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Global Community Stories #1: Australia, France, Greece and Finland!

- March 13, 2013 in Featured, Meetups, OKF Australia, OKF Finland, OKF France, OKF Greece, OKFN Local


A new monthly digest showcasing initiatives from local communities across the globe

As you may have seen, the Open Knowledge Foundation’s many (30+!) Local Group communities have been hard at work over the last month, launching several exciting new initiatives, opening up data and engaging regional communities in interesting ways. Given these new developments, we are happy to launch the first installment of the Global Community Voices series, a monthly wrap-up of some of the most interesting actions and initiatives happening in open knowledge communities around the world.

In Australia, a set of local mapping hackdata events

In Melbourne, the Australian Local Group is planning a set of public community events focused on mapping, data and the neighbourhood. Says Local Group organiser David Flanders, “I think mapping data is going to be a key tool for us and other Local Groups to help make regional data come alive. We are organising a series of hackdata events together with the help of friends from The Age newspaper, TileMill and OpenStreetMap to do cool things like producing printed cycle maps of Melbourne.” The best part about this event series? “This is the type of thing anyone in any country can do! Who doesn’t want a beautiful printed map?”

In France, new projects around food security and energy conservation

In France, local organisers related to the Open Knowledge Foundation France Initiative have introduced community-focused open knowledge projects in two areas that have become increasingly salient for consumers and producers alike — food security and energy conservation. The first emergent project, Open Food Facts, is a free, open collaborative database of food facts from around the world that aims to help consumers make better choices about what they put in their body. Based on these interactions, Open Food Facts hopes to motivate existing industries to take more care over the production of their food. A blog post with more details about this new project can be found here — and if you’d like to join the movement, the Open Food Facts team is currently collaborating with the Open Sustainability Working Group to get more people involved from around the world. The second project, Open Transition Energie, is a collaborative website focused on “sharing, exploring and visualising data and other useful resources to engage with the national debate on energy transition” from a French perspective. Its members have also started a thematic group on the French open data platform NosDonné to share and reuse data related to this debate. Its organisers add, “We want to promote the work of researchers, engineers, journalists, NGOs and citizens who are interested in the question of the energy transition — so please let us know if you’d like to contribute or share a resource!”

In Greece, praise from Neelie Kroes for a new data portal

As you might have read on this blog last week, we were all quite excited to hear about the launch of a new self-hosted Greek Data Portal run by the talented team behind the Open Knowledge Foundation Greece Initiative, which integrates our data management software CKAN. We were even more excited to find out that European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes had released a public note of support for the new portal! Says Ms. Kroes, “At a time when many Greeks are looking for new sources of inspiration and hope, I am pleased to say that the Open Knowledge Foundation is one of those sources. I encourage all public bodies to support this effort.”

In Finland, a call for regional working groups

Moving North, in Finland local organisers ran a very successful OKFN Finland Convention last month – and they have introduced another way to get involved with their efforts to engage citizens in open knowledge from a Finnish perspective – local installments of our thematic Working Groups, from Open Science to Open Government! Says the Open Knowledge Foundation Finland ry, “We hope that these regional instalments of Working Groups can work towards concrete change in Finland but also collaborate internationally, in the spirit of ‘think globally, act locally’”. For interested Finns, the OKF FI Board is accepting applications here until March 13, 2013. That’s it for this edition – big thanks to local organisers in Australia, France, Greece and Finland for their great ideas and innovative new projects! We’ll be back next month with more exciting news from even more member nations across our Local Groups network, so definitely stay tuned! Featured Image thanks to Daniel Schildt and used originally by the OKFN Finland Convention team.

