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OK Greece sings an MoU with the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT)

- June 9, 2017 in OK Greece

On Friday, June 2, Open Knowledge Greece (OK Greece) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT), regarding the sharing and the analysis of transport data in the city of Thessaloniki, with the aim to predict traffic and improve mobility in the street.

From left to right: Dr Jose Salanova – HIT’s Research Associate; Dr Charalampos Bratsas – OK Greece President; Dr Evangelos Bekiaris – HIT’s Director and Dr Georgia Aifadopoulou- HIT’s Deputy Director-Research Director

HIT’s Director Dr Evangelos Bekiaris and Dr Georgia Aifadopoulou, HI Deputy Director – Research Director welcomed OK Greece President Dr Charalampos Bratsas at the Institute offices. Following the signing of the agreement, Mr Bratsas stressed:
Today, we made another step towards the efficient use and management of data in the interests of citizens. We are very happy about this cooperation and we hope for its long-term growth.

When asked about the aim of the agreement and HIT’s benefit from its cooperation with OK Greece, Mr Bekiaris said that HIT wants to take advantage of OK Greece’s know-how on the field of data analysis, in order to highlight its own data for the common good of both Thessaloniki and the rest of Greece, in a reliable and secure way that will open the data to the largest possible public. Among others, Mr Bekiaris also mentioned the benefit of this effort to the end-user. More specifically, he said:
This MoU gives us the opportunity to operate data platforms, through which businesses will be able to derive the data they need, for free, in order to take initiatives and develop new services. There has not been such a thing in Greece yet, as there is in Finland, for example, but, along with OK Greece, we can develop something similar in the transport sector to allow Greek SMEs to use data and create new services, helping the public and the economy as a whole.
Dr Georgia Aifadopoulou described the agreement as the beginning of a pioneering innovation for Thessaloniki, which will also have a multiplier effect for the rest of Greece. According to her, the HIT has been running a living lab on smart mobility in Thessaloniki for years, noting that it has been recognised at the European level by introducing Thessaloniki to the official list of the EU smart cities. The lab gathers real-time information, through an ecosystem, built by a joint venture of local institutions, such as the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Region of Central Macedonia, as well as the TAXI and commercial fleet operators. This ecosystem processes the available information, providing citizens with plenty of services, regarding traffic, the road conditions etc. She also stated that through this collaboration with OK Greece, we manage to open our data, also persuading other bodies to follow our example. Our goal is to expand the existing ecosystem and promote the exchange of know-how on open data. The choice of Thessaloniki, participating in a relevant competition, as the first city at the European level to pilot the Big Data Europe – Empowering Communities with Data Technologies project in the field of mobility and transport also constitutes a great opportunity to this direction. Dr Ms Aifadopoulou further stressed that the innovative nature of the MoU lies in the cooperation of bodies, coming from different scientific fields. According to her, data analysis is a big issue. The extraction of knowledge from data is another question. This is why we need both institutions in our venture: on the one hand, the HIT, which knows the field of mobility and on the other hand, OK Greece, which knows how to make the data analysis, offering the needed interpretations and explanations. Via this convergence, we will be able to create new knowledge for institutions, citizens, also improving the management of the transport system in Thessaloniki.   To read more about Open Knowledge Greece visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter: @okfngr

OK Greece releases Key Performance Indicators Application… and other 2017 updates

- May 5, 2017 in Chapters, Greece, network, OK Greece

This blog post is part of our on-going Network series featuring updates from chapters across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the Open Knowledge Greece team Open Knowledge Greece (OK Greece) consists of a dynamic team of community members who are not only interested in open data, linked data technologies and coding; but are committed to applying scientific results to everyday community activities. This post documents the Chapter’s activities for the 1st quarter of the current year; specifically the period between January to April 2017. Quarter 1 has been a very creative and productive period for OK Greece with many of the Chapter’s activities achieving great results.  One of our main successful achievements has been the release of the KPIs application. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are a type of performance measurement, a set of quantifiable measures used to gauge an organisation’s or company’s performance over time. These metrics can be used to determine an organisation’s progress in achieving its strategic and operational goals and also to compare an organisation’s finances and performance against other organisations of the same scope. Regarding Public Administration Organizations, such as Local City Councils, Municipalities, or other higher-level authorities; KPIs can provide useful information about an organisation’s performance. KPIs are also a compressed form of information. This is because a huge volume of fiscal data can be summarised in a standardised way, offering a quick overview and better understanding and study over an authority’s effectiveness and performance, as it is reflected by the published fiscal data. It should be noted that KPIs has been developed within the framework of EU Project Openbudgets.eu.

