You are browsing the archive for Open Knowledge Network.

Czech Open Data Challenge: a showcase of amazing transparency apps

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

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

Screenshot of prazdnedomy.cz, visualising vacant real estate in Brno, Czech Republic

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

OKFestival 2018 becomes Open Knowledge Summit May 2018 in Thessaloniki

Sander van der Waal - November 30, 2017 in Events, Featured, OKFest, OKFest 2018, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Network

It is with regret that due to recent circumstances within Open Knowledge International, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to cancel the planned Open Knowledge Festival 2018. This announcement has been a very difficult decision for the team at OKI, however with such a short time frame ahead and a lack of secured funding for the Festival, we felt that we could not guarantee a successful event for all our participants. However, we want to take the opportunity to gather the Open Knowledge Network on the same dates, facilitating an event that embraces our network and is a better fit for where we are today. In this post we outline our alternative plans for Thessaloniki in May 2018.   Dear Network and partners: We are in a period of change at Open Knowledge International. After the resignation of our CEO Pavel Richter we took the time to reflect and think about the state of affairs. We recognise that we have not been as actively communicating as we should have been at Open Knowledge International. There have been some notable successes with initiatives such as Frictionless Data, the School of Data network, Open Data Day and the Global Open Data Index. It is very clear to us that those successes would not have been possible without the passion and commitment of our wider diverse Open Knowledge Network. Similar, if not greater, successes have been achieved by you in the network. Only two of these are the wonderful Prototype Fund project in Germany, and the MyData conference in Finland and Estonia. Full credit for that goes to Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland and Open Knowledge Finland, only two of the amazing Chapters and groups that make up the Open Knowledge Network. But when we look in the mirror at Open Knowledge International we don’t think that we have excelled in the way that we intended over recent years. We did not communicate clearly to you, our partners, how our organisational strategy was evolving and where we were going as an organisation. We did not engage you, the Open Knowledge Network, on equal footing. We asked for your involvement and contributions at specific points but did not engage you sufficiently on the bigger question of the overall journey we are on together: aiming for juster and more open societies. We are very keen to change this. The world of open knowledge has grown, developed and matured in the last couple of years. Ten years ago we were mostly talking about governments publishing data openly. But now, our collective open knowledge universe includes many other areas like open access to academic publications and open research data. Many groups are actively involved in the area of personal data, where we citizens demand more control over the data we share with corporations on a day-by-day basis. We believe our vision is still very much valid: we still look ahead to a future where everyone has free and open access to key information, enabling every human, citizen, and consumer to understand and shape their lives, homes and the world. Our values are also as relevant as ever: open knowledge, as defined by the open definition, forms the cornerstone of what we do. We value respect and tolerance, collaboration not control. We are pragmatic, not fanatic, we make & talk, and we focus on making change in the world. The Open Knowledge Network is a lot more than just an aggregation of its parts. We know that we must keep these parts in constant relation. And we propose that the best way to do this is to keep the Network linked  through specific domains. This idea builds very much on the concept of Working Groups we have had for many years in the Open Knowledge Network. We have been inspired by the School of Data network who already work in this way – they develop their mission and align strategies between the various organisations that are members of the network – achieving great impact in data literacy in this way. We propose to develop thematic networks within the other domains that are important to multiple Open Knowledge groups. For example, based on a recent survey among Open Knowledge groups we think there is sufficient level of engagement around topics such as Fiscal Transparency, Open Data infrastructure, Open Science, OpenGLAM, and Personal Data. Such a network already exists in the area of data training with the School of Data network. There are opportunities, we believe, to benefit from more dedicated collaboration, exchange of ideas and plans and possibly even develop shared objectives in these areas among Open Knowledge partners. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances at Open Knowledge International, we are not in a position to organise the Open Knowledge Festival we envisioned, and that many of us fondly remember from Berlin (2014) and Helsinki (2012). Not going ahead with the Festival as planned is a very difficult decision for us. However we are keen to ensure that we hold an event that will be successful for the entire Network, taking the opportunity to gather the Open Knowledge Network on the same dates, to do something that is better fitting for where we are today. We are looking forward to bringing our partners together at an Open Knowledge Summit event in Thessaloniki in May 2018 that will help us all collaboratively build the future of the Open Knowledge Network. We will follow up with you, our partners in the Open Knowledge Network, over the next couple of weeks to work together on the idea of the domain networks that we started to outline above. We want to hear from you, if you feel this is the right approach for developing the Open Knowledge Network and incorporate your ideas. Together with you, we want to take the network to the next level in the build-up to May 2018, so that we can all come together in Thessaloniki as an opportunity to meet each other in person and work together within those domains that matter to us. More will follow on this in the next couple of weeks and months. Finally, we want to give a big shout-out to our partners at Open Knowledge Greece. We are very grateful for the hard work that they have put into making the event in Thessaloniki the best it can be, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them as amazing hosts for the Open Knowledge Summit.

