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Energy and Climate Post-Hack News

- March 13, 2012 in Events, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Data, Open Economics, Our Work, visualization

Earlier this month, our Energy and Climate Hackday brought together about 50 people in London and online, joining from Berlin, Washington D.C., Amsterdam, Graz and Bogota. With participants working in the private sector, for NGOs, universities and the public sector, we had a good mix of people with different expertise and skills. Some people had some idea on how to communicate some resource scarcity, the threat of climate change or the need to transform the existing energy structure. The challenge for developers was to visualise and present the openly available data – such as the dataset with environmental indicators from the World Bank. It was a great chance to meet and work with people that you don’t meet on a day-to-day basis, and get new ideas and inspiration. The event was sponsored by AMEE, which provides aggregated and automated access to the world’s environmental and energy information, and was hosted at the offices of ThoughtWorks. Ed Hogg from the Department of Energy and Climate Change presented the Global 2050 Pathways Calculator Challenge . The Global Calculator would show how different technology choices impact energy security and reflect the geographical opportunities and limitations of energy technologies. It could focus on sectors of the economy, on countries and regions, or combine visualisations on both, showing implications for emissions and temperatures.   The Carbon Budget Challenge: Because of the controversy around how much each country “should” be emitting into the atmosphere, there are different criteria for determining each country’s share. According to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility in international environmental law: “parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of future and present generations of human kind on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.”  (Art. 3 of UNFCCC) So richer countries should bear a higher responsibility in order to ensure equitable access to sustainable development. But it is not just the current rate of CO2 emissions that is important. Since carbon dioxide hangs around in the atmosphere for 50 to 100 years, the cumulative total emissions from historical data also need to be accounted for. According to the “polluter pays” principle, calculating the historical footprint of each country is an important way of determining each country’s responsibility. The way emissions are calculated also leaves room for scrutiny (and creative data visualisation). According to empirical evidence, the net emission transfers via international trade from developing to developed countries has increased, which poses the challenge of visualising “imported emissions”. The Historic Carbon Budget group worked on visualising historical time series of carbon dioxide emissions and comparing countries relative to the world mean. Meanwhile, the Future Carbon Budget group worked on visualising how the world would look under different algorithms for “allocating” emissions to countries, where the weightings of each country would vary based on:
  • historical emissions or the extent to which past high-emitting countries have “used up” their rights to emit in the future.
  • population change and expected population growth and the rights of future generations to development
  • capacity of emission abatement based on GDP and resources to invest in research and development of green technologies.
A Contraction and Convergence model, which reduces overall emissions and brings them to an equal level per capita, was put together during the afternoon. Building upon this model, developers designed a visualisation tool where one could input different implementation years, GDP and population growth rates in order to estimate the contraction and convergence path.
The Phone App to Communicate Climate Change Challenge inspired one group to show climate data and visualisations on a phone based on where the person is located. It would be either directed at the members of international organisations missions or the general public. A phone app could be useful to communicate the basic climate change facts about particular regions to the staff of international organisations like the World Bank and the IMF, saving them from wading through long and complex reports. For the general public, “global climate change” often seems too complex and distant: a phone app that communicates climate facts based on location, which can be read wherever and whenever you have time, might reach those who would not otherwise connect with these issues. Deforestation and Land Use Challenge gathered Berlin developers  to create a visualisation of land use and forest area in the world. The Forestogram shows a world map with pie charts of land use (forest, agricultural land and other areas), based on the 5-year FAO data reports since 1990. When selecting “Usage by Kind” the user sees a beautiful peace sign made of the pies of all countries in the world. Other ideas which we worked on included a “Comparothon” or a web-based application which allows the visualisation of data based on the relative size of bubbles. Data could be compared either for a single indicator across time, or for a single cross-section in one period. We would like to thank Ilias Bartolini, who was an amazing host at the offices of ThoughtWorks, our sponsors AMEE and all participants who shared their knowledge and skills for a Saturday. Some notes from the Hackday can be found on the Etherpad. Some prototypes are still being developed, so if you have a similar idea and would like to join in, please let us know! For contact and feedback: velichka.dimitrova [at]

Energy and Climate Hackday, March 3rd

- February 24, 2012 in Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Economics, Our Work, Sprint / Hackday, WG Economics

