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Local Data Census: Do you approve our top 15 datasets?

- October 16, 2014 in Cities, Featured, local data census, Open Data

After a first live discussion, a fruitful public consultation and close cooperation with our Open Belgium ambassadors we have what could be the 15 datasets used for the local data census. But before we implement this top 15, we want your final approval or objection if you do not agree. For those who are not familiar with the whole process:
  • We started by collecting proposed datasets and discussing the standard datasets during the Open Antwerp workshop in June.
  • We did a public consultation, asking everyone to rank these datasets through a wiki survey and add new ones as well. You can see the results in this blogpost.
  • We asked our Open Belgium ambassadors to give us their top 15 datasets for the local data census, taking into account the score of the wiki survey.
  • Finally we combined the scores of the wiki survey with the scores based on the top 15 of our Open Belgium Ambassadors.
This provided the following ranking: Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 16.13.14 Yesterday, during a final online meeting with the Open Belgium ambassadors we asked them whether this top 15 was balanced enough to publish on the Local Data Census. We wanted a lists of datasets that can be opened by almost every city or municipality, regardless of size of population. We also wanted a balance between datasets which are easy to obtain and open up and datasets that are hard to obtain on a practical and a political level. In the end we changed two datasets in the ranking in order to have a balanced top 15. What we eventually left out: Number 5 Public Tenders Simply because the dataset Public Tenders can be found twice in the top 15 ranking as displayed above and we felt that Public Tenders dataset number 8. has far more interesting requirements than 5. So we chose 8. to stay and replace 5. with the number 16. in the ranking Crime Statistics. Number 14 Noise Pollution Although Noise pollution is a very interesting dataset, it is not a dataset that every city or municipality can obtain because it requires expensive recording equipment, especially if you want real time data. So we decided to replace it with a more feasible option: Local Schools which is number 17 in the total ranking. So that means the 15 datasets of the Local Data Census Belgium are:
  1. Road constructions: Overview of different road constructions
  2. Traffic accidents: Geo overview of the traffic incidents in certain regions of the city
  3. Parking space: Overview of parking facilities and/or the available parkings spots
  4. Annual budget: Total annual budget for the city administration
  5. Zoning plans (Bijzondere Plannen van Aanleg en Ruimtelijke UitvoeringsPlan – BPA’s en RUP’s)
  6. Opening hours: Opening hours of public city services
  7. Public tenders : granted party, amount, type of contract, decision council
  8. Service requests: Requests for city services assistance, non-law enforcement related. Eg. Littering
  9. Environmental permits: Overview of the different applied environmental permits in the city
  10. Subsidy systems: Enumeration of the different available subsidy systems
  11. Tax information: Information breakdown and conditions of local taxes
  12. Health facilities: Overview of number of doctors, hospital beds, pharmacies
  13. Decision making process: Breakdown of the decision making process in the city council
  14. Crime statistics: Statistics about the crime rates in and around the city
  15. Local schools: Geo overview of the local schools in the city
Is this list of datasets something you approve? If not, please let us know why and what suggestions you have by sending an email to pieterjan [at] okfn.be. I’ll send the email to the Open Belgium ambassadors with the inquirer in CC.So please do let us know if you think there could be a more suitable top 15. If we do not receive any feedback after the 16th of October we’ll assume this list is approved. Choosing the cities What we also discussed is which cities we will include in the Local Data Census at first, because adding all 589 municipalities and cities would be an overload to manage. So we decided to base ourselves on the 50 cities with the biggest population in Belgium, found in this list: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabel_van_Belgische_gemeenten. However municipalities who are not in this top 50 can be added to the list upon request. Next Steps After the approval process we need to write proper definitions for each dataset, publish the list and definitions on http://be-city.census.okfn.org/ and start incentivising cities and open data hackers to add the datasets of their respective municipality. If you want to help out with the definitions or the dissemination of the census or the adding of datasets, let us know and we’ll keep you posted. Headerimage CC-BY J.D. Hancock – Flickr

Results of Wiki Survey and final steps

- September 12, 2014 in Featured, local data census, local governments, Open Data