2 Weeks Left Until OKFestival! Online Schedule, Calls for Participation, Evening Events and Free Hackathons

- September 5, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

OKFestival 2012 by Juha Huuskonen

A Special Gift for Festival Participants…

For the 600+ brave souls already registered for the world’s first-ever Open Knowledge Festival, here’s our first-ever participant bulletin! The gems and secrets below have been built from the weekly-curated, community-written summaries we’ve been sharing behind the scenes with our teams of Guest Programme Planners around the globe – and with less than two weeks left until we all meet in Helsinki, we hope they will leave you feeling as excited as we all are for what’s yet to come. Haven’t joined the movement yet? Tickets are almost sold out, but you can grab the last few online. Still unacquainted with the OKFestival movement? Confused about all the fuss? We’ve also published an introductory summary which explains the festival and how it combines OGDCamp and OKCon. Now, on to the exciting bits:

An Interactive Online Schedule

Thanks to the tireless work of over 100 OKFest organisers and Guest Programme Planners, the entire OKFestival Schedule is now online. This year’s programme is amazingly diverse, with over 13 guest-planned Topic Streams from “Transparency and Accountability” to “Openness in Sustainability”. A summary for each of the Topic Streams active during the OKFestival week is also online, and we are finalising our morning INSPIRE Plenaries, which will gather all OKFest participants together for an inspiring introduction to the day before topic stream programming starts. An increasingly prestigious list of Keynote Speakers, from Hans Rosling to Anneli Jäätteenmäki to Farida Vis to Carl-Christian Buhr to Carlos Rossel, have finalised their participation and will honour us all with their ideas.

Crowdsourced Evening Events

Evening events and receptions during the OKFest week are now being finalised and planned collaboratively by participants, and we want you to get involved! Current events being planned include an OKFest Welcome Reception, a Helsinki Hacks & Hackers meetup, a craft beer festival, a Helsinki bar hop, the Open Sauna Evening, a Proactum Meetup for “Open Source-minded people”, and a series of Thematic Dinners based on the Harvard Berkman Centre model. Get involved by hosting a thematic dinner or another event on the group planning pad.

Active Calls for Participation & Free Public Hackathons

With the 2012 theme of Open Knowledge in Action”, getting involved is one of the most important parts of the OKFestival experience. This week is about looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from such sharing, and the impacts that transparency can have in our societies. With an ever-increasing list of (free!) public hackathons, festival workshops and hands-on workshops, there are many ways to get involved. Here is a snapshot of the many Calls for Participation during the festival week:
  1. DATA JOURNALISM HACKATHON: A day to design and build a functional news application from open government data. Finland’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, invites coders, designers and journalists to its Data Journalism Hackathon. Using data from the World Bank and other groups, you will be able to create a working app or visualization from scratch. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 10th, so please RSVP online.
  2. TAKE ACTION LIGHTNING TALKS: For those working to increase gender equality and diversity in their work, the Wikimedia Foundation is hosting TAKE ACTION, a set of public lightning talks with 12 spots available until Mon, Sept 10th – get involved on the planning pad.
  3. DATA CUISINE WORKSHOP: You’re invited to the world’s first open data cuisine workshop, the “Art of Data Cooking“. Send an email to opendatacooking (AT) Capacity is limited.
  4. CULTURE & SCIENCE HACKATHON: Cultural Heritage and Science meet for a joint Culture and Heritage Hackathon on Tues 17th Sept. Join a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, work with newly released datasets, develop a brand new PyBossa app or hack for Louhos research software libraries – plus much more! All ideas welcome – if you have a hackday activity, please share it. Numbers are limited – please use the sign-up form to get involved.
  5. OPEN PEER LEARNING WORKSHOP: Outside of open communities, few people know how to apply “open” tools, practices, and standards to their work. Creative Commons, P2PU, and the Open Knowledge Foundation will introduce the School of Open and the School of Data, followed by a Q&A and a hands-on, creative workshop to prototype “open” challenges and courses. Particpants will take an “open” learning challenge and design their own in culture, education, research, or data. Space is limited – please use sign-up form to RSVP.
  6. OPEN DEVELOPMENT HACKATHONS: On Thurs 20th Sept, Open Dev planners will be hosting the third event in the series of 2012 Development Data Challenges – a hackathon. As this is an open (and free!) event, coders and interested folk are invited to create new ideas for making aid and development data more accessible. There will also be an exciting opportunity to hack land data, hosted by the folk at the Land Coalition, and to join in with the Helsingin Sanomat hackathon on Fri 21 Sept. All hackathons are explained further on the OKFestival site. Space is limited – email opendevelopment (AT) to RSVP.
  7. OKFEST HELSINKI PHOTOWALK: On the Sunday before OKFest, you will also get the chance to see the most of Helsinki through your own lens during the OKFest photo walk. Organisers Peter and Irmeli will take you to several beautiful and historical places in Helsinki. The day will start with an interactive lecture on the meaning of mindful seeing and noticing within curation, utilization and collaborative (re)construction of open knowledge. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 15th, for more info see the Public Pad. And be sure to bring your camera!
  8. OPEN TRANSPORT WORKSHOP: On 17th Sept, the ePSIplatform team in conjunction with the Open Cities Topic Stream is hosting a sectoral workshop on Transport Data with a focus on fuelling future mobility and smart cities. The workshop is a round table meeting of transport data holders (ao HSL, Trafi, SNCF), open data policy makers (ao DG MOVE) and (new) re-users (ao OSM, iRail, Trafiklab, Samtrafiken, Google Transit). Interested in getting involved? There are still a few seats left – register today!
  9. SURVEY ON OKFEST DIVERSITY: The organisers of the Gender & Diversity Topic Stream session “Exclusive Diversity: A Conversation” have prepared a short Online Survey to get anonymous data on OKFest participants for use in the session. Your contribution would be very much appreciated, and useful for their efforts to make future Open Data “crowds” more inclusive.