On Saturday 3rd March we’re getting together for the Energy and Climate Hackday to data-wrangle and build apps around energy and climate data. All skills and interest groups are welcome: developers, data journalists, economists, climate scientists, environmentalists and interested citizens.
  • When? Saturday 3rd March, 11am GMT (12pm CET/6am EST) to ~7pm GMT (8pm CET/3pm EST)
  • Where? London, Berlin and Online.
    • London – ThoughtWorks Ltd, 9th Floor Berkshire House, 168-173 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7AA.
    • Berlin – Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland Offices – Coworking Space, St. Oberholz Rosenthaler Straße 72a, 10119 Berlin
    • Online – you can also join online from 12pm GMT (13pm CET/7am EST) through Skype and IRC (#okfn or #okfnecon on freenode).
  • Who? Anyone! All skills are necessary and welcomed: coding, writing, illustrating, climate modelling or having concerns about the environment.
  • How? Sign up on the MeetUp page and on the Etherpad.

Hackday Challenges:

  • Creating an app, which visualises different energy indicators for all countries from the WorldBank database, as in Europe’s Energy.

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: DECC 2050 Pathways Calculator with representatives from DECC, who would like to develop an international version of the application.

  • Visualisation of deforestation data with a world map, which tracks changes in forest area and land use as well as carbon dioxide emissions… also relating them to economic indicators?

  • Your ideas…

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A successful prototype will be submitted to the Apps4Climate World Bank competition. The competition calls for an application which:
  • is related to climate change; either to raising awareness, measuring progress, or helping in some way to address the development challenges of climate change.
  • makes use of one or more of the datasets listed in the World Bank Data Catalog or Climate Change Knowledge Portal.
  • may be any kind of software application, be it for the web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, SMS, or any software platform broadly available to the public.
The competition period ends on March 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM EST.

DataParty prior to the event:

You are also welcome to join the Energy and Climate DataParty on the 29th February to data mine and mash up climate and energy data. Researchers and graduate students who have worked on environment-related topics are also invited to share their dissertation datasets on theDataHub. If you are interested in co-organising this event and have ideas for challenges, you are welcome to join.

Open Economics Hackday

- February 1, 2012 in Events, Hackday, Hackday / Code Sprint, london, Open Data, Open Economics, Open Knowledge, WG Economics

Open Economics Hackday

Open Economics Hackday at the Barbican, London. Photo by Ilias Bartolini.

The following post is by Velichka Dimitrova coordinator of the Open Economics Working Group. It is great to see people coming together and doing something cool on a Saturday. The Open Economics Hackday gathered more than thirty people at the Barbican and online, crafting fancy visualisations, wrangling data and being creative together. The day was devoted to ideas in open economics, as a transparent and collaborative academic discipline, which presents research outputs in a comprehensible way to the general public. We aimed at building Yourtopia 2, an interactive application showing the development of Italy on several key social progress indicators over time. Building on preceding experience with alternative non-GDP measures of human development (Yourtopia), the new project’s objective is to show how different progress can be in the separate Italian regions, as Italy is traditionally a country with stark regional inequalities. Although originally used as a term for the gatherings of computer programmers, the Open Economics Hackday was open to people with different backgrounds and various skills. Programmers were creating bits of code, data journalists were gathering and processing data, economists were making sure the project concept addresses key problems in this field of research. Would you like to help finish the Yourtopia 2 application? Please join the follow-up online meeting this Saturday at 2pm GMT. Confirm your participation by typing in your name on the Etherpad:

Open Economics Hack Day Saturday January 28th 2012

- January 18, 2012 in Events, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Data, WG Economics, Working Groups

This post is by Velichka Dimitrova, Coordinator for the Economics Working Group at the Open Knowledge Foundation. On Saturday 28th January we’re getting together for an Open Economics Hackday where we’ll be be wrangling data and building apps related to economics — all are welcome! As with all hackdays, exactly what gets work on gets decided on the day (you can add suggestions to the etherpad). However, one particular idea, which we could become a submission to Apps4Italy, is set out below.