OKFestival 2018 becomes Open Knowledge Summit May 2018 in Thessaloniki

Sander van der Waal - November 30, 2017 in Events, Featured, OKFest, OKFest 2018, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Network

It is with regret that due to recent circumstances within Open Knowledge International, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to cancel the planned Open Knowledge Festival 2018. This announcement has been a very difficult decision for the team at OKI, however with such a short time frame ahead and a lack of secured funding for the Festival, we felt that we could not guarantee a successful event for all our participants. However, we want to take the opportunity to gather the Open Knowledge Network on the same dates, facilitating an event that embraces our network and is a better fit for where we are today. In this post we outline our alternative plans for Thessaloniki in May 2018.   Dear Network and partners: We are in a period of change at Open Knowledge International. After the resignation of our CEO Pavel Richter we took the time to reflect and think about the state of affairs. We recognise that we have not been as actively communicating as we should have been at Open Knowledge International. There have been some notable successes with initiatives such as Frictionless Data, the School of Data network, Open Data Day and the Global Open Data Index. It is very clear to us that those successes would not have been possible without the passion and commitment of our wider diverse Open Knowledge Network. Similar, if not greater, successes have been achieved by you in the network. Only two of these are the wonderful Prototype Fund project in Germany, and the MyData conference in Finland and Estonia. Full credit for that goes to Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland and Open Knowledge Finland, only two of the amazing Chapters and groups that make up the Open Knowledge Network. But when we look in the mirror at Open Knowledge International we don’t think that we have excelled in the way that we intended over recent years. We did not communicate clearly to you, our partners, how our organisational strategy was evolving and where we were going as an organisation. We did not engage you, the Open Knowledge Network, on equal footing. We asked for your involvement and contributions at specific points but did not engage you sufficiently on the bigger question of the overall journey we are on together: aiming for juster and more open societies. We are very keen to change this. The world of open knowledge has grown, developed and matured in the last couple of years. Ten years ago we were mostly talking about governments publishing data openly. But now, our collective open knowledge universe includes many other areas like open access to academic publications and open research data. Many groups are actively involved in the area of personal data, where we citizens demand more control over the data we share with corporations on a day-by-day basis. We believe our vision is still very much valid: we still look ahead to a future where everyone has free and open access to key information, enabling every human, citizen, and consumer to understand and shape their lives, homes and the world. Our values are also as relevant as ever: open knowledge, as defined by the open definition, forms the cornerstone of what we do. We value respect and tolerance, collaboration not control. We are pragmatic, not fanatic, we make & talk, and we focus on making change in the world. The Open Knowledge Network is a lot more than just an aggregation of its parts. We know that we must keep these parts in constant relation. And we propose that the best way to do this is to keep the Network linked  through specific domains. This idea builds very much on the concept of Working Groups we have had for many years in the Open Knowledge Network. We have been inspired by the School of Data network who already work in this way – they develop their mission and align strategies between the various organisations that are members of the network – achieving great impact in data literacy in this way. We propose to develop thematic networks within the other domains that are important to multiple Open Knowledge groups. For example, based on a recent survey among Open Knowledge groups we think there is sufficient level of engagement around topics such as Fiscal Transparency, Open Data infrastructure, Open Science, OpenGLAM, and Personal Data. Such a network already exists in the area of data training with the School of Data network. There are opportunities, we believe, to benefit from more dedicated collaboration, exchange of ideas and plans and possibly even develop shared objectives in these areas among Open Knowledge partners. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances at Open Knowledge International, we are not in a position to organise the Open Knowledge Festival we envisioned, and that many of us fondly remember from Berlin (2014) and Helsinki (2012). Not going ahead with the Festival as planned is a very difficult decision for us. However we are keen to ensure that we hold an event that will be successful for the entire Network, taking the opportunity to gather the Open Knowledge Network on the same dates, to do something that is better fitting for where we are today. We are looking forward to bringing our partners together at an Open Knowledge Summit event in Thessaloniki in May 2018 that will help us all collaboratively build the future of the Open Knowledge Network. We will follow up with you, our partners in the Open Knowledge Network, over the next couple of weeks to work together on the idea of the domain networks that we started to outline above. We want to hear from you, if you feel this is the right approach for developing the Open Knowledge Network and incorporate your ideas. Together with you, we want to take the network to the next level in the build-up to May 2018, so that we can all come together in Thessaloniki as an opportunity to meet each other in person and work together within those domains that matter to us. More will follow on this in the next couple of weeks and months. Finally, we want to give a big shout-out to our partners at Open Knowledge Greece. We are very grateful for the hard work that they have put into making the event in Thessaloniki the best it can be, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them as amazing hosts for the Open Knowledge Summit.

