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Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal of a Few Months’ Residence in Portugal (1847)

- October 29, 2019 in Dorothy Wordsworth, journal, Portugal, spain, travel journal

A lively travelogue by William Wordsworth’s daughter Dorothy, recording her observations of the Iberian peninsula, circa 1845.

Empowering Portugal’s bombeiros with open data

- September 21, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, Portugal

[contact-form] [contact-form]

How is providing an accessible fire map

  This blog has been reposted from the Mapbox blog.

In Portugal, a free, open source project is making official fire data more accessible to firefighters, emergency workers, journalists, and the public. has gained significant traction, receiving as many as a million views a day and half a million unique users a month. We caught up with the creator, João Pina, to learn more. 

What’s the backstory on

It started with a conversation over dinner, in 2015, with friends who are bombeiros — firefighters — and other emergency responders from the national medical emergency institute. They are good people who work a lot, with low pay and high risk. They were frustrated that in order to get information about fires, they had to go to the civil protection authority website and download PDFs. So I decided to build a website version for them. My goal was to create an easier way to use trustworthy, official data to provide real-time information about the fires to professionals and civilians.

Since then it’s grown over the years, with help from a bunch of contributors on GitHub. In 2016, I released an Android and iOS application, with push notifications alerts for fire outbreaks. With the rising number of users and open source contributors, is adding more features. That’s the power of an open source community project — the people who use it can build features they need and make them available for everyone. Even just sharing insights on GitHub can inspire great new features.

Where does the data come from?

The fire data comes from open data released by the official authorities in Portugal. I also added data layers for weather like temperature, precipitation, and cloud cover from OpenWeatherMap, which offered to sponsor the project. I was using Google Maps for the basemap, but it became too expensive for a non-commercial project without funding.

How was the move to Mapbox?

The first time I heard about Mapbox was at an event in Oporto for Open Data Day in March this year. Some participants who contribute to OpenStreetMap recommended Mapbox as a basemap and explained how Mapbox supports open source and open data. I then contacted the Community team to ask if they could support this as a non-profit project.

For, I’ve used Mapbox basemap tiles with Leaflet.js — which I used because it is easier to work with the data from OpenWeatherMap. Mapbox has some very cool and powerful tools — my favorite feature has been the customizability of layers and map controls. All the tools are very user-friendly and the migration from Google Maps was seamless and smooth.

The biggest challenge for a backend developer like me is frontend skills. Open sourcing the project was the solution. People were very generous contributing their work and it became much more user-friendly and accessible — special thanks to my friend Isa Costa, a talented web designer at Bright Pixel, who helped a lot with this.

How’s the map been performing during this year’s fire season?

There’s a lot of traffic that comes from social media — from the map being shared on Twitter and Facebook. The news is increasingly starting to use and promote the map. Phrases about fires are some of the most common web searches in Portugal right now — and appears there most of the time. There’s also a lot of direct traffic from embassy websites because they list as a resource to help travelers to stay safe.

The last few months have been the high season for fires in Portugal. Daily traffic has been very high — and increasing. When there are major fires, there’s been upwards of a million map views a day. Last month, there were over 560,000 unique visitors to the webpage alone — a minimum of 6,700 per day. Everything is working without hiccups and the goal is to maintain that.

Coverage from Sapo24 & PC Guia

What’s next?

I’d like to create sibling projects, for example for floods, droughts, and medical emergencies — and maybe try out some other Mapbox tools, like heatmaps. I’m also using as an opportunity to support a civil education initiative that informs people what to do in case of the fire and what they can do to avoid it, called aldeiasegura — ‘safe village.’

Many people ask me whether could be available in other countries. There’s a challenge with data access in some countries — not all authorities release fire data as openly and quickly as in Portugal, so it is harder to recreate something like this. And I’m only one — I would like to see more developers in other countries use to build disaster maps for their communities. A simple map can have such an impact to help others, and working with the open source community can help you bring everything to a whole new level. People want to help.

João Pina is a web developer based in Aveiro, Portugal. If you want to work on disaster maps with open data and Mapbox, get in touch with João and the Mapbox Community team.