One Idea for What We’ll Work On: ProgressVote

One of the most fundamental questions in economic research is: how do we measure social progress? Policy makers have come up with alternative measures accounting for environmental impacts, inequality, happiness and other indicators of human development. However, the multiplicity of factors has caused another problem – how do we decide on the importance of each individual factor in a composite index? They could be either equally important (such as in the HDI) or they could be given different weights. In our last project YourTopia – which was one of the winners of last year’s World Bank Apps4Development Prize – we offered one possible solution by letting you decide on which dimensions and aspects of economic development to prioritize. However there are limitations to such an approach: faced with a myriad of technical indicators people are often overwhelmed by the complexity: Does life expectancy at birth matter more than the inflation rate or the M2 money supply? And what does M2 money supply even mean? In ProgressVote, we’d like to improve on YourTopia in a variety of ways: First, by combining proxy voting with the crowd-based Yourtopia approach: Instead of voting for indicators, people vote for expert statements that interpret the dashboard of variables. By doing so, it is hoped to strike a balance between expert judgements and the interpretation of the general public: Experts may be more able to interpret technical data, but in the end it is the citizens who decide which expert statement to endorse. Second, we’d like to add support time series — so you can see how progress (or lack of it) has evolved over time — as well as better geo support — for example, so it is possible to look at regions as well as countries have performed (consider Italy for instance). Interested? Then come join us on Saturday 28th January!

International Open Data Hackathon, Dec 3rd. It’s coming together.

- November 30, 2011 in Events, Guest post, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Government Data, Open Spending, WG Open Government Data

The following guest post is from David Eaves who is the founder of and a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Government Data. The post originally appeared on So a number of things have started to really come together for this Saturday Dec 3rd. I’ve noticed a number of new cities being tweeted about (hello Kuala Lumpur & Oakland!) and others adding themselves to the wiki. Indeed, we seem to be above 40 cities. It is hard to know how many people will be showing up in each given city, but in Vancouver I know that we already over 20 registered, while in Ottawa they are well above 40. If other cities have similar numbers it’s a great testament to the size of the community out there interested in playing with open government data. A few thoughts to share with people as we get ready for the big day.

1. Leverage existing projects.

I’ve mentioned a few times that there are some great existing projects out there that can be easily leveraged. In that vein I’ve noticed the good people at the Open Knowledge Foundation, who are behind OpenSpending (the project that powers have not only made their software easier to use but have put up some helpful instructions for creating your own instance up on the wiki. One hope I have for Saturday is that a number of different places might be able to visualize local budgets in much easier to understand ways. OpenSpending has the potential of being an enormously helpful tool for communities trying to understand their budget – hopefully we can provide some great examples and feedback for its creators. In addition, the folks at MySociety have provided some helpful advice on the wiki for those interested in spinning up a version of MapIt for their country.

2. Get Data Now, Not on Saturday!

Here in Vancouver, my friend Luke C. asked if we could get bicycle accident data for the city or province as he wanted to play around with it and maybe visualize it on December 3rd. It just so happened I had a contact at the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) which insures every vehicle in the province. I reached out and, after going through their request process, now have the data set to share with Luke. The key piece here: now is the time to check and see if data you are interested in is available, investigate what is out there, and request it from various stakeholders if it is not.

3. Share Your Code, Share your Data

Indeed, one advantage of having the BC bicycle accident data early is that I can start sharing it with people immediately. I’ve already uploaded the data set (all 6400 lines) onto BuzzData’s site so others can download it, clone it, and share their own work on it. That way, even if Luke and I get separated, he’s still got something to hack on! So please do let people know where they can find data you are hacking on, as well as project you’re hacking on. The Open Data Day Projects 2011 wiki page currently sits empty (as should be expected). But take a swing by the page 2010 project page, notice how it is quite full… I’d love to see us replicate this success. I’m hoping people link to not just their projects, but also Github repos, scraperwiki creations, DataHub datasets or BuzzData accounts and other places. If you have a project and you think people in open data day hackathons in other cities might be interested, put it in the project page and tweet about it using the #odhd hashtag. You may discover there are people out there who feel as passionately about your project as you do!