Other events and activities

OK Greece partnered with the Library and Information Center of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to organise a day’s conference, titled Opening our Data Today: Open Governance, Transparency, Participation, as part of the March 2017 International Open Data Day celebrations (ODD 2017). Members of the academic community and professionals supported the openness of research data, stressing that open data can promote science and improve the control of research results. They also noted that the openness of government data contributes to democracy and transparency. On its side, OK Greece emphasised on the need for opening, even more, datasets, other than just working with the available open data. Moreover, OK Greece members presented the OpenBudgets.eu EU Horizon 2020 Project, speaking about the crucial role of linked data in the field of Financial Management and Control of Public Agencies. We also collaborated with the Library and Information Center of the Aristotle University for the “Creating and Verifying Links of Authority Records of the National Library of Greece at Wikidata” workshop. The workshop gave participants the opportunity to be informed about the recent developments in the Semantic Web and in particular about the role of Libraries as a focal point in the development of the Data Web. OK Greece presented its efforts within the Wikidata project and Alignment applications, while participants validated a great number of links, included in the National Library of Greece’s LOD Authority Records at Wikidata. Another important activity of OK Greece was its participation in the“Fake News” in Social Media as Reality Shapers event held by the European Parliament on 8th March. More specifically, OK Greece members and Head of School of Data Greece, Professor of Media Technologies Andreas Veglis travelled to Brussels to speak about the rising trend of “Fake News” in the media and especially on the web.  Mr Veglis gave a speech before MEPs, journalists and professionals, mapping the field of “mocking news”, proposing solutions and emphasising the importance of open data in the fact-checking process.

From left, Andreas Veglis, Head of School of Data Greece /Head at the School of Journalism & Mass Media Communications, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Lidia Ucher, Journalist, Spain; Clara Jiménez, Journalist, Spain; Stelios Kouloglou, Moderator, MEP; Paul Horner, Internet satirical, United States and Michel Christophe, Independent Educator in Critical Thinking, Media Education, France

Veglis gave a speech before MEPs, journalists and professionals, mapping the field of “mocking news”, proposing solutions and emphasising the importance of open data in the fact-checking process. Moreover, OK Greece attended the 9th International Week Dedicated to Maths, held last March by the Hellenic Mathematical Society. We presented on the following: “Analysis of Fiscal Data and Indicators with the implementation of Statistical Learning Algorithms on Semantic Budget Data of OpenBudgets.eu for Municipality” and “Semantic Representation and Implementation of Statistical Learning Algorithms on the Greek NSRF Fiscal Data”.

Kleanthis Koupidis(OK GR COO) and Evangelos Chondrokostas(OK GR Data Scientist) [first and second from right] talk about semantic and data mining techniques to identify possible red flags in NSRF fiscal data.

Both presentations described the Semantic technologies that were used to improve the quality of fiscal data of Greek Municipalities and National Strategic Reference Framework of Greece and the data mining techniques that were implemented to extract useful information from these data. Finally, we collaborated with the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia & Thrace  (esiemth) and the Media Informatics Lab of the School of Journalism & Mass Media Communication (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) in April to organize a two-day Data Journalism Hackathon, entitled “Hackathon Data Journalism: Red Flags in NSRF Programs”, addressing journalists and journalism students. In this framework, OK Greece launched its new Red Flags online application. The Red Flags application uses data from anapyxi.gov.gr, the official website of the Greek Ministry of Development and Competitiveness, which provides detailed information on the implementation process of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) projects, analysing all data available for potential “red flags”. Journalists, who participated in the hackathon, worked in paired groups, investigating possible “red flags” in different NSRF projects. They had the opportunity to conduct a journalistic investigation for some ten days before they present their outcomes on the second day of the hackathon.

