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Czech Open Data Challenge: a showcase of amazing transparency apps

- December 7, 2017 in competition, czech republic, network, network updates, OK Czech, Open Data, Open Knowledge Network

This blog post was written by the Czech Republic Open Knowledge team as part of our blog series of Open Knowledge Network updates.  In the fifth edition of Czech open data challenge, interested parties from the ranks of the public, non-profit organizations and companies were invited to submit applications that use or generate open data. Applications developed between November 2016 and October 2017 could compete. This year, the competition was dominated by transparency apps. Many of the 24 contestants focused on improving the efficiency of public spending or parliamentary watchdog. Others chose to provide convenient access to information about pharmacies or publishing stats about lawyers. In this blog you can find more information about some of this year’s winners. The winner, Hlídač státu (, State watchdog), is a strong tool of control over public spending. It connects a registry of contracts with data about donations to political parties and presents it in a comprehensible manner. Michal Blaha, author of Hlídač státu, said that he takes his victory as a commitment. „Open data are making the public administration more democratic and transparent, as they balance the relationship between citizen and officer.” he explained. The second place was awarded to the civic initiative for their Inventura hlasování (Inventory of voting in the Chamber of Deputies in 2013-2017, It is a user-friendly way to compare one’s opinions with voting of individual MPs. More than 400.000 people used the app ahead of the latest election. The third place was taken by Databáze prázdných domů (Database of Empty Houses,, which aggregates information about abandoned and decrepit buildings in Czechia. The project aims to save remarkable houses and find new uses for vacant real estate.

Screenshot of, visualising vacant real estate in Brno, Czech Republic

For the first time in the contest history, the Student prize was awarded to a middle school, Střední škola zemědělská a potravinářská Klatovy. A group of five youngsters led by an enthusiastic teacher spent one weekend at school to create interesting visualisations over real time data of the Czech parliamentary election: The Otakar Motejl Fund award for projects which increase government transparency, was given to CityVizor (, a joint effort of Ministry of Finance and an alliance of cities. It is a unique example of the government cooperating with local administrations and helps to present city budgets and spending to citizens and allows the municipalities to share IT expenses. A special award went to the Czech Open Street Maps community, for their tireless effort of providing detailed and up-to-date map data. Being openly available, they are an invaluable resource for many successful businesses as well as civic initiatives. Another positive sign is, that political parties themselves start to leverage the power of open data and civic apps. The political party STAN for example built a mobile app which tracks votes and attendance of their MPs. The winners were awarded with prize money (up to 20 000 CZK), security software or trainings in online marketing.

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

- October 21, 2014 in apps for europe, Business Lounge, competition, Events, Featured, hackathon, Open Data

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 and register on (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 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, let us know and we will be happy to answer them.

Apps for Europe is looking for the best open data apps

- September 1, 2014 in Applications, apps for europe, competition, Featured, Open Data, 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 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, 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.

Catalogue of the 68 competitive designs for the great tower for London (1890)

- July 16, 2012 in architecture, competition, Eiffel Tower, london stump, london tower, non-article, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Non-fiction, Texts: Science, tower competition, watkin's folly, wembley

Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde for the Tower Company; 1890; Industries, London .

A catalogue showing the entries for a competition to design a new tower for London. The year previous, 1889, saw the hugely successful Eiffel Tower go up in the centre of Paris, and the good people of London, not to be outdone, decided to get one of their own. A wonderful array of designs were put forward. Many were suspiciously similar to the Eiffel Tower and many erred on the wackier side of things, such as Design no.19, the “Century Tower”, reminiscent of a huge screw, and London Vegetarian Society’s design for an “aerial colony” which came complete with hanging vegetable gardens a one-twelfth scale replica of the Great Pyramid on its summit. The very practical design number 37 by Stewart, McLaren and Dunn was eventually chosen to be awarded the 500 guinea prize-money and built in Wembley Park. Construction began in 1892 but the company in charge of the erection, The Metropolitan Tower Company, soon ran into problems including falling chronically behind schedule due to marshy ground and then financial difficulties which eventually led to their liquidation in 1889. Construction ceased after only 47 metres had been completed. The abandoned ‘tower’ (known as the Watkins Folly, or The London Stump) remained a spectacle in the park for a number of years before being deemed unsafe and blown up in 1904. Wembley Stadium ended up being built over the site for the 1923 British Empire Exhibition. When the stadium was rebuilt in 2000, the lowering of the level of the pitch resulted in the concrete foundations of the failed tower being rediscovered.

(For more info see the Wikipedia article and also this blog where the pictures above came from. There is also a nice post on the subject over at London Particulars. Also check out our post in the Images collection for a selection of some of the more inventive designs.)

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The dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924)

- January 29, 2012 in competition, dream, dream picture, film, Films, non-article, oakland

In 1924 California’s Tribune-American newspaper ran a competition for its readers to write in with their most unusual dreams and the winning entry was made into a short film. This is Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland’s dream of losing her baby, rowing across San Francisco Bay, picking up some fish, and eventually discovering her lost child in a most unusual place and in trouble with the law.

Internet Archive user “kingwaylon” has added a nice homemade soundtrack to this version here.

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.

Princess Nicotine (1909) 6min

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) 12min

Last of the Mohicans (1920) 1hr11min

Meet John Doe (1941) 2hr3min

The Unappreciated Joke (1903) 1min

Frankenstein (1910) 13min

The General (1926) 1hr19min

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 1hr19mins

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895) 21sec

The Great Train Robbery (1903) 10min

Wolf Blood (1925) 1hr7min

Reefer Madness (1938) 1hr8min

The Kiss (1896) 25secs

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms (1940) 20min

Battleship Potemkin (1925) 1hr13min

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) 1hr57min

Trapeze Disrobing Act (1901) 2min

Are You Popular (1947) 10min

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) 1hr11min

Scarlet Street (1945) 1hr43min

Annie Oakley Fires Her Gun (1894) 20secs

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) 13min

For The Term of His Natural Life (1927) 1hr33min

The Last Man on Earth (1964) 1hr27min

Operation Cue (1955) 52sec

Never Weaken (1921) 28min

Intolerance (1916) 2hr57min

Quicksand (1950) 1hr18min

Dutch Fashion Reel (1969) 1min50sec

Betty Boop: Minnie The Moocher (1932) 7min46sec

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 1hr46min

Suddenly (1954) 1hr16mins

Buffalo Dance (1894) 14sec

American Day in Tripoli, Libya (1962) 14min

The Thief of Bagdad (1924) 2hr20min

Five Minutes to Live (1961) 1hr14min

VD is for Everybody (1969) 1min

Your Name Here (1960) 10min10sec

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 1hr11min

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) 1hr53min

The Enchanted Drawing (1900) 1min29sec

The Night Before Christmas (1905) 8min44sec

Stella Maris (1918) 1hr13min

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) 1hr40min

Time-Lapse Demolition of the Star Theatre, New York (1901) 1min49sec

The Dream of Mrs L.L. Nicholson from Oakland, California (1924) 7min23sec

The Lost World (1925) 1hr8min

Gulliver's Travels (1939) 1hr18min

Dog Factory (1904) 4min37sec