You are browsing the archive for USA.

5 Things We Learned from Hosting an Open Data Day Event

- March 29, 2019 in Open Data Day, open data day 2019, USA

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Code for Columbus and Open Data Delaware received funding through the mini-grant scheme by Mapbox to organise events under the Open Mapping theme. This is a joint report by Ryan Harrington & Brittany Vance: their biographies are included at the bottom of this post. Open Data Day presents an amazing opportunity for people around the world to celebrate civic technology and the benefits that it can have for our communities. At Code for Columbus and Open Data Delaware we each used the opportunity to build solutions to problems that would make a difference for our local communities. Throughout the process of hosting an Open Data Day event, we walked away with 5 lessons that we could apply more broadly to solving civic technology challenges.

Data cleanup should not be underestimated

On Open Data Day, we found truth in the old computer science joke: “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.” In theory, open data should give us insights. In practice, it is not simply enough for data to be open. Data provided directly from city workers may be in a format that made the most sense to them in the context of their jobs. This data, while useful in that context, may not be in a format that is useful to developers and data scientists who want to implement projects that may be wildly different. A great example of this comes from some of the work that we did in Delaware. One of our long-term projects is focused on making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data more accessible to anyone looking for it. A first step in that process was to issue FOIA requests for all of Delaware’s FOIA logs from as many state agencies and divisions as we could. Our end goal is to determine which datasets people ask for most frequently through FOIA requests and then make them public as part of a data repository. In Delaware, every agency is required to maintain a FOIA log, but there are no regulations regarding how those logs should be maintained. Each agency’s logs are built in a way that makes them most useful to that agency on a day-to-day basis. To say the least, this made it so that no two FOIA logs were alike – some came as Excel files, others came as text, and a few came as PDFs of scanned Excel print outs. Beyond that, each came with differently labeled columns, different data types, and different ways of tracking each request. To make any headway on this project, data cleaning had to be at the forefront of our minds. On Open Data Day, another truth came to fruition – for any data project, at least 80% of the work will be data cleaning and only 20% will be all of the exciting parts.

Engaging community stakeholders improves results

In Columbus, we used the experience to show our civic partners where data cleanup efforts were needed, while being sensitive to staffing limitations. By highlighting possible benefits to the community and our civic partners, and public interest in the work being done for the community, we were able to show that the additional effort would be a worthwhile investment. As a result, we are still moving forward with our Open Data Day projects several weeks later, and our civic partners are helping us find additional data sources, while they discuss data cleanup internally. We have had the most success by honoring the perspectives of everyone, including those at the top. While we are using open data to encourage that our local government is working for everyone, we have made a conscious attempt to be mindful that people in public service genuinely want to do a good job. By highlighting Open Data Day as a platform to showcase local government’s willingness to listen, improve, and serve, we have been able to build relationships with stakeholders who can potentially influence future projects. We were also able to open a public dialog about funding for high-profile projects in the city.

Civic tech communities thrive when they are built from diverse people

A large city with millions of people has at least as many millions of perspectives on its daily life. It is simply not possible to have an in-depth understanding of so many perspectives without consulting the lived experiences of real people. In meetings leading up to Open Data Day in Columbus, we invited cross-sectional participation from multiple economic and social classes. We found that people from financially secure areas of the city were not aware that people in other areas of the city regularly went without food. We also found, conversely, that people from struggling areas were not aware of the genuine desire of those in power to help, and that some programs were not as efficient as possible simply due to lack of exposure to the experiences of struggling communities. Diverse perspectives are not just important when identifying challenges to solve. Just as important is to ensure that participants in your civic tech community have diverse experiences. This can come from a variety of places – life experience, socioeconomic status, or tech background to name a few. This diversity helps to ensure that the solutions that our communities solve are thoughtfully and reflectively built.