Forthcoming

  • Collaboration with Open Knowledge International on Frictionless Data project. We will be  developing a set of tools, standards, and best practices built in open source programming language.
  • Session in Re:publica, regarding Open Data, transparency and technical tools to better understand the world we live in.
The forthcoming months are expected to be fruitful in events and collaborations as well. Τhe GitHub Open Knowledge Greece is strongly active, and other initiatives are commencing with the aim of attracting new members into the open knowledge community. In addition, the chapter endeavours to attain funding from additional research and innovation projects, as there are not fixed incomes and most activities are currently performed on a voluntary basis. Finally, OK Greece has launched a new promotional activity, sending a weekly newsletter to its subscribers, so that all people interested in our vision and activities can join our mailing list.  To read more about Open Knowledge Greece visit their website. Learn more about the Open Knowledge Network by visiting the Open Knowledge International website.  

Open Knowledge Greece release algorithm prototype for analysing budgetary data – and other 2016 updates!

- February 28, 2017 in network, OK Greece, Open Knowledge

This blog post is part of our on-going Network series featuring updates from chapters across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the  Open Knowledge Greece team.

OK Greece Team

Open Knowledge Greece is a dynamic team of community members who are not only interested in open data, linked data technologies and coding, but are committed to applying scientific results to everyday community activities. This post documents the Chapter’s activities for the 4th quarter of 2016. Quarter 4 has been a very productive period with many of the Chapter’s activities achieving great results. One of our main successes has been the release of the Indigo prototype. OK Greece has developed algorithms for time series analysis, clustering and descriptive statistics of budgetary data. These algorithms allow the user to perform different calculations and analysis on the budgetary data and it shows the results visually with charts. Indigo is implemented within the framework of EU Project Openbudgets.eu or with datasets from the Open Spending Package. In the next few months, more algorithms will be launched that will create and reuse fixed budgetary indicators, combining data from different sources.

Other events and activities

The leadership and staff of OKI held their summit in Thessaloniki in November 2016. This presented the opportunity for OK Greece to present its recent activities and initiated discussions regarding OKI projects such as Global Open Data Index, OpenSpending, and OpenTrials. The meet up also helped formed new collaborations that will contribute to the development of these projects. Also, OK Greece arranged a meeting between the leadership of OKI and the Deputy Mayor of Thessaloniki, Spyros Pengas for future collaboration between the municipality, OKI and OK Greece.

OK Greece and OKI staff at Cafe Bazaar, Thessaloniki

We contributed to the “Bring us your ideas. Open and participatory Governance” event which was organised by the Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction. The event started with the re-opening of proposals from the previous event: “Open Government: Participate, Propose and Be Heard! Conformation of the Third National Action Plan 2016-2018”. This was to give participating citizens the opportunity to get informed and evaluate the proposals before taking part in the process of forming the new national action plan. We also partnered with the Library and Information Center of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki to organise the “Open Data Index” workshop as part of the “Open Access Week”. The workshop gave participants the opportunity to check whether the 15 datasets of the Global Open Data survey are open in 10 Greek cities. The goal was to research the scale of data openness and accessibility to the public. The Open Data Index also constitutes a commitment of OK Greece to the Third National Action Plan.

Open Data Index for Greek cities hackathon

As Open Data index for Cities becomes available to the public, more citizens and businesses will be motivated to put pressure on more open data in their municipalities.

Another important event that OK Greece engaged in was the OGP Global Summit 2016 that  took place in Paris. We presented on Open Governance in Greece, using the event “Open Government: Participate, Propose and Be Heard! Conformation of the Third National Action Plan 2016-2018”, as well as its commitments for the Third National Action Plan. Moreover, OK Greece and the Media Informatics Lab of the Department of Journalism and Mass Media Communication in collaboration with esiemth organised a successful workshop on Data Journalism. Professional journalists and students went through the theoretical and practical stages of creating a data journalism story in a step by step process during the workshop.