4. Let’s Get Connected

Speaking of sharing, my friend Edward O-C, who is organizing the hackathon in Ottawa, did a great job last year setting up some infrastructure so people from different hackathons could video conference with one another. This year I think we’ll try using Google hangouts on google+. However, there is a non-trivial risk that this will not scale super well. So… Edward also suggested (brilliantly) that people create YouTube videos of whatever they create during the hackathon or in the days and weeks that follow. Please post those links to the Open Data Day Projects 2011 wiki page as well. There were a few projects last year that had youtube videos and they were very helpful, particularly when a project isn’t quite ready for prime time. It gives us a taste of what will be available. It also becomes something we can point people to.

5. Have Fun, Do What Is Interesting

Remember, Open Data Day is about meeting people, learning about open data, and working on something that you feel passionate about. This is all very decentralized and informal – no one is going to come and save your hackathon… it is up to you! So make sure you find something you think is worth caring about and work on it. Share your idea, and your passion, with others, that’s what makes this fun. Can’t wait to hear what people are up to. Please feel free to email or tweet at me what you’re working on. I’d love to hear about it and blog about them.

Two Open Knowledge Events in Cape Town: Africa@Home and Open Knowledge Meetup

- November 18, 2011 in Events, Hackday / Code Sprint, Meetups, News, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge, Open Science

The following post is by Francois Grey and Rufus Pollock. Francois is a recent Shuttleworth Fellow, visiting professor at Tsinghua University working and coordinator of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre. Rufus is a co-Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation. There are two exciting open data and open knowledge events in Cape Town South Africa taking place in the next week (in which we’ll both be participating). First up, this Saturday and Sunday, 19-20 November 2011, we’ll be holding an Open Data and Science hackfest at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Then next Tuesday, from 6:30pm-8:30pm an Open Knowledge Meetup is being organized for those interested in Open Data, Open Content and Open Source. More details on both below.

Open Knowledge Meetup – Open Data, Open Content, Open Source

This meetup is for those in Cape Town interested in open data and content. This is the first in what we hope will be a regular event. Come find out about other projects and activities and share your own.


What’s it all about?

Volunteers on the Web can now help researchers with a host of scientific and social challenges. From collecting data about government spending to folding proteins to simulating the future of our planet’s climate. The scope for citizens and schools to benefit from all this online science is enormous. But there’s a catch. This is a grassroots movement, so it needs YOUR help! If you are a scientist, if you have programming and web-design skills you’d like to contribute to science, or if you are just passionate about the idea of volunteer science on the Web, then you should come!

Who’s organizing this?

Kindly hosted by AIMS, the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa. With participation of the Department of Computer Science at UCT, the Citizen Cyberscience Centre, Connexions, the Open Knowledge Foundation, P2PU, Siyavula and SACEMA, through the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation.

What will I get out of it?

This is a two-day event, and the goal is to learn about some cool science, play with some neat software, and above all meet people with a passion for public participation in cutting-edge research. We will form teams and work together to design and produce some really nifty demos and prototypes. The sort of projects you can work on will be based on the real needs of scientists, many of whom will be actively participating. Concretely, you might get involved in …
  • Working on a mobile-phone-based scheme for monitoring the spread of AIDS in Southern Africa.
  • Building an interface for a project that will allow anyone on the Web to help digitize historical documents.
  • Designing a course to help others create their own citizen science project on the Web.
  • Turning an online project for simulating the spread of malaria in Africa into an educational tool that teachers could use in a high-school math class.
… by all means bring your own ideas for projects to the event, as well!

International Open Data Hackathon Updates and Apps

- November 16, 2011 in Events, Guest post, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Government Data, Open Spending, WG Open Government Data

The following guest post is by David Eaves who is the founder of and a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Government Data. The post originally appeared over on his blog. With the International Open Data Hackathon getting closer, I’m getting excited. There’s been a real expansion on the wiki of the number of cities where people are sometimes humbly, sometimes grandly, putting together events. I’m seeing Nairobi, Dublin, Sydney, Warsaw and Madrid as some of the cities with newly added information. Exciting! I’ve been thinking more and more about applications people can hack on that I think would be fun, engage a broad number of people and that would help foster a community around viable, self-sustaining projects. I’m of course, all in favour of people working on whatever piques their interest, but here are a few projects I’m encouraging people to look at:


What I really like about is that there are lots of ways non-coders can contribute. Specifically finding, scraping and categorizing budget data, which (sadly) is often very messy are things almost anyone with a laptop can do and are essential to getting this project off the ground. In addition, the reward for this project can be significant, a nice visualization of whatever budget you have data for – a perfect tool for helping people better understand where their money (or taxes) go. Another big factor in its favour… – a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation who’ve been big supporters and sponsors of the international open data hackathon – is also perfect because, if all goes well, it is the type of project that a group can complete in one day. So I hope that some people try playing with the website using your own local data. It would be wonderful to see the community grow.