Awareness of the possibilities of open data is needed

Open data that is not used is simply another burden for cash-strapped governments to carry. Highlighting the potential usefulness of open data transforms a burden into an asset. In Columbus, we have presented city leaders with scenarios where publicly available data can show insights into areas of higher mortality and lack of access to nutritious food. Education about open data must move beyond city leaders, though. The benefits of open data exponentially increase as citizens understand its value and gain the ability to make use of it. Open Data Day provides a platform to invite citizens to learn and engage with open data projects, while also giving them the opportunity to provide their own perspectives. Improving awareness about open data and civic technology empowers communities to make better decisions for themselves and better advocate for their needs.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

While this is a problem we cannot solve overnight, we were able to use Open Data Day to continue the conversation as to how issues of access to food, transit, and healthcare play out in the lives of real people. In Columbus, we are highlighting how to use open data and volunteer efforts from the tech community to gain insight into those problems. We will need to continue the conversation over the coming weeks, months, and possibly years, to ensure that the stories of the underrepresented are heard. This same lesson is true in Delaware, as we focus on building solutions to improve transparency in our community. The excitement that comes from sprinting through a day of problem solving, such as what we see on Open Data Day, should be used as a catalyst for the marathon of the rest of the year. Open Data Day serves as an opportunity to bring new momentum to the projects and ideas that civic technology communities aim to solve on a day-to-day basis.
 

Biographies

Ryan Harrington is a data science professional focused on making his community a better place. He co-founded and co-organizes Open Data Delaware, where he advocates for government transparency and the use of civic technology. Day-to-day, he works as a lead data scientist for CompassRed Data Labs in Wilmington, DE where he is part of a team that builds predictive models to help businesses and organizations meet their goals. Brittany Vance is a software engineer, mentor, and community organizer. She founded Code for Columbus, a Code for America brigade in Columbus, Ohio. Code for America is an organization that uses the civic technology to improve how government serves the American public. Code for Columbus works toward this goal by leveraging open data and training citizens in its use.  

The Big Easy Budget Game and Open for open data

- March 28, 2019 in Open Contracting, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Mapping, serbia, USA

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Committee for a Better New Orleans and Center for education and transparency – CETRA from Serbia received funding through the mini-grant scheme by Hivos / Open Contracting Partnership and Mapbox, to organise events under the Open Contracting and Open Mapping themes respectively. This is a joint report produced by Kelsey Foster and Predrag Mijalković. To celebrate Open Data Day 2019, the Committee for a Better New Orleans partnered with Code for New Orleans to launch the 2019 version of the Big Easy Budget Game, an interactive website that asks residents to balance their city budget.   CBNO and Code for New Orleans’ Open Data Day 2019 event was held at Wrong Iron, a new beer garden located on a greenway through the heart of a residential neighbourhood on March 12. March 2 was the officially observed Open Data Day, but fell in the midst of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations. New Orleans City District A Council member Joe Giarrusso and staff from City Council District C attended the event and spoke with constituents about the importance of resident input into the budget. About 75 New Orleanians attended the event. The inspiration for the Big Easy Budget Game came in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Five years after the storm, the Committee for a Better New Orleans convened neighbors from across the city to talk about what wasn’t working for them. The story we heard over and over again was: the money. Where is it going? In a city where billions of dollars of recovery aid had been flowing in for years, many still saw the house next door empty, the roads  unpaved, and their street lights burnt out. When our former Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted on twenty-one charges of wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering, it became clear that transparency in our city budget was necessary– but how can residents hold government accountable for a $1 billion, 800-page document that they don’t understand? At CBNO, we saw an opportunity to build a bridge between government and residents, while empowering our community to learn and give input into a process that had previously been closed to them. No public document affects the lives of residents more than the budget: it holds our bus schedules, the books in our libraries, and the lights on our basketball courts. The Big Easy Budget Game shows residents how much funding each city department receives in a year and tells them what happens if they give more or less funding. Residents can see how the government works and make decisions on funding based on what they need in their communities. On our end, CBNO receives the data from hundreds of residents a year that we can share with our mayor, city council, and civil society organizations. Each year, our data is compiled into The People’s Budget Report and shared with government leaders and our community.