Data journalism workshop

With support from the Bodosakis Foundation, we also travelled to Oslo as part of the “NGO’s Program in Greece- We are all citizens”,  and met with organisations and other bodies that work on the action for promoting and strengthening Open Governance, Transparency, Open Data and Open Participatory Budgets. Finally, OK Greece participated in the organisation of the event “Thesshack” along with  Wikimedia User Group-Greece, the SheSharp Greece and the official student chapter of ACM at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The main topic was the improvement of Wikipedia and the CEO of OK Greece pinpointed also the importance of DBpedia- a tool that allows to extract structured information from Wikipedia and publish it on the Web. The event included a workshop that gave the opportunity to the participants to learn more about relevant technologies.

Projects

In the scientific domain, the chapter collaborated with the Master Program on Complex Systems and Networks for the development of the project “ Knowledge and Statistical Analysis of Cinematography Linked Data”. The project focuses on finding and analysing data of enterprises in the Cinematography sector for the period of 2000-2014. It was presented at the workshop “SEMANTiCS” in Leipzig in September 2016, along with the paper “Towards Budget Comparative Analysis: The Need for Fiscal Code Lists as Linked Data”.   The chapter also organised the workshop “Data impact: Big, open, linked data innovations” as part of IEEE, which includes four papers on data analysis for journalists, library linked data, tools to promote financial transparency and exploitation of fiscal data.

Forthcoming

  •  Reporters in the age of Data Journalism; accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies (2017, forthcoming)
  • Data Journalism,  Encyclopaedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth edition, Edited by Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, IGI 2017 forthcoming
The winter and spring of  2017 are expected to be fruitful in events and collaborations as well. Τhe GitHub Open Knowledge Greece is becoming strongly active, and other initiatives are commencing with the aim of attracting new members into the open knowledge community. In parallel, the chapter endeavours to attain funding from additional research and innovation projects, as there are no fixed incomes and most activities are currently performed on a voluntary basis. Finally, OK Greece has launched its new website which is also available for tablets and smartphones so that all people interested in our vision and activities can be informed in an easy and enjoyable way. Also, you can check our storify with photos from our recent activities. To read more about Open Knowledge Greece, visit their website. Learn more about the Open Knowledge Network by visiting the Open Knowledge International website.

Open Knowledge Greece Summer 2016 Update

- September 13, 2016 in Chapter updates, Greece, network

This blog post is part of our summer series featuring updates from chapters across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the team of Open Knowledge Greece. Open Knowledge Greece consists of a dynamic team of community members who are interested in open data, linked data technologies, and coding and who do their best to apply scientific results into everyday community activities. The chapter also occupies staff positions, specifically four (4) temporary employees and at least six (6) ad-hoc appointments, among which include programmers and journalists.
The last few months have been a period rich in activities where the chapter has achieved great results. The main success has been the high participation of the chapter in the OGP Greek Action Plan negotiation, by organizing workshops and events targeting the commitment of the government to open data initiatives. First of all, OK Greece was present at the event in which the progress report by Openwise was presented and the discussion of the new action plan initiated. greece2Furthermore, OK Greece co-organized the event “Open Government: Participate, Propose and Be Heard! Conformation of the Third National Action Plan 2016-2018”, a successful event where proposals for the third action plan were made by citizens and different stakeholders. This event was very important for promoting and strengthening open governance and open data. Alongside the event OK Greece submitted its own commitments, three (3) of which have been incorporated into the new action plan: the organization of the School of Data for public servants, as well as, of the Open Data Index for cities and local administrations and the operation of a platform for Linked, Open and Participatory Budgets Other events and activities of OK Greece include:
  • The consultation of the Greek Ministry of Education on open data issues.
  • The co-organisation of the 1st Data Workshop “Data Driven World” in order to introduce data to people from different sectors, active participation in the event “Investigative Data Journalism: Learning by doing- The Football Tax in Greece”.
Moreover, the chapter is implementing the Openbudgets.eu project funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission, which aims to develop a platform for supporting financial transparency for the public sector. In this project, OK Greece has undertaken the development of the platform integration and the implementation of the interface and visualizations. greece3In the scientific domain, the chapter has achieved important publications in journals and conferences (e.g. Journal of biomedical semantics, Journal of Smart Cities, Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies, Semantics Conference, Nordic Data Journalism Conference NODA16)
The Future The fall and winter 2016-2017 is expected to be fruitful in events and collaborations as well. The new website of Open Knowledge Greece is about to be launched, the GitHub Open Knowledge Greece is becoming strongly active , and other initiatives are commencing aiming to attract new members in the open knowledge community. In parallel, the chapter endeavors to attain funding from additional research and innovation projects, as there are not fixed incomes and most activities are currently performed on a voluntary basis.   Finally, OK Greece is getting ready to host major global events for Open Knowledge communities, and the team will be very happy to welcome friends, colleagues, co-workers in Greece! greece5 To read more about Open Knowledge Greece visit their website. Learn more about the Open Knowledge Network by visiting the Open Knowledge International website.  

