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Updates from Open Knowledge Czech

- July 24, 2017 in network, OKF Czech Republic, Open Data Day

This blog post is part of our summer series featuring updates from local groups across the Open Knowledge Network. This post was submitted by the Czech Republic Open Knowledge team In the Czech Republic, the Open Knowledge local chapter is led by the Otakar Motejl Fund, an NGO focused on government transparency and civic participation. Spring was a very busy time for Czech open data community. We celebrated Open Data Day by bringing together the publishers of government data and their users ranging from businesses, the academia, NGOs etc. A successful hackathon took place in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and succeeded in spreading inspiration to two other cities. Expanding the enthusiasm from the capital to other regions is a sign of the maturity and wide spread of the openness movement.

Open Data Day – showcasing and discussing data at Open Data Expo

We celebrated Open Data Day by taking a close look at the state of Czech open data. At our Open Data Expo, 12 public offices opened little stalls with their data. That gave them an opportunity to have a chat with actual or potential data users and get feedback and encouragement for further efforts. Nearly 150 people showed up! We also invited numerous speakers to help us get familiar with new trends in open data: news from the 2016 OGP summit or the practical application of open data. The keynote speech was given by Emma Doyle, the Head of Data Policy for the National Health Service England. She presented UK´s best practice in opening data in the health sector and promoted the potential of open data to help with the quality and efficiency of services, accountability and patient choice. Ms. Doyle also participated in two other roundtables tailored for healthcare experts and activists. The first presentation was on the open data model used by the British healthcare system: participants present included stakeholders from the ministry, hospitals and Parliament. The second was a discussion on the comparisons between Emma´s personal experience from the UK and the practices and experiences of guests from Czech businesses and NGOs. The discussion revealed that the main impediment to the growth of open data in the Czech Republic is not that of a technical know- how. But rather, the willingness of stakeholders to change their mindset and see beyond the possibility of someone misusing data and understand and appreciate the potential of open data for the good of Czech Republic.

BrnoHacks – one weekend and 7 new apps for a better life in the city

Between 26th to 28th May, Brno was the epicentre of the biggest Czech open data Hackathon BrnoHacks. After three successful hackathons in Prague (2014 – 2016), we decided to move to Brno, another city with great open data potential. More than 50 programmers, idea makers, data analysts and urbanists met at the South Moravian Innovation Centre (JIC) to create applications and visualisations to address problems of living in Brno, to show the benefits of open data and to encourage the city of Brno in publishing them.   At the hackathon, seven teams focused on projects based on data from the city, O2 and The winning project called BrnoBot is a messenger chatbot prototype which integrates multiple data sources. It helps people to find their way around the city and it provides info about the city. The second best team – Who 8 my taxes – dedicated its time to a project that enriched Brno budget data by adding demographic data from the last census and political affiliation of municipality representatives. Data was also turned into interactive visualisations to illustrate money redistribution, utilisation and efficiency of city departments and municipalities. The third place winner Liberty – open demography describes various repetitive patterns in inhabitant’s movement through various city regions, the demographic structure and use of public space a and relaxation areas. You can read more about the seven teams and their projects here.

Openness spark spreads across the country

One of our biggest achievements is that we inspired various groups to run their own open data hackathons. In May, the City of Ostrava, Impact Hub and Keboola invited open data fans to create a new open data portal. At the beginning of June, the Innovation Centre of Usti Region (ICUK) organised mobility open data hackathon aimed at regional data. The winner of this hackathon was a project of a travel ticket in the form of a chip card that allows gathering detailed data from the city transport and thus helps to improve it. Last, but definitely not the least, in September there is going to be the biggest open data hackathon organised by the public sector in the Czech Republic. Seven public institutions will join forces to show how public open data can be used and linked to each other and we are a proud partner.  Contact Michaela, the Coordinator of the Local Group for more information and follow their activities on twitter: @okfncz

Global Community Stories #2: Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Nepal, Iceland and Belgium

- April 10, 2013 in Featured, OKF Belgium, OKF Brazil, OKF China, OKF Czech Republic, OKF France, OKF Greece, OKF Iceland, OKF Nepal, OKF Spain, OKFN Local

We continue our new monthly digest showcasing initiatives from our local communities across the globe, this time proudly featuring Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Nepal, Iceland and Belgium.