2. Adopt a Hydrant

Some of you have already seen me blog about this app – a project that comes out of Code for America. If you know of a government agency, or non profit, that has lat/long information for a resource that it wants people to help take care of… then adopt a hydrant could be for you. Essentially adopt a hydrant – which can be changed to adopt an anything – allows people to sign up and “adopt” what ever the application tracks. Could be trees, hydrants, playgrounds… you name it. Some of you may be wondering… why adopt a hydrant? Well because in colder places, like Boston, MA, adopt a hydrant was created in the hopes that citizens might adopt a hydrant and so agree that when it snows they would keep the hydrant clear of snow. That way, in case there is a fire, the emergency response teams don’t end up wasting valuable minutes locating and then digging out the hydrant. Cool eh? I think adopt a hydrant has the potential of become a significant open source project, one widely used by cities and non-profits. Would be great to see some people turned on to it!

3. Mapit

What I love about mapit is that it is the kind of application that can help foster other open data applications. Created by the wonderful people over at this open source software essentially serves as a mapping layer so that you can find out what jurisdictions a given address or postal code or GPS device currently sits in (e.g. what riding, ward, city, province, county, state, etc… am I in?). This is insanely useful for lots of developers trying to build websites and apps that tell their users useful information about a given address or where they are standing. Indeed, I’m told that most of’s projects use their instance of MapIt to function. This project is for those seeking a more ambitious challenge, but I love the idea that this service might exist in multiple countries and that a community might emerge around another one of’s projects. No matter what you intend to work on, drop me a line! Post it to the open data day mailing list and let me know about it. I’d love to share it with the world.

Open Data Day – a project I’d like to be doing

- November 14, 2011 in Events, Guest post, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Government Data, WG Open Government Data

The following guest post is by David Eaves who is the founder of and a member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Government Data. The post originally appeared over on his blog. As some readers and International Open Data Hackathon participants know, I’m really keen on developers reusing each others code. All too often, in hackathons, we like to build something from scratch (which can be fun) but I’ve always liked the idea of hackathons either spurring genuine projects that others can reuse, or using a hackathon as an excuse to find a project they’d like support and contribute to. That’s why I’ve been really encouraging people to find open source projects out there that they’d find interesting and that will support others’ efforts. This is a big reason I’ve been thinking about MapIt and the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Where Does My Money Go project. In Vancouver, one project I’m eventually hoping we can contribute to is Adopt-a-Hydrant. A project out of Code for America, the great thing about Adopt-a-Hydrant is that it can be adapted to become an adopt an anything app. It’s the end goal of a project I’m hoping to plan out and start on during the Hackathon. Here in Vancouver, I’ve been talking with the Parks Board around getting a database of all the cities trees opened up. Interestingly this dataset does not include location data (Lat/Long) for each tree… So what would initially be great is to build a mobile phone app that will show you a list of trees near the address the user is currently at, and then allow the user to use their phone’s GPS to add the lat/long data to the database. That way we can help augment the city’s database. Once you begin to add lat long data then you could map trees in Adopt-a-Hydrant and create an Adopt-a-Tree app. Citizens could then sign up to adopt a tree, offer to take care of it, maybe notify the parks board if something is wrong. I consider this a fairly ambitious project, but it could end up engaging a number of stakeholders – students, arborists, retirees, and others – that don’t normally engage in open data. I know that the crew organizing a hackathon in Hamilton, Ontario are also looking to create an instance of Adopt-a-Hydrant, which is awesome. We need to both track what worked and what didn’t work so that the kinks in Adopt-a-hydrant can be worked out. More users and developers like us will help refine it further. If you are planning a hackathon for the Dec 3rd International Open Data Hackathon, please be sure to update the wiki, join the mailing list, and if you have a project your are planning on working on, please email the list, or me directly, I’d love to blog about it!