After launching our Public Consultation Call three weeks ago we have received 1533 votes on our All Our Ideas page Wiki Survey. Thank you for your contributions to this inquiry. We’ll talk about the results of these votes and how we’re going to approach choosing the 10 to 15 winning datasets to be used in the actual Belgian Local Data Census. In the end of June, before we started this public consultation we had a meet-up of Open Belgium ambassadors, local public servants and citizens around the idea of building a Local Data Census during Open AntwerpMaaike Scherrens and Mathias Van Compernolle introduced the participants to the 15 standard datasets that are now on a still empty Local Data Census webpage. 8 were refused, 1 abstained and 6 were approved, although some proposed to split these up into multiple smaller datasets.
Here are the 6 approved standard datasets:
  • Annual budget: Total annual budget for the city administration
  • Public Facilities (split over multiple subjects)
  • Crime statistics: Statistics about the crime rates in and around the city
  • Public tenders: Overview of all the submitted public tenders
  • Building permits: Overview of the different permit requests and approvals
  • Service requests: Requests for city services assistance, non-law enforcement related. Eg. Littering
What we were very grateful about during the Open Antwerp session, was that a lot more datasets were suggested. In merely an hour and a half the participants suggested 22 possible datasets, which together with the 6 displayed above formed the base for the Public Consultation on the Wiki Survey.
Here are the 22 suggested datasets:
  • Parking space: Overview of parking facilities and/or the available parkings spots
  • Road constructions: Overview of different road constructions
  • Traffic accidents: Geo overview of the traffic incidents in certain regions of the city
  • Opening hours: Opening hours of public city services
  • Noise pollution: Noise levels measured on different points throughout the city
  • Environmental permits: Overview of the different applied environmental permits in the city
  • Health facilities: Overview of number of doctors, hospital beds, pharmacies
  • Cycling nodes: Geo overview of all the cycling nodes in the area
  • Subsidy systems: Enumeration of the different available subsidy systems
  • Local schools: Geo overview of the local schools in the city
  • Decision making process: Breakdown of the decision making process in the city council
  • Demographic statistics: Aggregated demographic information about people living in the city
  • Park and tree locations: Geo location of trees and/or parks
  • Construction Sites: Information and geo location of the construction of public buildings
  • Sports locations: Geo locations of public sport facilities
  • Tax information: Information breakdown and conditions of local taxes
  • Salary of politicians: The salary of politicians working for the local council
  • Results of transparency Act: Questions and answers based on the right on transparency act
  • Childcare: Geo overview of the local childcare facilities in the city
  • Public playgrounds: Overview of the different public playgrounds in and around the city
  • Toll roads: Geo overview of specific toll roads in or around the city
  • Taxi licenses: Overview of all the approved taxi licenses
So  even before the Public Consultation started, we had more datasets than there should be on the Local Data Census. It is recommended to have around 10 to maximum 17 datasets. But we really wanted to break the conversation open to everyone in Belgium and not just determine our choices on one workshop. So we decided to host a live Wiki Survey that would run for three weeks. Most of those votes were given in the first few days: Votes per day But we’re glad that we did suggest to do it over three weeks, because the new ideas coming in were spread out during the whole period.
In total the crowd added 7 new ideas:
 
  • Website: content of the local government website
  • Public buildings or commercial buildings : overview of owners
  • Number of building/environmental permits in process + where it is in the total process.
  • Local museum collections
  • Public tenders : granted party, amount, type of contract, decision council
  • Availability of public sport facilities, location, opening hours and available time slots.
  • Zoning plans (Bijzondere Plannen van Aanleg en Ruimtelijke UitvoeringsPlan – BPA’s en RUP’s)
  So in the end we had no less than 35 different datasets, or at least variations. And a few of the crowd suggested datasets during the Wiki Survey actually made it quite high in the overall ranking.

Rough results of the Wiki Survey

If you want to look into the raw data of the survey, you can find it here as comma seperated csv files. Below we added the full results list, based on the score given by the Wiki Survey tool. Do take note that this ranking is based on the number of positive votes, not total votes. So ideas that were brought up later, but had a lots of positive votes will have a much higher score than datasets which have many more positive votes, but also had a few downvotes along the way.

 

So what are the final steps after this public consultation?