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s many (30+!) Local Group communities stand behind a myriad of different activities every month. As you may also have read in our first edition of the Global Community Stories, this is our monthly wrap-up of some of the most interesting actions and initiatives happening around the world among our colleagues.

In Brazil, volunteers gather around food facts and Data Journalism Handbook translations…

In Brazil, the OKFN Brasil community has been engaging the the Open Government Partnership activities, reporting on civil society participation and urging the government for more open participation. The community has also begun to get involved in the Open Food Facts project, which attracted a bit of press attention. An initiative led by Ação Educativa has also started a working group to analyse open data around Brazilian education, with support from the local OKFN group. Ale Abdo, from OKFN Brasil advisory board, has published a guide on how to publish your thesis in LaTeX or ODT with an open license, and an effort to map the timings of lights at pedestrian crossings has begun. On the blog, Natália Mazote voiced interesting reflections on the participation of women in coding, and Thiago Rondon, also from the advisory board, discussed the importance of open hardware. Finally, an association of investigative journalists in Brazil, Abraji, has gathered volunteers to translate the Data Journalism Handbook to Portuguese!

In Spain, conferences and hackathons take shape…

In Spain the local OKFN Local Group are organizing the First Conference of Data Journalism and Open Data in Spain, titled: “When data tell stories”, from 24 to 26 May 2013. The event will take place simultaneously in Barcelona (CCCB + School of Communication Blaquerna) and Madrid (MediaLab Prado). Furthermore, they are planning a weekend Hackathon in the near future, which will hopefully take place in Madrid, Seville and Valladolid. There will be prizes for the best Data Journalism projects arising from this challenge within 48 hours – we’ll keep you updated as things develop.

In Belgium, apps are made and competitions are spreading…

In collaboration with the City of Ghent, iMinds, Ghent Web Valley and Ghent living lab, OKFN Belgium organized Apps for Ghent for the third time as part of an effort for citizens of the city of Ghent to show that Open Government Data can make the life of citizens easier, better or more fun. This edition welcomed 15 teams that worked on concepts from a smarter government service, to participation and sustainable energy. The local jury awarded Sumocoders with the first prize for “how busy is it now”, a tool that analyses different data sources to estimate which squares are too crowded. Congrats! It is worth noting that Apps for Ghent is not the only Apps for X event initiated by OKFN Belgium. Soon there will be Apps for VDAB, Apps for Flanders, Apps for Geo, Apps for Culture and many more. A full list can be found in their calendar.

In Nepal, the newly founded group hosted first event and collaborated with fellow organizations…

The newly incubated OKFN Local Group in Nepal held its first public event on Document Freedom Day, coorganized with OSAC, Central Department of Library Science & Informatics and FOSS Nepal. They also collaborated with Wikimedia Nepal to create WikiWistar, a wiki outreach program. Finally, they translated the Panton Principles (soon to be published) and they were invited to present Open Tourism at a conference organized by ANNFSU P.U. Valley Bagmati Zome Coordination Committee.

In the Czech Republic, data enthusiasts and data journalists gathered…

The fifth meetup of Czech open data enthusiasts was held in Brno on 22 March. More than 40 people from various backgrounds gathered to share their ideas and discuss their work. On 25 March, Otakar Motejl Fund together with National Technical Library organised a hands-on data driven journalism workshop. It turned into a very pleasant and inspiring event and the participants (journalists, students, watchdog activists) learned quite a bit about structuring, cleaning a visualizing data. Check out the photos from the meetup.

In Iceland, CKAN was translated and a new government data license developed…

Another one of the brand new Local Groups, Iceland, has been busy completing the translation of CKAN 2.0. The Finnish ambassador Finnur Magnusson is also heading a workgroup within the Ministry of Finance to launch the instance as a part of  (hopefully next week). Additionally, the Iceland group have the first version of an approved open data gov license based on the UK one. This is the first government open data license in Iceland (details in Icelandic). The workgroup has followed the Open Data Handbook to the T with great success: 3 months from start to finish for open spending data in a CKAN instance with an open gov license.

