasets, in Sweden, the situation is more problematic compared to other two countries. It has the lowest score, 5.3 out of 9, while Finland and Latvia have scored 6.1 and 6.0, respectively. Similarly, there are some signals that transparency in Sweden has been worsening in recent years despite its long tradition of efficiency and transparency in the public administration, good governance and rule of law as well as being in the top-10 of the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for several years. The problem in Sweden stems from the fact that the government has had to cope with the high decentralization of the Swedish public administration, which seems to have resulted in little awareness of open data policies and practices and their potential for anti-corruption among public officials. Thus, engaging the new agency for digitalisation, Agency for Digital Government (DIGG), and all other authorities involved in open data could be a solution to develop a centralised, simple, and shared open data policy. Sweden should also take legal measures to formally enshrine open data principles in PSI (Public Sector Information) law such as requiring that all publicly released information be made ‘open by default’ and under an ‘open license’. The situation in Finland and Latvia is more promising. In Finland, a vibrant tech-oriented civil society in the country has played a key role in promoting initiatives for the application of open data for public integrity in a number of areas, including lobbying and transparency of government resources. As for Latvia,in recent years, it has made considerable progress in implementing open data policies, and the government has actively sought to release data for increasing public accountability in a number of areas such as public procurement and state-owned enterprises. However, the report finds that much of this data is still not available in open, machine-readable formats – making it difficult for users to download and operate with the data. Overall, in all three countries it seems that there has been little integration of open data in the agenda of anti-corruption authorities, especially with regard to capacity building. Trainings, awareness-raising and guidelines have been implemented for both open data and anti-corruption; nonetheless, these themes seem not to be interlinked within the public sector. The report also emphasizes the lack of government-funded studies and thematic reviews on the use of open data in fighting corruption. This applies both to the national and regional level. On the other hand, there is also a considerable potential for cooperation among Nordic-Baltic countries in the use of open data for public integrity, both in terms of knowledge transfer and implementation of common policies. While Nordic countries are among the most technologically advanced in the world and have shown the way with regard to government openness and trust in public institutions, the Baltic countries are among the fastest-growing economies in Europe, with a great potential for digital innovation and development of open data tools. Such cooperation among the three states would be easier in the presence of networks of “tech-oriented” civil society organisations and technology associations, as well as the framework of cooperation with authorities with the common goal of promoting and developing innovation strategies and tools based in open data.

Photographs of (models of) the moon (1874)

- December 6, 2018 in illustrations of space, models, moon, outer space, Photography

James Nasymth's images of intricate models of the lunar surface.

Catherine Stihler é a nova diretora executiva da Open Knowledge Internacional

- December 5, 2018 in colaboração, Conhecimento Livre, Dados Abertos, Internet, OKF, Open Knowledge Internacional

Catherine Stihler foi nomeada como a nova CEO da Open Knowledge Internacional. Stihler tem anos de experiência na criação e compartilhamento de conhecimento no cenário global. Ela se juntará à equipe da OKI em fevereiro e deixará o parlamento europeu no final de janeiro, após uma extraordinária carreira de quase 20 anos na elaboração de políticas da União Europeia. Catherine foi deputada da Escócia desde 1999, onde vive com o marido e os filhos pequenos. Nesta função, foi vice-presidente da Comissão do Mercado Interno e da Proteção dos Consumidores do Parlamento Europeu e foi a autora de relatórios e opiniões influentes que moldaram a política da UE. Ela também é ex-reitora da Universidade de St. Andrews – onde recebeu um doutorado honorário no início deste ano. Ela trabalhou em política digital, priorizando o mercado único digital, habilidades digitais, proteção de dados on-line para cidadãos, reforma dos direitos autorais para apoiar as liberdades da Internet e o papel da Inteligência Artificial e da automação.

Catherine Stihler | Crédito: European Parliament audiovisual

“Estou adorando novos desafios e oportunidades com a Open Knowledge International. Habilidades digitais e uso de dados sempre foram uma paixão pessoal, e estou ansiosa para ajudar grupos em todo o mundo a criar e compartilhar conhecimento aberto, e encorajar a próxima geração a entender que informação é poder que pode ser usada para lidar com a pobreza e outras desafios sociais ”, disse Catherine. Já Tim Hubbard, presidente da diretoria da Open Knowledge International, afirmou: “Estamos muito felizes em dar as boas vindas à Catherine ao nosso time. Ela tem anos de experiência na formulação de políticas e no uso de evidências e abertura para ajudar a enfrentar desafios globais, como mudanças climáticas, liberdades na internet e saúde pública. Catherine demonstrou capacidade de reunir pessoas, construir coalizões e confiar em um mundo que realmente precisa disso. Ela traduziu conhecimentos complicados e técnicos sobre habilidades digitais, direitos autorais e inteligência artificial para ajudar a moldar a política europeia, fazendo uma diferença real e duradoura para centenas de milhões de pessoas. Seu dinamismo, energia e comprometimento serão inestimáveis para o movimento aberto quando enfrentarmos os novos desafios do século 21”. Flattr this!