The Continuation of a Movement

In an era of global digital communications, significant benefits are gained in all sectors of the society by opening up knowledge, including science, culture, governance and economy. What will happen when hundreds of community-builders, developers, scientists, academics, government and civil society representatives, teachers, students and open data experts descend on the shores of Helsinki to build new things and provoke positive change together? What will happen when participants adventure through Europe on the way to OKFest as Billy Meinke from Hawaii has done, or share their findings with key organisations like Creative Commons as Jane Park has done? What happens when Members of the European Parliament meet those organising citizen movements, when organisers of the Open Government Partnership meet those working towards open education, open hardware and Open Source software? The results are yet unknown, but they’re giving us all a great deal of hope for what’s ahead in Helsinki. Until then, we look forward to meeting you all in a few weeks!
CC BY-NC-SA photo taken by OKFestival’s own Helsinki-based Production Coordinator, Juha Huuskonen. Original photo on Flickr. More photos of OKFestival on Flickr Pool. For more information about OKFestival 2012, go to

4 Weeks Left Until OKFestival!

- August 21, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

okfestival 2012 With only 4 weeks left until the OKFestival week starts in Helsinki, here is our latest rundown of everything you need to know about the event. We’re very excited about what’s in store for participants this year!


New to OKFestival? We are delighted to invite you to this year’s event in Helsinki, Finland – a series of hands-on workshops, talks, hackathons, meetings and sprints organised by a wide range of open knowledge communities around the globe. OKFestival 2012 combines the themes of our annual Open Government Data Camp (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) into a week of action and inspiration organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Finnish Institute in London, Aalto Media Factory along with hundreds of Guest Programme Planners. With over 400 tickets already reserved by participants from more than 40 nations, OKFestival is the one of the world’s largest open knowledge events to date – and we want you to join us.


OKFestival 2012 runs from Monday 17th to Saturday 22nd of September. We offer both day and week tickets, with week tickets covering all three of OKFestival’s action-packed Core Conference Days from Tuesday 18th September to Thursday 20th September.  A variety of Satellite Events are also running before and after the event, with a summary and debrief day on Friday 21st September. From Couchsurfing with Finnish locals to hotels in downtown Helsinki, there are many affordable travel and accommodation options available to make your stay in Finland a great one.