And in other shorter news…

The Netherlands had a Linked Open Data meetup in Amsterdam, where also Sander van der Waal and Christian Villum from OKF Central took part with a presentation. Austria succesfully organized the ambitious bi-continental Urban Data Challenge that bridged Geneva, Zürich and San Francisco in an event that seeked to harvest the innovative and creative power of communities around the world to explore urban data sets through visualization – and did so with huge success (we’ll report more in a separate blog post). They also got a mention in Wired magazineOKFN Greece co-organized opnHealth this week, an event that hosted the live streaming of selected presentations from TEDxNijmengen, while also presenting a forum for new ideas and applications in the Greek health sector. OKFN Local Group France organized the “Opération Libre” event (Open Operation) on 6 and 7 April in the small village of Brocas – aiming at using open source technologies, open data, crowdsourcing to tackle the issues of rural areas (we’ll follow up on that, stay tuned). In France they also launched the Open Transition Energie project; a website and a datahub group to share, explore and visualize open data and other open resources related to the debate on energy transition in France.

On the translation front it was not only Brazil that shone, as mentioned earlier. OKFN Local Group China are very close to finishing translating Open Data Handbook into Chinese and thanks to OKFN Greece both OpenSpending and the Data Journalism Handbook was translated into Greek. Well done guys!


Recycle public sector data with the Big Clean on November 3rd 2012 in Prague

- September 17, 2012 in Events, OKF Czech Republic, Open Data, Open Government Data

Public sector data lives a short life. Its life spans the life of applications that are hidden deep inside of public bodies. Tied to application-specific data formats, the data dies with the application that hosts it. During its lifetime the data stays within the public sector, serving a few predetermined purposes, while the ability to access and make effective use of the data is often restricted to civil servants only. The Big Clean is a conference for those who want to change that. Its goal is to empower its participants with the skills to recycle public sector data, so that it is open to anyone who wants to put it to use. Its goal is to share the knowledge how to make the life of public sector data longer and richer. Recycling public sector data makes its life-cycle longer. The Big Clean will focus on the techniques that prevent the data used in the public sector to be wasted. The public may acquire the data by the means of screen-scraping, improve its quality by data refining and use it as a source for data-driven stories that journalists and other can write. These are the key topics of the Big Clean:
  • Screen-scraping — the skill of distilling data out of web pages and other poorly structured sources
  • Data refining — the techniques of transforming raw data into usable data
  • Data-driven journalism — the craft of telling stories with data
The idea of the Big Clean builds on the past. It dates back to the Open Government Data Camp in the fall of 2010, when its concept, originally conceived by Antti Poikola, was shaped during one of the camp’s workshops. This year’s Big Clean follows up on the topics laid out by the previous Big Clean in 2011. You can read about the experiences from the Big Clean on the OKFN blog. Unlike the Big Clean in 2011, this year’s Big Clean is meant to be a truly international event. Based on the popularity growth of the Big Clean’s core topics, we want to make it bigger and better. We invited leading experts and important voices to talk about the key aspects of recycling public sector data from the viewpoints of screen-scraping, data refining, and data-driven journalism. To keep the event open to a wider audience, the event’s language will be English and no admission fee will be charged.

Practical Details

Do you want to know more? Read up on the Big Clean on its web site or follow @BigCleanCZ on Twitter.

