Showing posts from 2012

Ghana Business News » Partnership to turn 4,000 women in Ghana, others into mobile money entrepreneurs

USAID Development Data Jam in Washington DC, December 2012 had several speakers referring to mobile technology as the common denominator connecting people to the data economy. This is a well written article applying the idea of citizen/government collaboration toward a positive economic outcome. Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer at USAID and a speaker at the Data Jam is also quoted in this article. Ghana Business News » Partnership to turn 4,000 women in Ghana, others into mobile money entrepreneurs

Open Governance done right: creating rules without ruling | open-strategies

  Original Article From My Opinion on Governance Governance both from a data curation perspective and a processual, cultural perspective are vital in any open government initiative Most of the time little thought seems to be given to governance. This lack of governance leads to policy problems, data quality problems and the effectiveness of applying open data and open governance initiatives toward true data driven policy making. Posted on Via Ivan Begtin at My Opinion on's Scoop by Ivan Begtin Jason Hare 's insight: Very timely article. I am writing the City of Raleigh's "Open Raleigh Vision". I  hope I can anticipate the need for the types of collaboration I will need on data classification, open data policy, open data brand marketing and service oriented architecture to link it all together. This is all new territory. 

DEC 21 The Trouble with Geoportals

  For my Open Data Program I plan on using a mix of Mondara and ArcGIS Online as my mapping tools. We won't kill Geoportal but link to it and make it accessible to those folks that actually use that data. Chris Herwig from said it and we all think it: Open data is not truly “open” if it is inaccessible. As the open data space matures, domestically and internationally, we need to start talking about best practices for making open data more open and accessible. I’m going to go over a few of the key takeaways from my recent work, highlighting some successes and failures in providing geodata at the state and local levels in the United States. Read more of Chris Herwig's comments at this link below:

Cities as Vast Data Factories

Someone from the City of Raleigh sent this in concerning the city's use of #opendata .There is a healthy discussion going on in one of the Linkedin groups Open Development Technology Alliance. + chad foley I thought you and+ Bonner Gaylord might find this interesting being that someone emailed Chad about it this evening. Special report from The Economist focusing on smart cities and how technology turns urban areas into "vast data factories" » IN 1995 GEORGE GILDER, an American writer, declared that “cities are leftover baggage from the industrial era.” Electronic communications would become so easy...

Open Government at the Local Level: Durham Public Schools Bond Referendum

  Long Range Facilities Plan Website One of the last projects I was tasked with as a web analyst at Durham Public Schools was what I think of as "open government". In 2012, Durham Public Schools wanted the public to approve a 9 million dollar IT initiative to upgrade the student computer labs in select DPS schools to reach parity with newer labs in some of the recent construction. The DPS Board of Education and most of the executive leadership team was in a debate about how to approach Durham County to ask for this re-appropriation. One of the ideas was to showcase the nicer labs to show how efficiently the district was spending money within the IT department. My colleague, Charlotte Claypoole, and I thought we should do the opposite. Charlotte and I wanted to show exactly what the problems were within the older schools. Some of these buildings were quite old and the wiring and infrastructure were not capable of handling the computing needs of the students. I built the websit

USAID DataJam Notes from the Field

  Todd Park at USAID DataJam December 10th, 2012 I was honored to participate in the Global Development Data Jam at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. The group in attendance represented several NGOs, private sector organizations and federal agencies associated with USAID. The theme of this Data Jam was open data being used to enhance effectiveness in program spending and to create transparency in foreign spending by USAID. USAID DataJam Themes included: The future of the data economy driven by open data and big data Open data as infrastructure The correlation between lack of data access and poverty Open data as the next big economic multiplier Crowdsourcing data cleansing activities Open data is not usable data Social media for situational awareness and crisis management ( ). Speaker Notes Todd Park: U.S. Chief Technology Officer, The White House What is the next big thing? GPS was released in the early nineties which led to billion

What does Open Government Mean to You?

  Open Government Open Data to Open Government Open Government is not new. The Magna Carta was created in England in 1215 as a Charter to check the power of the monarchy. That the French translation less than 5 years later from Latin to vernacular speech might arguably be hailed as one of the first acts of "open government" in Western Civilization. One may argue that this desire for plurality and dialog that was codified into English law and tradition is actually of Anglo Saxon origin and therefore the descendant of an earlier tradition. One might also tongue-in-cheek say that the Magna Carta was not in machine readable format therefore not "open data". These terms underscore my point. "open data" is not "open government" any more then a street is public transportation. One makes the other possible but it is only a necessary and not sufficient condition. Open Government when it works is the shift in the paradigm of how government interacts with i

Practical Advice for Open Data Managers

  From the Guardian UK: The US-based Center for Technology in Government has released practical advice for government managers planning or actively engaged in open data initiatives. A white paper from the center, The dynamics of Opening Government Data, is based on findings from a year-long research project at the University of Albany (State University of New York) and aims to help organisations understand the value of open data. Findings Releasing government data that is relevant to both agency performance and the public interest. Investing in strategies to estimate how different stakeholders will use the data. Devising data management practices that improve context. Thinking about sustainability for long-term value creation. The recommendations are based on two case studies: public access to street construction project data in Alberta, Canada, and public access to restaurant health inspection data in New York. They include: Download the whitepaper here:

Agencies Lag on Transparency

  President Obama promised a more transparent government on Day One of his first term, and his attorney general followed suit less than two months later with a memorandum urging all heads of executive departments to err on the side of openness when it comes to disclosure requests. But a recent audit by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive found that nearly 70 percent of government agencies have not updated their Freedom of Information regulations since U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sent out that letter, and well over half have not done so since Congress and President George W. Bush approved the Open Government Act of 2007, which mandated certain changes. This is a partial reprint from The Washington Post:

A Conversation on Open Data Standards

A posting below concerning #socrata and the development of an #opendatastandard and the merging of Socrata's GitHub posting with the standard being developed at the OKF: Will Pugh (Socrata): I appreciate the conversations. I think there are a few places this blog missed the mark, but the issue of trading off speed for effective governance is a reasonable discussion. The blog does not have a place to comment, so I'll respond here (and possibly a later blog post). The Government Linked Data Working Group has done a good job in defining a number of the vocabularies for catalogs and linked data, however, in terms of last mile standards in terms of how catalogs synchronize and federate with each other, these are a good starting point but not enough. Both the open-data-standards initiative as well as the initiative start where the Government Linked Data Working Group and DCAT left off. They are focussed o

Open Data Toolkit from the World Bank

(OGD Toolkit), designed to provide staff at the World Bank and in country governments a basic set of resources for initiating and developing an open data program. The toolkit is a “work in progress” which we expect to revise and improve as we receive your feedback and real-world experience.

Public Data Corporation

Re-sharing from a re-share by + Rob Stocker . Those articles from the UK on open data policy are indeed well written. Rob Stocker originally shared this post : Welcome to the Open Data User Group » Back in October I wrote about a UK government consultation on the subject of the proposed Public Data Corporation. The government has now responded with one of its well-written documents [pdf].

David Eaves calls for governments to invest in design and analytics to make websites more usable |

Sadly- little is done in the way of municipal or government web design. Some forward efforts have been made. I look to the City of Calgary and Reinvent NYC as examples of moving in the right direction. Recently, I left the Durham Public Schools system to work for the City of Raleigh as the Open Data Program Manager. At DPS we started the move from organizationally driven websites toward a design that is starting to be based on community feedback and analytics. Discussing the issue with Robin McCoy from DPS yesterday I noted that the winning design violated several usability heuristic principles. I was expecting push-back. Instead I got a refreshing "write it up". I helped DPS on their redesign effort as part of the last project for a system to which I had given 7 years of my career. Now working in Open Data I see a chance to finally build interfaces based on solid analytics. Citizen engagement is measurable and the return on Open Data investment can only be realized through a

Open Data Ireland Thursday November 22nd

  Part of the discussion with Open Ireland Thursday will be related to +Gavin Starks' comments from the ODI. CEO of Open Data Institute: we need to make open data non-threatening (Wired UK) » The disruptive power of open data needn't be seen as a threat to companies and government agencies, argued Gavin Starks, chief executive of the Open Data Institute.

Starting Small with Open and Big Data

One of the positive take-aways I got from the trip to Asheville, NC with my colleague, Chad Foley, is that any data effort can start small. The World Bank Blog also advocates this. The other take away is we need to think about the questions we want to posit to our data. Sometimes looking at data and thinking about data can be overwhelming. Like any information project, the first question I like to ask is "Why are we doing this?". The second is "what story or narrative does this data tell us?". Sometimes there are several narratives embedded within a dataset or a bigger narrative in a federated dataset. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach to looking at the data within any organization usually yields the best narratives.

Open Data Strategy- Economic Drivers

Below is a collection of Open data initiatives focused on economic drivers to make a business case for an open data initiative. I sent this list to a colleague yesterday in response to a discussion on federating data between my municipality and the state government. Denmark This is a link to a blog posting and in the blog posting is a link to Denmark’s ROI report on cost savings since implementing Open Data- the caveat is I feel the ROI data is at a very high level (50k foot level) without breaking it down into enough specifics: Australia In 2011 ANDS (Australian National Data Service) commissioned the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University to examine the costs and benefits of public sector organizations making their data (Public Sector Information or PSI) freely available. The study was undertaken by Professor John Houghton, a prominent economis

Followup to Anthropology and Open Data

I am currently working on a white paper detailing an approach to Open Data policies from a social sciences perspective. In preparation for this I have gathered some information on the resurgence of cultural anthropology and some of the data modeling that is going on within the anthropology community. The white paper will also detail the plan for the City of Raleigh's Open Data program to effectively mine data and analyze patterns to create visualizations for public consumption (not info-graphics). From that we may be able to recognize patterns of behavior in response to city programs. We can at least start to tackle issues when we see programs fail and emulate those that are successful. Thank you for your patience.

Anthropology and Open Data

I have been frustrated by what I have been reading lately about the use of anthropological techniques when applied to Big Data and to Open Data. While I hear the arguments on both sides (Big Data can tell us nothing, Big Data can tell us everything) Big Data can show a shift in behavior and this can affect design choices as it relates to the whole user experience. Folks are correct in asserting that a lot of what was important to anthropologists in the past may not be seen as that important today. I think though we have a very important contribution to make in understanding big data and in the task of implementing open data and creating transparency in government. Back to big data- in analyzing seven years of click tracking data for a public sector website, i noticed a shift in the use of referral traffic to a specific page within this website versus a browse from the homepage starting point. Indeed when I did a visitor path analysis i noticed over seven years a precipitous drop in &q