International Open Data Hackathon 2011: Better Tools, More Data, Bigger Fun

- October 15, 2011 in Events, Guest post, Hackday / Code Sprint, Open Data, Sprint / Hackday, Working Groups

The following post is by David Eaves, public policy entrepreneur and open government data activist, and was originally published over on his blog. It follows on from this post on last year’s very successful international hackathon. David will be keynoting at this year’s OGD Camp! Last year, with only a month of notice, a small group passionate people announced we’d like to do an international open data hackathon and invited the world to participate. We were thinking small but fun. Maybe 5 or 6 cities. We got it wrong. In the end people from over 75 cities around the world offered to host an event. Better still we definitively heard from people in over 40. It was an exciting day. Last week, after locating a few of the city organizers’ email addresses, I asked them if we should do it again. Every one of them came back and said: yes. So it is official. This time we have 2 months notice. December 3rd will be Open Data Day. I want to be clear, our goal isn’t to be bigger this year. That might be nice if it happens. But maybe we’ll only have 6-7 cities. I don’t know. What I do want is for people to have fun, to learn, and to engage those who are still wrestling with the opportunities around open data. There is a world of possibilities out there. Can we seize on some of them?


Great question. First off. We’ve got more data. Thanks to more and more enlightened governments in more and more places, there’s a greater amount of data to play with. Whether it is Switzerland, Kenya, or Chicago there’s never been more data available to use. Second, we’ve got better tools. With a number of governments using Socrata there are more API’s out there for us to leverage. Scraperwiki has gotten better and new tools like Buzzdata, TheDataHub and Google’s Fusion Tables are emerging every day. And finally, there is growing interest in making “openess” a core part of how we measure governments. Open data has a role to play in driving this debate. Done right, we could make the first Saturday in December “Open Data Day.” A chance to explain, demo and invite to play, the policy makers, citizens, businesses and non-profits who don’t yet understand the potential. Let’s raise the world’s data literacy and have some fun. I can’t think of a better way than with another global open data hackathon – a maker’s fair-like opportunity for people to celebrate open data by creating visualizations, writing up analyses, building apps or doing what ever they want with data. Of course, like last time, hopefully we can make the world a little better as well. (more on that coming soon)


The basic premises for the event would be simple, relying on 5 basic principles.
  1. Together. It can be as big or as small, as long or as short, as you’d like it, but we’ll be doing it together on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011.

  2. It should be open. Around the world I’ve seen hackathons filled with different types of people, exchanging ideas, trying out new technologies and starting new projects. Let’s be open to new ideas and new people. Chris Thorpe in the UK has done amazing work getting young and diverse group hacking. I love Nat Torkington’s words on the subject. Our movement is stronger when it is broader.

  3. Anyone can organize a local event. If you are keen help organize one in your city and/or just participate add your name to the relevant city on this wiki page. Where ever possible, try to keep it to one per city, let’s build some community and get new people together. Which city or cities you share with is up to you as it how you do it. But let’s share.

  4. You can work on anything that involves open data. That could be a local or global app, a visualization, proposing a standard for common data sets, or scraping data from a government website to make it available for others in theDataHub.

It would be great to have a few projects people can work on around the world – building stuff that is core infrastructure to future projects. That’s why I’m hoping someone in each country will create a local version of MySociety’s Mapit web service for their country. It will give us one common project, and raise the profile of a great organization and a great project. We also hope to be working with Random Hacks of Kindness, who’ve always been so supportive, ideally supplying data that they will need to run their applications.

  1. Let’s share ideas across cities on the day. Each city’s hackathon should do at least one demo, brainstorm, proposal, or anything that it shares in an interactive way with members of a hackathon in at least one other city. This could be via video stream, skype, by chat… anything but let’s get to know one another and share the cool projects or ideas we are hacking on. There are some significant challenges to making this work: timezones, languages, culture, technology… but who cares, we are problem solvers, let’s figure out a way to make it work.
Like last year, let’s not try to boil the ocean. Let’s have a bunch of events, where people care enough to organize them, and try to link them together with a simple short connection/presentation. Above all let’s raise some awareness, build something and have some fun.