Towards the conformation of the Third Greek OGP Action Plan: Open Knowledge Greece makes three commitments

- July 25, 2016 in OGP, OK Greece, open-government

This blog post was written by Olga Kalatzi from OK Greece On the 5th of July in Athens, the open dialogue on Greece’s Third National Action Plan to the Open Government Partnership commenced where Open Knowledge Greece presented its 3 commitments for the third action plan. The commitments of OK Greece included School of Data for public servants, the Open Data Index for cities and local administrations and linked open and participatory budgets. All of them come with implementation resources and timetables and satisfy all the OGP principles. The event has been supported by the Bodossaki Foundation and different stakeholders participated: OK Greece, Openwise (IRM), Gov2u, GFOSS, Vouliwatch, diaNEOsis, as well experts from OGP Support Unit and Mrs. Nancy Routzouni, advisor on e-Government to the Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform.
OK Greece was represented in the event by its President Dr. Charalampos Bratsas and Marinos Papadopoulos, while OK Greece OGP team in Thessaloniki participated remotely through Skype. Tonu Basu from OGP Support Unit said that “Staff from the OGP Support Unit had some very productive meetings with representatives from both government and civil society. We were greatly encouraged to see that civil society and government are taking concrete steps to collaborate among themselves and with each other through the development of collaborative networks. Civil society and government collaboration is the key to the strengthening of the OGP process and to establishing a strong culture of a transparent, accountable, and responsive government”. The discussion has been focused on the improvement of the third action plan and the importance of the collaboration between civil society and government on promoting and strengthening open governance and transparency in Greece. “Bodossaki Foundation participates actively in the conformation of the Third Action Plan aiming to develop and act as an intermediary between civil society bodies and this cause. The goal is the conformation of the action plan with the participation of the civil society and its successful implementation through monitoring and evaluation”, comments Fay Koutzoukou, Deputy Program Director. Among the challenges addressed in the meeting, great attention was given to the small ownership of the civil society groups in participating in the formation and implementation of the action plan that holds the process back. The suggestions made by the civil society organizations that participated were on monitoring closer the process with regular meetings and assigning specific commitments leveraging both people and government. According to experts from OGP Support Unit, some of the potential commitments of the action plan, which include issues like subnational, open education, open justice, parliament and administrative reform, if implemented as scheduled, they could position Greece as a regional and global leader among the 70 OGP countries. Nancy Routzouni, advisor on e-Government to the Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform, concludes the event by saying that: “We are very pleased to work and collaborate with civil society bodies as their ideas, knowledge, and feedback are crucial in the process of forming the national action plan”. The third National OGP action plan had been discussed and approved by the Parliament last week, where the commitments by OK Greece were mentioned, as Nancy Routzouni said in the event in Athens.
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