Applying Austrian Open Data Experiences in the Czech Republic

- March 16, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, OKF Austria, OKF Czech Republic, Open Government Data, WG EU Open Data, WG Open Government Data

Open data in Austria enjoys support from various levels of the public administration, and as a result Austria is one step ahead of the Czech Republic. Last month, we held a seminar to learn from each other’s experiences. Austrian initiatives promoting greater openness of government data, such as the Open Knowledge Forum Österreich, have managed to involve a wide array of stakeholders ranging from politicians to activists, and the country now hosts quite a number of related events, such as the Open Data & Business or the recently established Open Government Data Conference. Still, is has to face the same challenges other countries encounter on their way to open up data. Given the Austrian headstart in open data activities compared to the ones in the Czech Republic, a seminar was held under the title “Open Data and Public Sector: applying Austrian experience in Czech Republic” so we could learn from Austrian practical experiences of taking first steps towards better availability of such public data. Czech Republic and Austria The seminar took place on February 28th, 2012, in the centre of Prague in the Chamber of Deputies, under the auspices of Jan Farský, a member of parliament. The main target group of the seminar consisted of Czech politicians and civil servants, who came to hear from their Austrian peers. The event was organized by together with OKFN-CZ and was supported by the LOD2 Project and Open Society Fund Prague. The programme was opened by Jan Farský, who went through the reasoning that led him to support open data. This overview provided a perspective of a politician, who realized that the public sector is not able to make applications for citizens in a cost-efficient way. However, as various evidence suggests, it often suffices to provide the public sector data and the applications will follow, for free. The main part of the seminar consisted of presentations by the Austrian guests. Martin Kaltenböck from the Semantic Web Company kicked off, introducing the key concepts of open data and how they are underlying the vision of open government. A perspective of the Austrian federal level was brought to the fore in the next talk by Daniel Medimorec from the Austrian Federal Chancellery, emphasizing the vast, yet not insurmountable challenges that governments decided to put open data principles into practice face. What followed was the talk discussing view of the city Linz by Stefan Pawel representing the Linz Open Commons initiative. Of the applications shown, the one that caught the most attention was probably Linz Linien, a visualization based on streaming open data showing Linz public transportation in real-time. The Austrian session was finished by Marco Schreuder, who shared his views as politician from the Green party. To complement the Austrian side, the ongoing open data activities in the Czech Republic were presented. First, Jakub Mráček from the Open Society Fund Prague announced the publication of Open data in the public sector: new era of decision making (in Czech), and provided information about the recently launched portal Náš stá, that offers a guide to the Czech projects and applications that build upon public sector data. Jan Kučera from the University of Economics, Prague, presented the as-yet unofficial Data catalogue of Czech Republic. The session was dedicated to open data business cases, that were “commissioned” by Jan Farský to provide him with strong arguments in favour of open data. For instance, a case for a price map of cycle paths or an application showing time slices through the legislation in force were suggested. In the final part of the seminar, three applications using Czech public sector data were demonstrated by their authors. This showcase featured Budování státu visualizing government spending, Váš majetek aggregating notices about auctions of public property, and Map of Public Contracts that explores the public contracts that were tailored to the suppliers. Not only did the seminar provide a chance to learn from the Austrian experiences and to follow their lead in the Czech Republic, it also served as a meeting opportunity for the representatives of Open Knowledge Foundation’s local chapters, as the members of Czech, Austrian, and Italians chapters were present. Hopefully, it resulted in a useful knowledge sharing about overcoming the initial difficulties when starting with open data in the public sector. To find out more about the seminar, please see its website. The slides and the links to the applications that were presented can be found there. Community Note: The Czech Republic hosts one of our incubating OKFN:LOCAL groups and its organisers have held several regional open knowledge meetups in Prague to date. They are currently looking for more collaborators to join the community – introduce yourself on the OKFN CZ discussion list to get involved. Footnote: All photos accompanying this blog post were kindly provided by Martin Kaltenböck under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Austria License.

Czech Republic’s First #OpenDataCZ Meetup is a Success

- January 5, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Meetups, OKF Czech Republic