What next?

  1. If you are interested, sign up on the wiki. We’ll move to something more substantive once we have the numbers.
  2. Reach out and connect with others in your city on the wiki. Start thinking about the logistics. And be inclusive. Someone new shows up, let them help too.
  3. Share with me your thoughts. What’s got you excited about it? If you love this idea, let me know, and blog/tweet/status update about it. Conversely, tell me what’s wrong with any or all of the above. What’s got you worried? I want to feel positive about this, but I also want to know how we can make it better.
  4. Localization. If there is bandwidth locally, I’d love for people to translate this blog post and repost it locally. (let me know as I’ll try cross posting it here, or at least link to it). It is important that this not be an english language only event.
  5. If people want a place to chat with others about this, feel free to post comments below. Also the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Data Day mailing list will be the place where people can share news and help one another out.
Once again, I hope this will sound like fun to a few committed people. Let me know what you think.

EuroHack: One-day data journalism competition and workshop on EU spending

- September 27, 2011 in Data Journalism, ddj warsaw ogdcamp, Events, Hackday / Code Sprint, Workshop

This post is by Liliana Bounegru, of the European Journalism Centre, Lucy Chambers of the Open Knowledge Foundation and Nicolas Kayser-Bril, data journalist. Together, they are organising a data journalism pre-conference workshop and competition in Warsaw, 19 October, at the Open Government Data Camp This is the second in the series of EJC/OKF data-journalism workshops and you can read more about the first here The workshop will have two streams:
  • EuroHack – the competition: What would you do with EU data if you had a data team for one day?
  • EuroHack – the workshop: tips, tools & tricks from experts, journalists and developers, helping to tackle EU spending

What is EuroHack – the competition?

What would you do with EU data if you had a data team for one day? For one day in a Open Government Data camp pre-conference event in Warsaw, Poland, journalists, programmers and designers will work together in teams of three to four to produce applications and investigations involving EU data and visualizations.

How it works

We provide you with a set of resources, databases and tools, on EU spending and related issues such as lobbing, to which you are free to add your own. We then ask teams of hacks and hackers to produce the best projects including stories, applications, and visualisations from EU data (e.g. lobbying, spending) in one day. The projects could approach questions such as: Which local companies and which national public bodies receive EU funding? (How) can spending data be connected with lobbying interests?

Who can participate?

If you are a journalist, programmer or designer you are welcome to register as a team or as an individual. If you register as an individual we will help you find the right team. If you feel like taking part in this hackathon but don’t have journalistic or coding skills, don’t worry! We’ll make sure to match you with the right people.

The winners

Three awards will be given: ‘Best Visualization/Application’, ‘Best Story’ and ‘The Public’s Choice’. The winners of ‘Best Visualization/Application’ and ‘Best Story’ will be selected by a jury of data journalism experts including Alan McLean (New York Times), Caelainn Barr, EU data journalist and Marie Coussin (OWNI). For ‘The Public’s Choice’ category we will look at how loud the crowd cheered on Twitter and Facebook. The three winning teams will present their projects in the afternoon session of day two at the Open Government Data camp. The winning projects will be featured on, the hub for data journalism resources on the web and on, an innovative digital journalism website which won the world-famous Online Journalism Award in 2010.

What is EuroHack – the workshop?

In this workshop participants will learn from data journalists and data experts how to get started with data journalism and specifically with data-driven reporting on EU spending. More specifically you’ll learn how to find a story buried deep into the data and how to present it to your readers in an interactive and exciting format. Some of planned sessions include: Introduction to data journalism and numeracy with data journalist Nicolas Kayser-Bril, Introduction to scraping with Friedrich Lindenberg (OKF) Introduction to Google Refine with Chris Taggart of Open Corporates.

How to register

If you’re up for an exciting day of learning new skills and digging into investigations to uncover hidden stories, fill in this registration form. Please specify which of the two streams you would like to participate in: EuroHack – the workshop or EuroHack – the competition. There are a limited number of seats. To secure one please register before 12 October. In the coming weeks we will finalise the details of the event so keep an eye on future posts on this topic. The hashtag for this event will be: #EuroHack