New Orleans City Councilman, District A, Joe Giarrusso talks about the importance of the city budget at #ODD2019 in New Orleans

On the other side of the world, in Serbia, civil society organization „Center for education and transparency – CETRA“ arranged a local educational event for around 30 citizens and media representatives in the city of Pančevo. With the intent to celebrate Open data day 2019, we hosted a informal lecture „Open for open data“ in a local coffee shop, which took place on March the 16th. Given that the concept of open data is not yet widespread and familiar in Serbian ecosystem, this was the opportunity to promote the concept by distributing a manual-brochure that explains how can open data be used in local governments but also what is the added value that it brings in terms of saving money, time and energy for our citizens. Since “CETRA” is one of the pioneers among civil society organizations to work on opening data in Serbian municipalities, we presented our experience about the process to the participants, but also took the opportunity to gain valuable insight from the citizens about the data sets they think should be opened in the following period. Currently “CETRA” is participating in a project on opening geo-spatial data sets of 4 Serbian cities, so this community gathering served as a superb chance for promoting the need for more open geo-spatial data initiatives in our country. Mapping geospatial data helps us by showing where things are in the world. If this data is made open, then more people and organisations can build apps, local services and more. Citizens from our city wanted to learn what are the geospatial data sets that can be created and explored, so we presented variety of examples, from databases on the national road network to databases on mineral deposits, storage of hazardous materials, population estimates, neighborhood demographics. Our community also had the chance to be presented with the existence of national open data portal in Serbia, which can be found on the following address:https://data.gov.rs/en/ . Important remarks came from some of our fellow citizens that we should work more on opening data sets from our own city of Pančevo and that is something that we will focus on in the future.

Residents and media representatives from the city of Pančevo attending the “Open for open data” event

CKANconUS and Code for America Summit: some thoughts about the important questions

- June 20, 2018 in ckan, code for america, Events, OK US, USA

It’s been a few weeks after CKANConUS and the seventh Code for America Summit took place in Oakland. As always, it was a great place to meet old friends and new faces of technologists, policy experts, government innovators in the U.S. In this blogpost I share some of the experience of attending these two conferences and a few thoughts I’ve been ruminating about the discussions that happened, and more importantly, those that didn’t happen. CKAN is an open source open data portal platform that Open Knowledge International developed several years ago. It has been used and reused by many governments and civil society organizations around the world. For CKANconUS, the OK US group, led by Joel Natividad organized a one day event with different users and implementers of CKAN around the United States. We had the California based LA Counts, gathering data from the 88 cities in the County of Los Angeles; the California Data Collaborative working to improve water management decisions. We also had some interesting presentations from the GreenInfo Network and the California Natural Resources Agency. And we had the chance to hear about the awesome process of the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center to choose CKAN as its platform and how they maintain the project (presentation included LEGOs in every slide). On the more technical side, David Read, Ian Ward and our own Adrià Mercader talked about the new versions of CKAN, the Express Loader and the Technical Roadmap for CKAN, 11 years after its development started. You can view the slides by Adrià Mercader on the CKAN Technical Roadmap overview here. We closed with some great lightning talks about datamirror.org to ensure access to federal research data and Human Centered Design and what Amanda Damewood learned about working in government in improving these processes. The next two days in the Code for America Summit were full of interesting talks about building tools, innovating in our processes and making government work for people in a better way. There were some interesting keynote speakers as well as breakout sessions where we discussed the process to build certain projects and how we can rethink how we engage in our communities. I would like highlight two mainstage talks about collaboration (or the difficulty of such) between government and civil society. The first is a talk and panel about disasters in Puerto Rico, Houston and cities in Florida, where some key points were raised about the importance of having accurate, verifiable and usable information in these cases, as well as the importance of having a network of people who are willing to help their peers. The second is the presentation Code for Asheville presented, regarding their issues with homelessness and police data. This isn’t necessarily what you would call a success story but Sabrah n’haRaven made a great point about working with social issues: “Trust effective communities to understand their own problems”. This may sound like a given in the work we do when working with data and building things with it, but it’s something that we need to keep in mind. Using this line of thought, it seems crucial to keep these conversations going. We need to understand our communities, be aware that there are policies that go against the rights of people to live a fulfilling life and we need to change that. I hope for the next CfA Summit and CKANConUS we can try to find some answers to these questions collectively.