The 2012 theme of OKFestival is Open Knowledge in Action, looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from this, and the impacts that transparency can have in our societies. This year’s schedule is diverse, with over 13 guest-planned Topic Streams from “Transparency and Accountability” to “Openness in Sustainability” including programming such as:


Tickets are available online - reserve yours now to join the largest open knowledge crowd of the year in Finland. Tickets are selling fast and our list of confirmed festival attendees continues to grow, with participants from Jyväskylä to Guyana.


Have questions for our Topic Stream planners or the Core Organising Team? Want to get involved by proposing a satellite or evening event? Feel free to contact our Guest Programme Planners via email and get involved on Twitter, on our Facebook group and on the public Flickr Pool. We look forward to meeting you in Helsinki this autumn!

OKFestival 2012 Goes Global: Early-Bird Tickets, Travel Bursaries and the Metamorphosis of a Movement

- July 18, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

okfestival 2012 planning As the 2012 Open Knowledge Festival‘s organising team released Early Bird Tickets a few weeks ago from sunny Finland, we witnessed something exciting. The many experimental threads that have, until now, existed only as a complex web of planning based on two public Calls for Proposals (and a great deal of Skype meetings!) have starting to form something wonderful, and international communities are noticing. Indeed, glimpses of OKFestival’s growing community of passionate folk are becoming increasingly evident across the Web. Our handmade ‘OKFestival in 14 Slides‘ Slideshare presentation has gone viral with over 30,000 views in the last two months alone, causing it to be featured on the homepage of as its “Most Shared Presentation” of the week. Social media outlets are buzzing with conversation from across the globe on the festival’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and via hundreds of public #OKFest tweets. The list of confirmed festival attendees continues to grow daily with participants from Jyväskylä to Guyana.

An Action-Focused Schedule of Core and Satellite Events

To augment these community movements, OKFestival’s team of over 100 (largely volunteer-based!) Guest Programme Planners from around the world have been hard at work, finalising their diverse programmes for all 13 of the 2012 festival Topic Streams. The Core Organising Team is confirming an increasingly-imminent list of Featured Speakers, from the Gapminder Foundation‘s Hans Rosling to Stanford University‘s Tanja Aitamurto to the Free Software Foundation‘s Karsten Gerloff and Urbanscale‘s Adam Greenfield. The week itself, which combines the themes of our annual Open Government Data Camps (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conferences (OKCon) into a series of participatory workshops, panels, hackathons, lectures and meetings, has continued to impress (and amaze!) all of us on the organising team. We have just confirmed the world’s first “Art of #OpenData Cooking” workshop. The ever-inspiring Open Development Topic Stream organisers have released a post explaining why the development community should come to Finland. And from a Green Hackathon with CESC and the Open Knowledge and Sustainability Topic Stream, to Open Government Partnership-focused programming organised by the Transparency and Accountability Topic Stream, to hackdays themed around Building the Cultural Commons and #OpenScience, to Calls for Papers for Open Data Academic Research sessions and hands-on open hardware workshops in Finland’s first FABlab, to developer meetings about Open Source software with Finland’s OpenMind conference organisers, there is quite literally something for everyone.

Buy a Ticket, Join the Movement

Best of all, OKFestival Early Bird Tickets are now available at discounted rates until August 1st. This year we offer both day and week tickets, with week-long tickets covering all of OKFestival’s action-packed core conference days from Tues Sept 18th to Thurs Sept 20th, with a summary and debrief day on Fri Sept 21st. A diverse variety of Satellite Events are also running before and after the event.

More Travel Bursaries for International Guests

Having trouble making it to Helsinki? Earlier this summer, we also to release over 10,000 EUR in Travel Bursaries to help those with limited financial resources take part in the festival. With over 100 talented folk applying, choosing the final list of bursary recipients became an extremely difficult decision! Given this, we are very happy to announce another round of Travel Bursaries for development practitioners, coders and new international guests thanks to Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), the Sunlight Foundation and other programme partners. Deadlines for this (last!) round of Travel Bursaries are the 1st and 8th of August, so we recommend applying soon. Applications can be found here. Lastly, for students and other participants who want to get more involved in the festival itself in return for a free weeklong OKFestival ticket, we also offer the #OKFestCrew Volunteer Scheme, which slots potential crew members into positions fitting their skills and provides the opportunity to engage with the backstage planning that goes into the organisation of a major international festival.