This dataset list and current ranking will be presented to our Open Belgium Ambassadors to assess and discuss a few things. This will be crucial to determine which of the datasets we will keep. The following questions still need to be answered:

  • If all the suggested datasets are applicable on a local level or does it contain datasets that are only available on other levels such as regional or federal or within other organisations such as utility companies.
  • If these datasets are applicable for every local government from big cities to smaller towns.
  • If we have a balanced mix of datasets. In the Open Antwerp session there were 6 topics suggested: Transport, finance, health, environment, legislative and civic information. Can we ensure a balance between these different topics?
  • Considering all of the above, which 15 datasets will fit the best in the spirit of the Local Data Census: Creating awareness in local governments and stimulating opening up datasets for its citizens.
After this final decision making part we’ll have a list of datasets that will actually be implemented in the Local Open Data Census. We’ll add definitions and a how-to so that anyone can start adding datasets of their city. When the platform is ready, we’ll release a blog about it on the Open Belgium website, start contacting local goverments to implement their efforts and have a workshop during the Open Belgium Confere in Namur in February 2015. So we are getting closer to a final result, which will probably be around the end of October or early November. Thank you everyone again for your patience and your input on this census. It’s good to see that this Local Data Census will eventually be a crowdsourced product that is specifically designed for cities in Belgium. If you have further questions on this project, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Choose local open data with us

- August 21, 2014 in Events, Featured, local data census, Open Data, Open Data News

Open Belgium has been carefully planning the release of a Local Open Data Census, which is a benchmark, similar to the National Open Data Census, as a way to measure local Open Data efforts. The goal is to acknowledge Open Data efforts of Belgian local governments who already have a lot of datasets online and to motivate those who are considering Open Data as well. Which Open Datasets we’ll use as a benchmark for this ranking is entirely up to all of you!
Go to the Allourideas survey and choose which of the two proposed datasets seems the most interesting to you. If neither of them sounds good, just add your own dataset with a short explanation. The more you vote between two datasets and add new datasets, the more enriched data we have to make this a good census.
The objective is to have 10 to 15 datasets to rank the local governments on this page. The survey runs for three weeks, which means we’ll stop the survey on friday the 12th september at noon. So start voting and suggesting! Local Data Census  

A little background

OKFN central released the local city data census earlier this year in order to rank local governments within a certain country on their Open Data efforts. Excited as we were, we immediately asked if we could moderate this ranking for Belgium. The only thing was that the standard datasets, which you can still view on the local data census template, are not always applicable to the local governments in Belgium. For example, air quality is something that is measured on a regional level in Belgium, not on a local one. So you can’t motivate cities to open up these datasets, because they don’t own them in the first place. That’s why decided to change the datasets by the power of the crowd: The Belgian citizens and open data enthusiasts. In order to start up the local data census we want involve as many people as possible in this 3 part process. Three parts you say? Yes! We started by asking the attendees of Open Antwerp in June what they found of the standard datasets in the local data census and whether these were applicable on a Belgian local level. It was a good testing ground, seen that the room was filled with citizens, open data experts and public servants at the same time. In the end they all rejected 8 of the 15 datasets, accepted 6 and doubted about 1 of them. Even better, they suggested 20 more datasets! IMG_20140625_194732

OK that’s 26 datasets, what now?

That’s what we wondered as well, we didn’t want to choose ourselves between these 26 datasets and communicate that a group of plus 20 people decided on one afternoon which datasets will be used for the local data census. No we wanted to ask everyone what they think of these datasets and if we missed any of them that might be better alternatives. So that’s why we started this public survey that will take about 3 weeks. We hope this will provide us with an idea which datasets are preferred by the general audience. After 3 weeks we’ll stop the ‘All our ideas’ survey and will submit the list of datasets and their popularity to the Open Belgium ambassadors. They will figure out whether the new datasets do apply on a local government level and which of the most popular datasets should be assigned to the local data census list. In order to narrow the list of datasets down to 10 to 15 they’ll take into account the popularity of a dataset, the variation of different datasets (Mix between transport, financial, health, environmental, legislative and civic information datasets) and which datasets apply to big as well as small and medium local governments. When approved by the ambassadors, this final list will be implemented in the Belgian Local Data Census and we’ll start contacting Local City Governments and encourage them to fill in the census for their city. The local data census, just as the national one, is community based, so citizens themselves can also add datasets to their respective city.  

A glimpse of the hopefully near future:

  After the release of the local data census we want to involve the regional governments in building a regional census, which means less parties to approach, but all the more complicated, as we work with regions and communities in Belgium. This would enable us to set-up an interactive webpage on OpenBelgium.be, aggregating the results from the National, Local and Regional data censuses, enabling anyone to see who is doing what concerning Open Data efforts in Belgium. A challenge? Yes, but one we want to tackle together with the community. Magazine image by aussiegall