Sensitizing Nepal’s digital natives: Open Data Awareness Program announced

Nikesh Balami - October 30, 2017 in nepal, network updates, OK Nepal, Open Knowledge Network, training

To support Nepal’s growing open data movement and increase its network of data-savvy practitioners, Open Knowledge Nepal has announced the Open Data Awareness Program, which aims to sensitize more than 300+ students and youth from seven districts. The Open Data Awareness Program aims to raise awareness about the concept and usage of open data to Nepal’s digital natives, who are the current youth population and the potential future decision-makers and leaders of Nepal. As part of the program, hands-on training sessions are being organized at different colleges and youth organizations, where participants will be provided with a compiled Open Data Manual to aid their understanding of open data. After the conclusion of the all the workshops at different colleges, a hackathon event will be organized in Kathmandu, bringing together selected participants from colleges and youth organizations where the training sessions were held to work collaboratively on opening up data currently in a closed format. At the hackathon event, the participants will share their experiences of learning and working with open data and discuss ways to engage more young people in the open data movement in Nepal. The awareness program is also an opportunity for increased civic awareness and engagement and participatory governance. The program hopes to make the open data momentum in Nepal stronger, especially among the youth population.  Through the sessions, the understanding and the chances of the youth population joining the open data ecosystem will increase, helping groom Nepal’s future leaders and decision-makers to be data-driven. The ongoing work and data-driven initiatives conducted by different organizations will also reach more people through this program. As a result of the program, a significant number of human resources will become aware regarding the current data revolution in Nepal. More importantly, the program will help improve the chances of more open data startups and initiatives emerging in the near future. Likewise, an increased capacity and awareness of open data in Nepal’s present and future generation will also help to increase the potential for open-data-informed development decisions and accountability of responsible bodies. The objective of the awareness program is to make the youth of Nepal more aware of the benefits of open data, to fill in the gap of data literacy and to better prepare young people for a rapidly changing data scenario. Through the program, the university students and youths will be empowered to:
  • Use open data for research and new projects
  • Conduct data analysis and reporting
  • Use new data tools and programming languages
  • Build innovative solutions to tackle development challenges
Throughout workshops, participants will discuss:
  • What is open data and why it is of importance
  • The background and history of open data
  • Open data sources and stories
  • Technical processes to extract, analyze, clean and visualize the available data in Nepal
The awareness program will be based on the Open Data Curriculum and the Open Data Manual, both prepared by Open Knowledge Nepal as a reference and recommended a guide for university students, civil society, and the private sector. This project is supported by the Data for Development Programme, implemented by The Asia Foundation in partnership with Development Initiatives, with funding from the UK Department for International Development to improve the sharing and use of data as evidence for development in Nepal. For more project updates regarding workshops, hackathon and resources, please visit the project webpage: odap.oknp.org

Launch: Jedeschule.de promotes transparency within the educational system in Germany

Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland - April 12, 2017 in OK Germany, Open Knowledge Network, open-education

This blog was written by Moritz Neujeffski, School of Data Germany team.

School of Data Germany, a project by Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, helps non-profit organisations, civil rights defenders and activists to understand and use data and technology effectively to increase their impact on societal challenges. Profound knowledge in processing data allows individuals and organisations to critically reflect and to influence public debates with evidence-based arguments. Jedeschule.de is the outcome of our first partnership with BildungsCent eV. Together we explored the programs schools in Germany offer students beside general lessons and advocated for a transparent German education system. While we definitely learned a lot about the school system in Germany, we provided specially tailored Workshops for BildungsCent eV. We addressed how to clean, analyse and visualise data and what pitfalls to look out for in digital projects. Education is more than school lessons. Character and drive often develop outside the classroom. Public information on schools in Germany is sparse and not often available in a structured and organised format. Together with BildungsCent eV., we investigated the availability and access of data on schools in Germany.
The focus of our investigation: How is data on schools best communicated to the public? How does that affect the potential of schools to be important social hubs?

Findings of our analysis: Jedeschule.de

Parents, students, teachers, politicians, and civil society organisations benefit from enhanced information on the German school system that is provided on Jedeschule.de. School of Data Germany and BildungsCent eV. campaigned for more transparency in the educational sector and promoted dialogues between stakeholders in educational policy.We also provided an overview of more than 30,000 schools of general education in Germany. The interactive map makes it possible to search for and filter according to specific school types. The educational sector differs among the 16 German federal states. We gathered information on the development of each individual school system, public spending within the educational sector, and the employment situation of teachers for each state. Moreover,  3,000 profiles for schools in Berlin and Saxony containing their mission statements, the number of students and teachers per school, study groups and cooperations between schools and actors from civil society, public departments, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders were set up. All this data as used in the project is available as open data on our website.

Our aim is to facilitate the use of educational data by journalists, politicians, scientists, the civic tech community, and stakeholders of educational policy.

Concluding remarks on school activities & cooperations in Berlin and Saxony

  •  413 out of 800 general education schools in Berlin communicate their activities to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Family.
  • On average, they provide eight activities in at least four areas such as environment, literature, handcraft, and technology besides regular lessons.
  • In Saxony, 1206 out of 1500 schools of general education report to the statistical office.
  • In total, they offer 11,600 activities. On average, this amounts to ten activities in five different areas per school.
  • Sporting activities are most prominent in both federal states. Partners from civil society and public affairs are the highest among schools in both states.
Schools promote the well-being and development of children and adolescents through diverse projects, partners, and activities. They are an important component of the livelihood and learning environment of students and provide an important perspective on society. To establish a holistic picture of the German school system and to increase transparency and the ability to compare federal states on educational matters, data has to be better collected, organised, and structured at the state level. Administrations, especially need to improve their performance in order to foster an effective debate on the German school system.