Get in Touch

Have questions for our Topic Stream planners or the Core Organising Team? Want to get involved by proposing a satellite or evening event? Feel free to contact us via the following email addresses here and say hi on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you – and in the meantime, we look forward to meeting everyone in Helsinki this autumn!
OKFestival 2012 runs from the 17th to 22nd of September in Helsinki, Finland. For more information, go to You can also view festival planning photos in action at the OKFestival Organisers’ Flickr Album.

OKFestival Topics of 2012 Announced, 2nd Call for Proposals Published, Experimentation Encouraged!

- May 15, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, News, OKF Finland, OKFest

OKFestival 2012 Organising Team For those looking for yet another reason to join us for OKFestival in Helsinki this September, the OKFestival Core Organising Team is proud to announce the inspiring public outcomes of our unconventional First Call for Proposals – and to request your participation for our Second Call to share your ideas in Finland. As we’ve noted previously, because OKFestival is the first event of its kind, combining Open Knowledge Conference and Open Government Data Camp together for a week-long celebration of action and collaboration, we decided to take a risk by opening up over 2/3 of the week’s programme to you as festival participants. So last month, we released the First Call for Proposals, crossing our fingers expectantly as we did it. A few of us on the Core Organising Team (photo) were, admittedly, a tad worried – would global communities rise to the challenge? Or would we be left alone in cyberspace without even a programme to our name? We presented the festival to audiences at FREE CITY in Tallinn, at Re:Publica in Berlin and to local stakeholders in Finland. And we waited in anticipation. In the end, we didn’t have to worry at all. The response to our First Call for Proposals was both overwhelming and encouraging. Open knowledge and data enthusiasts around the world did take the reins – and now, a month later, we have a groundbreaking, action-focused programme planned in co-operation with citizen teams of Guest Programme Planners all over the world. For a summary of the Open Knowledge Festival planning process in 14 slides, see our first Slideshare presentation here.

As you'll see above, the First Call for Proposals allowed the Core Organising Team to determine the most important themes and salient ideas, the subjects of which are highlighted through our 13 guest-organised Topic Streams of 2012:
  1. Open Democracy and Citizen Movements
  2. Open Government Data
  3. Open Cities
  4. Open Design, Hardware & Manufacturing
  5. Open Cultural Heritage
  6. Open Development
  7. Open Research and Education
  8. Open Geodata
  9. Open Source Software
  10. Data Journalism and Data Visualization
  11. Gender / Diversity in Openness
  12. Open Business and Corporate Data
  13. Open Knowledge and Sustainability
The breadth of these topics is quite diverse - indeed, the variance is somewhat unprecedented for an event of this kind. Going through the topics above and learning more about how their Guest Programme Planners are determining the programming on the Public Planning Wiki, it's hard not to feel a sense of excitement about what's to come. For the Second (and last!) Call for Proposals, we encourage ideas that further enrich each of these themes with new perspectives. We want your lightning talks, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, hackathons and all things in between. Let's fill Helsinki's streets with innovative new ideas, new collaborations between civil society and government, and new projects that provoke openness in unexpected ways. It is our hope that together, these themes will illustrate the importance of diverse understandings within open knowledge and open data communities - and we look forward to seeing even more of you get involved in this inspiring process. The Second Call for Proposals is here. Deadline for submission is June 1st - go to for details. And feel free to mix and remix the Slideshare presentation above for your own uses - it's meant to be shared! Core Organising Team at work in Helsinki

Being Open About Data

- April 4, 2012 in External, OKF Finland, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open/Closed, WG Open Government Data