CKANconUS and Code for America Summit: some thoughts about the important questions

- June 20, 2018 in ckan, code for america, Events, OK US, USA

It’s been a few weeks after CKANConUS and the seventh Code for America Summit took place in Oakland. As always, it was a great place to meet old friends and new faces of technologists, policy experts, government innovators in the U.S. In this blogpost I share some of the experience of attending these two conferences and a few thoughts I’ve been ruminating about the discussions that happened, and more importantly, those that didn’t happen. CKAN is an open source open data portal platform that Open Knowledge International developed several years ago. It has been used and reused by many governments and civil society organizations around the world. For CKANconUS, the OK US group, led by Joel Natividad organized a one day event with different users and implementers of CKAN around the United States. We had the California based LA Counts, gathering data from the 88 cities in the County of Los Angeles; the California Data Collaborative working to improve water management decisions. We also had some interesting presentations from the GreenInfo Network and the California Natural Resources Agency. And we had the chance to hear about the awesome process of the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center to choose CKAN as its platform and how they maintain the project (presentation included LEGOs in every slide). On the more technical side, David Read, Ian Ward and our own Adrià Mercader talked about the new versions of CKAN, the Express Loader and the Technical Roadmap for CKAN, 11 years after its development started. You can view the slides by Adrià Mercader on the CKAN Technical Roadmap overview here. We closed with some great lightning talks about datamirror.org to ensure access to federal research data and Human Centered Design and what Amanda Damewood learned about working in government in improving these processes. The next two days in the Code for America Summit were full of interesting talks about building tools, innovating in our processes and making government work for people in a better way. There were some interesting keynote speakers as well as breakout sessions where we discussed the process to build certain projects and how we can rethink how we engage in our communities. I would like highlight two mainstage talks about collaboration (or the difficulty of such) between government and civil society. The first is a talk and panel about disasters in Puerto Rico, Houston and cities in Florida, where some key points were raised about the importance of having accurate, verifiable and usable information in these cases, as well as the importance of having a network of people who are willing to help their peers. The second is the presentation Code for Asheville presented, regarding their issues with homelessness and police data. This isn’t necessarily what you would call a success story but Sabrah n’haRaven made a great point about working with social issues: “Trust effective communities to understand their own problems”. This may sound like a given in the work we do when working with data and building things with it, but it’s something that we need to keep in mind. Using this line of thought, it seems crucial to keep these conversations going. We need to understand our communities, be aware that there are policies that go against the rights of people to live a fulfilling life and we need to change that. I hope for the next CfA Summit and CKANConUS we can try to find some answers to these questions collectively.

Open mapping in Côte d’Ivoire, Mongolia and the USA

- April 16, 2018 in Côte d'Ivoire, mongolia, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, USA

Authors: Delia Walker-Jones (OSM-Colorado) and Kanigui Nara (SCODA Côte d’Ivoire) This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme.