Editor’s Note: This blog post comes from Michaela Rybičková, one of the organisers of the OKFN’s newest regional group in the Czech Republic, #OpenDataCZ. You can find more information about our local groups and chapters here. Our first Prague open data meetup was held on the 14th of December in the Kulový blesk restaurant. Despite it being a season of Christmas parties and common colds, the attendance was good – fourteen open data enthusiasts from various backgrounds gathered around a table to share their insights and plans. It was a rather informal event intended to bring the community together and meet each other in person. Lots of interesting issues were discussed. My colleagues and I from Open Society Fund Prague (OSF) introduced the umbrella web for Czech open data initiatives that we are working on. While refreshing us with numerous kinds of local brews, we did a quick “beerstorming” to come up with a resonant brand for the website. Also, the Czech OKFN chapter was discussed; we introduced everyone to the current state and ask them to add their insights and ideas on interesting events. Another strong topic was the Open Government Partnership (OGP) – commitments for the Czech Republic should be delivered in February, and the 19th of December was the deadline for public comments, so we tried to formulate our requirements. It was a last-minute effort of quite a small group of people, but it was great to see the community working together and developing a bottom-up influence on government. A few days after sending the document with comments and objectives for OGP, its authors received an email from Marta Léblová, the coordinator of the government anti-corruption committee, in which she thanked them for their meaningful contribution and invited them to an official OGP action plan workshop which would be held on the 16th of January. The atmosphere of the meetup was sincere and inspiring. The community showed a strong willingness to work together on diverse useful applications, set open data as an important part of government agenda and introduce it to broader public. Our New Year’s resolutions have been made, so now let’s grab our devices and fulfill them! To get a clearer notion of the amazing potential of #opendatacz, here is a brief summary of the events that the community is preparing for this winter: January Launch of several open data projects:
  • umbrella web of Czech open data initiatives (a simple dispatcher for open data related projects) developed by OSF
  • – monitoring the work of government officers and its real impact
  • – publishing and visualizing municipal budgets
  • upgrade of Napistejim (Czech version of WriteToThem) – the app is available for a while and quite a lot of emails have been sent, but now couple of new features have been added
These launches should be accompanied by a linked data workshop for open data related initiatives prepared by the people from February
  • Austrian-Czech conference focused on politicians – people from Austrian open data initiatives and politicians that work with them will come to Prague to share their experience with successful use of open data in civil service with their Czech fellows. The event is supported by the LOD2 project.
  • One World Social Innovation: data- driven journalism workshop – OWSI is a competitive section of One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, open to projects that use new media for social good. The organisers prepared a set of accompanying events focused on new technologies and its potential for civic participation and right now they working on a data-driven journalism workshop for journalists and watchdog organizations (follow @OWNewMedia for more information).

The Czech Republic Joins our Global Open Data Community

- December 8, 2011 in Chapters, OKF Czech Republic

Note: This post is by Jindřich Mynarz, one of the talented organisers of the OKFN’s newest Local Chapter in the Czech Republic. In Prague? Come to the Chapter’s first meetup next week.  Prague by Stefy on FlickrThe year 2011 has seen a sustained growth of interest in open data and open knowledge in the Czech Republic. There’s been a lot of discussions about the openness of the public sector, an uptake of open data principles, and an increasing investment in open data projects by NGOs, citizen activists, and other informal groups. Many successful open data events have taken place, such as the e-Democracy Day, Big Clean and Průhledná politika online offline (Transparent Politics Online Offline). Interesting applications have appeared, such as SmogAlarm, an Android app for tracking current levels of air pollution, or Váš (, which collects and publishes information about auctions of public property coming from different sources. To match this progress, we have just entered the incubation phase for the Czech Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. This step is intended to support, coordinate, and spur the potential that we have recognized in this promising turn of the affairs towards a greater transparency and wider use of open data practices. Open Society Fund Prague, the organiser of the meetup, will introduce the concept of an umbrella website serving as a dispatcher for various projects working with open data. Come and learn about what is planned and discuss the direction that it should take. We would like the members of the Czech open data community to get to know each other in person and listen to what you are working on in your open data activities and hacks. This meetup is for you to learn from your peers about their new projects – and to explore the extensive beer menu in the venue. Come up and join the open data community! Date and time: December 14th 2011, 7:00 PM (CET) Registration: Meetup: Venue: Kulový blesk, Sokolská 13, Praha 2 (map:, Foursquare: ) Twitter hashtag: #opendatacz Organiser: Open Society Fund Prague (Michaela Rybičková) Note: Thanks to Flickr user ‘Steffy‘ for the photo of Prague.