A more detailed version of this post can be found on the Finnish Institute blog. The Finnish Institute in London has recently completed a five-month research project on the British open data policies. The report looks at how the open data ecosystem has emerged in the UK and what lessons can be drawn from the British experiences. The year 2012 will be a big year for open data in Finland, and this report also partly aims at further facilitating the development of open knowledge in Finland. In short, the key arguments that the research makes can be listed as follows:
  • The key to securing the benefits of open data is the quality of user engagement
  • Open data and its objectives should be addressed as a part of the freedom-of-information continuum
  • The decision to emphasise the release of expenditure data was not ideal: governments do not know best what kind of data people want to have and should aim at releasing it all
  • Leadership, trust and IT knowledge are crucial, not only for political leadership but within organisations too
  • The social and democratic impacts of open data are still unclear and in future there is a need for sector-specific research
After a series of interviews and analysis of government documents it became evident that open data is not as apolitical an initiative as many may assume it to be. There is a long history of politicised debate on transparency and public spending behind the initiative. It seems that public sector data providers are supportive towards the idea of data transparency itself, but very cautious towards the means of achieving it, especially the initiative of releasing the data of expenditure over £500 in local government. At the same time, the open data community should not overestimate the general level of interest towards data. Open data is applied in various ways with lots of small-scale success stories available, mostly in the form of mobile-phone or web applications. These services make everyday life of citizens a tiny bit easier, and when accumulated they may result in significant economic benefits. However, the open-data community has also been vocal about the potential positive impacts on democracy. These impacts are significantly harder to identify and need much more research in order to produce comprehensive and reliable results. The report argues that the applicability of data is effectively linked to the initial objectives of open data. The value of open data is built on an uncertain variable and on how people use it – it is difficult to form a single “one size fits all” model, to measure the value of applicability. In addition, we must realise the difference between transparency and democracy-oriented goals that are usually associated with the freedom-of-information movement and the technology and innovation-oriented goals of the open-data movement. The overall value of transparency is, however, not something that should be measured primarily in financial profits. Economic impacts can be measured relatively easily with the current methods, but the possible changes in our society due to digitisation of the core infrastructures and the abilities of citizens to manage their lives within it pose challenges for the legitimate and democratic transparency regime. In the future, it is more important to focus on the normative side of open data and on its potential impacts on democracy. There is a risk of creating a hollow mantra of open data improving the level of democracy without any evidence provided. However, the potential for great improvement in democratic accountability is there. Truly democratic transparency requires more than just the release of open data. It needs citizens who can see that their interests are treated equally in society. If it is hoped that open data will provide the catalyst for this, then the thresholds for access, use and interpretation of data need to be as low as possible. In order to achieve this, the data producers must possess a certain level of ICT knowledge to implement the system so that it is both simple enough to use and sophisticated enough to be able to manage information flow comprehensively – knowledge which is often lacking. This should not be an excuse not to release data, however, but a wake-up call for both data providers and the open-data community alike. The Finnish Institute continues its work with open knowledge in all its forms and is happy to be a partner organisation in the upcoming Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki. The final report “Being Open About Data – analysis of the UK open data policies and applicability of data” can be read and downloaded here.

OKFestival Call for Proposals Released With a Twist

- March 28, 2012 in Chapters, Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