School of Data (SCODA) Côte d’Ivoire

During the Open Data Day in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), we gathered 13 activists working on extractive industries. Firstly we presented the 2015 EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) report for Côte d’Ivoire. This report contains mainly the payments of extractives industries to Côte d’Ivoire government. The 2015 EITI report has also published the geographical coordinates of operating licenses in the country. We started by showing to the participants where they can find these data in the report. And the first task was to show how these data were organised and what were their meanings. We  explained that for each operating license, there were geographical coordinates of delimitation points of the operating field. We also discussed about the definition of longitude and latitude and the encoding system (degree minutes seconds) that has been used in the report. After that, participants were divided into groups of two persons. And, we asked to each of these groups to use Tabula in order to extract the geographical coordinates of the operating license of Societe des Mines d’Ity. This firm is operating in the west part of the country. One of the important challenges of the day was to clean up the extracted data. We had already prepared a step by step cleaning spreadsheet. We started by introducing the different functions that have been used for cleaning. Functions like “LENGTH”; “FIND & REPLACE” ; “MID” and “SUBSTITUTE” were presented before going through the spreadsheet. Once data were cleaned up and formatted by name of firm, delimitation points, longitude and latitude; we converted longitude and latitude into Degree Decimal format. Then, we made an introduction to Umap and each group created a map project and started to add the delimating points of the operating license of Societe des Mines d’Ity. In terms of lessons, this event was an opportunity for participants to understand geographical coordinates and strengthen their skills in terms of data extraction and data cleaning. We recommend to make sure that participants have a clear understanding of geographical coordinates before starting a mapping event. The next step for us is to design specific training in mapping and to organise mapathon events using OSM.

Open Street Maps (OSM) Colorado: Ger Community Mapping Center mapathon

In Denver, Colorado during Open Data Day, with the assistance of a grant from Mapbox, Open Street Maps Colorado hosted a mapathon for the Ger Community Mapping Center, a non-profit based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The weather outside was warm and sunny, but the mapathon nonetheless lured a number of GIS and geography professionals and students into a local university conference room for an afternoon spent on Open Street Maps, digitizing aerial imagery from Mongolia. We opened the event with a couple presentations about Open Data Day and about the region of Mongolia the Ger Community Mapping Center elected to map. The Arkhangai province, the selected region, is a mostly rural province about 300 miles west of the capital Ulaanbaatar. We saw from the aerial imagery in Open Street Maps the incredibly varied geography of the Arkhangai province, from tiny, barely visible track roads and vast forests in some areas to densely populated residential neighborhoods filled with dozens of gers (yurts) in other areas. As the participants slowly digitized the many features, this varied geography sparked conversations about how to classify smaller roads barely visible in the grass, and where to delineate residential areas in a consistent manner. Conversations moved towards the topic of open data, as well. Questions about how to determine standards for open data, and the ethical ramifications of privacy and open spatial data through aerial imagery came to light. In the case of this mapathon, we discussed gers (yurts) and the importance of including gers in spatial data. While in many Western contexts buildings like gers would not be included, and, in fact, have not warranted a separate OSM tag, gers seemed necessary to incorporate within the cultural context of Mongolia–even inside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, many Mongolians still live in Gers. Gers, therefore, are not only a feature that belongs on a map of Mongolia, but are also an essential feature to assessing population and the movements of the estimated 30% of Mongolians who are still nomadic or semi-nomadic. By discussing topics like this, we hoped to bring to light a part of the world not many people living in Denver, Colorado know about, and to provide a substantial amount of new shapefiles and data for the Ger Community Mapping Center to use in future projects.  