New Open Knowledge Local Groups in Macedonia, Pakistan, Portugal and Ukraine

- March 3, 2015 in Featured, Macedonia, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Pakistan, Portugal, Ukraine

9628963608_2763f5c8c3_c It’s once again time for us to proudly announce the establishment of a new batch of Open Knowledge Local Groups, founded by community leaders in Macedonia, Pakistan, Portugal and Ukraine, which we hereby welcome warmly into the ever-growing family of Local Groups. This brings the total number of Local Groups and Chapters up to a whopping 58! In this blog post we would like to introduce the founders of these new groups and invite everyone to join the community in these countries.


In Macedonia, the Local Group has been founded by Bardhyl Jashari, who is the director of Metamorphosis Foundation. His professional interests are mainly in the sphere of new technologies, media, civic activism, e-­government and participation. Previously he worked as Information Program Coordinator of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia. In both capacities, he has run national and international­scope projects, involving tight cooperation with other international organizations, governmental bodies, the business and the civic sector. He is a member of the National Council for Information Society of Macedonia and National Expert for Macedonia of the UN World Summit Award. In the past he was a member of the Task Force for National Strategy for Information Society Development and served as a commissioner at the Agency for Electronic Communication (2005­-2011). Bardhyl holds a master degree at Paris 12 University­Faculty of Public Administration (France) and an Information System Designer Degree from University of Zagreb (Croatia). To get in touch with Bardhyl and connect with the community in Macedonia, head here.


The new Local Group in Pakistan is founded by Nouman Nazim. Nouman has worked for 7+ years with leading Public Sector as well as Non Government Organizations in Pakistan and performed variety of roles related to Administration, Management, Monitoring etc. He has worn many other hats too in his career including programmer, writer, researcher, manager, marketer and strategist. As a result, he have developed unique abilities to manage multi-disciplinary tasks and projects as well as to navigate complex challenges. He has a Bachelor degree in Information Sciences and is currently persuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science besides working on his own startup outside of class. He believes open data lets us achieve what we could normally never be able to and that it has the potential to positively change millions of lives. In the Open Knowledge Pakistan Local Group Nouman is supported by Sher Afgun Usmani and Sahigan Rana. Sher has studied Computer sciences and is an entrepreneur, co-founder of Yum Solutions and Urducation (an initiative to promote technical education in Urdu). He has been working for 4+ years in the field of software development. Shaigan holds a MBA degree in Marketing, and is now pursuing a Post-Graduate degree in internet marketing from Iqra University Islamabad, Pakistan. His research focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and open access to international markets. He is co-founder of and Yum Solutions. He has an interest and several years experience in internet marketing, content writing, Business development and direct sales. To get in touch with Nouman, Sher and Shaigan and connect with the community in Pakistan, head here.


Open Knowledge Portugal is founded in unison by Ricardo Lafuente and Olaf Veerman. Ricardo co-founded and facilitates the activities of Transparência Hackday Portugal, Portugal’s open data collective. Coming from a communications design background and an MA in Media Design, he has been busy developing tools and projects spanning the fields of typography, open data, information visualization and web technologies. He also co-founded the Porto office of Journalism++, the data-driven journalism agency, where he takes the role of designer and data architect along with Ana Isabel Carvalho. Ana and Ricardo also run the Manufactura Independente design research studio, focusing on libre culture and open design. Olaf Veerman leads the Lisbon office of Development Seed and their efforts to contribute to the open data community in Europe, concretely by leading project strategy and implementation through full project cycles. Before joining Development Seed, Olaf lived throughout Latin America where he worked with civil society organizations to create social impact through the use of technology. He came over from Flipside, the Lisbon based organization he founded after returning to Portugal from his last stay in the Southern hemisphere. Olaf is fluent in English, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish. To get in touch with Ricardo and Olaf – and connect with the community in Portugal, head here.


Denis Gursky is the founder of the new Open Knowledge Local Group in Ukraine. He is also the found of SocialBoost; a set of innovative instruments incl. the open data movement in Ukraine, that improves civic engagement and makes government more digitalized — thus accountable, transparent and open. He is furthermore a digital communications and civic engagement expert and works on complex strategies for government and the commercial sector. He is one of the leaders of the open government data movement in Ukraine, supported by government and hacktivists, and is currently developing the Official Open Government Data Portal of Ukraine and Open Data Law. To get in touch with Denis and connect with the community in Ukraine, head here. Photo by, CC BY-SA.