OGDcamp participants; Photo thanks to  HermannPachulke on Flickr For those looking for a reason to come to Helsinki with us this fall, the OKFestival Call for Proposals is released today – and it has an experimental, innovative focus. The spin? For this year’s OKFestival (the first event of its kind, organised almost entirely through virtual conference calls, IRC chats and co-written documents by an international group of organisers), we’ve set a specific concentration on daring new methods – from collaborations to festival programming to open data categories to session formats. Given this mandate, the 2012 OKFestival theme is “Open Knowledge in Action”. We’re interested in finding out what value can be generated by opening up knowledge and working with open data, the ecosystems of organisations that benefit from and participate in such sharing, and the impact it can have in our societies. What kinds of new professions, ideas and community initiatives can emerge within our governments, markets, networks and neighbourhoods as a result of these engagements? The exploration of this theme will be visible not only in the festival’s content, but also in its implementation as the first global event of its kind. As organisers, we’re all inspired by untraditional barcamps, unconferences and coding jams – and we want to provide you with the space to experiment with new types of workshops and interactive participation formats (I’m hoping someone proposes a ‘fishbowl‘ style dialogue, for example!). We’re also opening up more than 2/3 of the programme to you as Guest Organisers. This move is based on our belief that when an event is crowdsourced through a co-operative combination of civil society representatives, programmers, data wranglers, students and members of government, the most interesting results (and relationships!) are facilitated. In the Call for Proposals you’ll have the option to submit either a group-run Topic Stream or an individual Presentation/Event – and we have several interesting spaces throughout the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture waiting to be filled. The enthusiasm for OKFestival’s focus has already been very inspiring. On the public organisers’ discussion list, there have been months of lively discussion and planning conversations amongst 90+ participants located around the world. Between interviews on BBC Radio in the UK and open knowledge strategy sprints in Finland, it’s been an exciting ride for all of us on the Core Organising Team – and we look forward to many of you joining the Programme Planning Committee with us this Spring. If you’re in Estonia next month, we are presenting OKFestival at the Free City festival in Tallinn – and in the meantime, we’ll see you online. The official Call for Proposals (submission deadlines on April 20th and June 1st) can be found here, and and more information about the details of OKFestival’s organisation, venue and presentation formats are on the Festival FAQ here.

Finnish data journalism app contest

- February 21, 2012 in Data Journalism, External, OKF Finland, visualization

Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s leading national paper, is organizing an article app contest to find data visualizations. For many journalists today, it’s not a lack of open data that’s the problem, but a lack of the skills and off-the-shelf visualizations needed to make that open data useful to them. A year ago, the Finnish government decided that in principle all data generated with taxpayer money should be free. This has been leading to tonnes of great releases. At the beginning of May, the National Land Survey of Finland will release all its maps as open data. The National Audit Office of Finland has already released campaign funding data as a kind of API. The City of Helsinki has the Helsinki Region Infoshare project, that collects city-level data into one place. Statistics Finland are also publishing all their data openly. Furthermore, Open data activists such as Antti Poikola and Petri Kola have been doing great work in lobbying the Government and creating a data ecosystem. An Open Knowledge Foundation chapter is about to be formed and Open Data activists are crowdsourcing Freedom of Information Act-related data requests on So we have plenty of data, but using and publishing it is still lagging behind. This is especially true with the major media outlets. Journalists are still publishing static charts with their articles online or using Google Fusion Tables to make very basic visualizations. Not very innovative. To tackle this problem, Helsingin Sanomat is organizing a contest to find article apps. By article apps we mean applications that can be embedded into any web site in 560×400 pixel Iframe. An article app should visualize some interesting data, with the possibility of user interaction or of displaying data inputted by the users. There are 3000 euros worth of prizes. Developers will not lose any rights to the works they submit to the contest. The contest is open to everyone, and the deadline for submissions is the 8th April 2012. More info can be found here. There are few limitations for the article apps, but we hope that the apps use open data. If the article app crowdsources data from the users, it would be great if the data could be exported openly. One part of this process has been to think about the business models of open data journalism. The idea behind the article app format is to standardize at least one format in data journalism. When we have some kind of standard, it will be easier to buy and to sell data journalism. Our suggestion is that outlets buy the license to publish an article app once with each article – regardless whether it’s published at the site, in our iPad application or some other channel. The next time we use the same graph with different data, we would pay the license fee again. For one article the compensation would be quite low, but if the app is used hundred times, it would be higher. This business model is still theoretical, as we have not published anything using this model. Also, the amount we would pay for one article is still unclear, as we have not had any discussions with developers. We’d love to hear your thoughts on

OGDCamp + OKCon = Open Knowledge Festival 2012 in Helsinki, Finland!