U.S. City Open Data Census relaunched: here’s how you can get involved

- February 5, 2018 in Open Data, Open Data Census, USA

Since 2014, the U.S. City Open Data Census has tracked what datasets are open and available online in cities across the United States. In doing this, the Census is one of the nation’s most prominent (though not perfect) benchmarking tools for city staff and residents to understand what data their city makes available, how their city compares to others across the country, and what datasets their city should consider releasing to be among the nation’s leaders on transparent and accountable government. We mentioned back in November that changes were coming to the Census. Our partners at Open Knowledge International have been making changes to the technical platform that supports the U.S. City Open Data Census (and dozens of similar projects around the world). We’re excited to announce that the relaunched Census website is live and ready for your submissions. Check out the brand new U.S. City Open Data Census to see the new features and datasets, and to add information for your city. We took Open Knowledge International’s technical changes to the site as an opportunity to revisit which datasets were included on the Census. We added four new datasets and removed three. My colleague Greg Jordan-Detamore has a full explanation of the changes to datasets and the site platform. The full list of datasets included on the Census is now: Budget; Business Listings; Code Violations; Construction Permits; Crime Reports; Emergency Calls; Employee Salaries; Lobbyist Activity; Parcels; Police Use-of-Force; Procurement Contracts; Property Assessment; Property Transfers; Public Facilities; Restaurant Inspections; Service Requests; Spending; Traffic Crashes; Website Analytics; and Zoning. More information about what each of these include, as well as examples, are available in our datasets explainer.

A fresh assessment for cities’ open data

One of the Census’s hallmark features is that it assigns a score to each city based on the relative openness of their data. After a last call for submissions at the end of 2017, the cities that were leading the pack were:
Rank City name Total Score*
1 Austin, TX 1855
2 San Francisco, CA 1845
3 Las Vegas, NV 1830
4 New York, NY 1740
5 Los Angeles, CA 1710
6 Chicago, IL 1655
7 Philadelphia, PA 1595
8 Santa Monica, CA 1560
9 San Diego, CA 1550
10 Anchorage, AK 1430
*Cities’ total scores are as of December 31, 2017. Scores are imperfect; they’re a crowdsourced metric and dependent on volunteer contributions.
  As you’ll see on the new Census website, the score for every city in the nation has been reset to zero. For cities that were in the lead, or who had invested time and energy logging dataset information, we know this might be disappointing. The new Census platform required a break from the previous site, and the datasets and submissions changes were significant enough that carrying over scores would be an inaccurate comparison. If you want to see where your city previously stood, the archived version of the old Census is still available. The good news is that this means the field is wide open to showcase your city’s open data work. Whether your city is just starting its open data program or has been publishing open datasets for several years, now is a great time to benchmark what data is open in your city, and take an early lead nationwide. Anyone, in any city, is invited to contribute information to the Census. You do not have to be a city staff member or an open data expert to participate. We extend a particularly warm invitation to cities participating in What Works Cities, as well as cities that have passed an open data policy to participate. To these cities: you are already doing outstanding work on open data; this is a chance for you to show that good work to the rest of the country. In addition, we invite advocacy groups working on specific issues — like policing, public finances, or urban development — to add information about those categories across cities. The Census has the potential to show which cities are leading the way to publish data about important issues facing American communities. Submit information about your city’s data today. We plan to publish a midyear leaderboard in June looking at which cities are scoring highest at that point for 2018. We encourage you to get your city’s open datasets loaded on to the Census before then in order to be included. The U.S. Open Data Census is one of the best ways for cities to see how they compare to one another and to learn from cities that are leading the way. Helping local leaders aspire for ambitious goals, and learn from one another how to accomplish them is one of the great assets way that What Works Cities encourages. We’re looking forward to putting this new platform to use tracking open data across the country. Visit the new site to add information about your own city today.

Amazon, Google, IBM m.fl. skapar plattform för öppna data

- August 11, 2015 in Amazon, Analysis, Barack Obama, europa, Google, IBM, NOAA, Open Cloud Consortium, Open Data, öppna data, SMHI, USA