- February 7, 2012 in Events, finland, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

The following post is by Kat Braybrooke, London-based Community Coordinator of the Open Knowledge Foundation (Regional Chapters and Groups) and a core organiser of OKFest. OGDcamp 2011 On September 17-22 this year, global communities will be descending on the shores of Helsinki for a week-long celebration called the Open Knowledge Festival – and you’re the first to be invited! For this festival – the first of its kind in the world – we are bringing Open Government Data Camp (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) to the same place to provide new opportunities for collaboration. We’ll start the week by supporting practitioners working in the fields of open government and municipal data, and end it by exploring the diversity of open knowledge initiatives from a global perspective. The organising team, a talented gathering of Finns and leaders from around the world, are already hard at work planning a busy week of seminars, workshops, lectures, hackathons, keynotes, coding jams and interactive media sessions that will bring together participants from a wide variety of backgrounds in new ways. Another important element of OKFest is its Nordic location. The host city of Helsinki is in the midst of an urban Finnish renaissance built on inclusive communities. It is home to one of our first incubating Local Chapters, and as the next World Design Capital for 2012, the city will also be hosting an inspiring cohort of open data practitioners who combine design, art, academia and technology to support innovation in new and interesting ways. Helsinki locals organised the city’s first Open Knowledge Meetup this October and have just opened the first FABlab in Finland at the Aalto University Media Factory. We look forward to highlighting even more Finnish projects in the field of open knowledge, and hope to see the participation of many representatives of Nordic nations. Most importantly of all, we want your ideas to be highlighted at OKFest. We are currently looking for proposals regarding sessions, satellite events, research streams, hackathons, lecture topics and other forms of collaboration. Have a great project or idea that you want to share with the global community? This is the place to do it. Join our public discussion list and say hello here and start finding collaborators on Twitter using the hashtag #okfest. We hope to see you in Helsinki, Finland this September for a week of new friends, open knowledge and global inspiration with a Nordic twist! Photo from OGDCamp 2011 thanks to Volker Agüeras Gäng on Flickr.

Finland Joins our Global Open Data Community

- November 17, 2011 in Chapters, Events, finland, helsinki, Meetups, OKF, OKF Finland, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge

The following post is by Kat Braybrooke, one of OKFN’s London-based Community Coordinators and the contact point for incubating Local OKFN Chapters around the world. Looking at Data, OKFFresh from days (and late nights) full of discussing open web communities in Barcelona at the Free Culture Forum, exchanging code and starting sites about information freedom with hackers in Brasil, and creating the world’s first Data Driven Journalism Handbook at the Mozilla festival in London, the team here at the Open Knowledge Foundation is excited to welcome a new community to our worldwide network – OKFN Finland. Those of you who actively engage with our projects may have noticed that we’re rather interested in the local side of open data lately. This is because, as others have already explained with more eloquence than myself, an essential ingredient to successful open data initiatives is the community that is built around them. Most importantly, we have found that when hackers, civil servants, public service representatives, coders, activists and citizens are brought together in new ways, the really exciting projects tend to emerge. Whether this is facilitated through conferences like last month’s Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw, at urban co-working venues like the C4CC in London,  around hackathon tables at public cafes or at the Open Data Meetups we’re now helping co-host around the globe, it’s exactly the type of collaboration that gives us all a sense of personal and community-focused agency in an increasingly decentralised world. The talented group of folk who have come together to organise Finland’s first open data meetup with the OKF are as diverse as they are passionate, representing a vast assortment of networks including Wikimedia, Linux and F/LOSS usergroups, cultural think-tanks, Creative Commons, local hackspaces and government bodies. They aim to enrich our work by bringing a distinctly regional perspective to existing open knowledge frameworks – and they have invited the world to join them at their first public meetup this November 30th in Helsinki. I’ll be there, and I hope to see many of you there as well, whether virtually on Twitter (using the hashtags #OpenDataFI in English and #AvoinData in Finnish) or in-person. A hearty welcome to our new Finnish friends from Open Knowledge Foundation members around the globe!