President Barack Obama utfärdade i maj 2013 den exekutiva ordern om att offentlig information ska ha “the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable”. Sedan dess har federala myndigheter behövt följa en öppna data policy och publicera sin information i ett öppet, tillgängligt format. I den exekutiva ordern sattes tre tydliga mål upp, vilka alla innefattade en tidsram för genomförande. Detta är ett i leden av de policies för att främja vidareutnyttjande av offentlig information som har genomförts under Obama-administrationen. I våras följdes detta upp med ett initiativ som Europeiska makthavare borde inspireras av. För det räcker inte enbart med att myndigheter gör sin data tillgänglig. Data får sitt verkliga värde först när den används och då krävs det ofta stora och dyra datainfrastrukturer som kan hantera snabb och kontinuerlig överföring av stora mänger data. I många fall är det på denna punkt som statliga myndigheter faller, både i USA såväl som i Europa. Men det finns aktörer inom den privata sfären som har satsat stora summor på just denna typ av infrastruktur. Det är även där fördelen ligger med det nya samarbetet mellan U.S. Department of Commerce och Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Microsoft Corp., samt the Open Cloud Consortium. Denna så kallade data-allians kommer att arbeta med att göra the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, motsvarigheten till svenska SMHI) data tillgänglig via molntjänster för användning.

Källa: Arduinoesmall vid Wikipedia, CC-BY 3.0

Initiativet går ut på att de privata företagen står för infrastrukturen och de statliga myndigheterna för datan. NOAA producerar 20 terabyte data varje dag och kommer från flera olika insamlingsmetoder. Idag är dock bara en liten del tillgänglig för allmänheten att använda. NOAA gjorde därför en förfrågan bland privata aktörer förra året, och bad om förslag på hur de kunde göra mer data tillgänglig. Detta ledde till det nya samarbetet som lanserades i april i år. Google, IBM, Amazon m.fl. kommer att erbjuda infrastrukturen till den statliga myndigheten, utan kostnad. I utbyte tillåts de ta betalt för användning av data under den tid den efterfrågas av användaren, vilket kan vara medborgare så väl som företag. Ett krav är dock att alla aktörer erbjuds data på samma villkor, och att inga speciella arrangemang görs för exempelvis större data-användare. På så vis undslipper staten de enorma kostnader som ny infrastruktur innebär. Samtidigt skapas nya plattformar för vidareutnyttjande hos välkända aktörer som många privata användare redan känner till vilket borde underlätta att metoden får fäste. En prototyp väntas lanseras hosten 2015. Detta leder oss naturligtvis till frågan om ett liknande samarbete skulle gå att åstadkomma i Europa. Vi har inget eget Amazon, Google eller IBM. En möjlighet skulle givetvis vara att de Europeiska makthavarna med ansvar för vidareutnyttjande av offentlig information gör en liknande förfrågan. Men Europeiska Kommissionens anti-konkurrens utredning mot Google om prisjämförelsetjänsten samt det formella granskningsförfarande om Android om öppnades i april i år, för inte precis med sig en förbättrad relation till företaget. Och det bör noteras att den amerikanska staten överlag har en närmare relation till de stora företagen, jämfört med Europa. Ett initiativ av denna storlek har bäst förutsättningar att lyckas på Europeisk nivå, då ett mervärde finns i att samla information från olika medlemsstaters myndigheter. Förslagsvis skulle myndigheter likt NOAA med ansvar för datainsamling inom väder- och klimatområdet vara föremål för en första omgång. Lyckas det amerikanska initiativet lär andra myndigheter haka på. För att inte förlora alltmer fotfäste i konkurrensen på området för öppna data med USA, borde Kommissionen utreda förutsättningarna för att ett Europeiskt datasamarbete ska kunna sättas igång. Problem finns självfallet i att medlemsstaternas offentliga information är föremål för olika regleringar. Samarbetet bör därför, till att börja med, vara frivilligt. Om ett sådant projekt gick i hamn, innebär det en mycket attraktiv möjlighet för de Europeiska medlemsländerna att skapa nytt värde med sin offentliga information. I efterdyningarna av den ekonomiska krisen borde tillväxtmedel som detta vara särskilt attraktiva – det har chans att skapa otroliga mervärden genom en förbättrad tillgång till data vilket i sin tur skulle bidra till skapande av nya produkter, tjänster och innovativa lösningar – utan att det kostar staten ett öre.