November 09, 2012

Catalunya Dades. Looking for a Common ground on Opendata

Crowded venue being introduced to OpenData

About 400 people attended today the 1st Open Data Day in Catalonia, organized by Catalunya Dades (Catalonia Data), a Group convened by representatives from the Government of Catalonia, municipalities, Amical Viquipèdia, universities and other institutions related to Open Data. The conference aimed to disseminate Open Data and free knowledge in Catalonia, using lessons learned, case studies and best practices.

The speakers highlighted the momentum to promote Open Data projects in Catalonia despite the difficulties that institutions and agencies have to change the internal dynamics to make the transition to this new culture. We need Open Data to generate wealth and employment, but also to improve the free access to public information and to regain people's interest in public affairs.

The speakers emphasized the need to spread the benefits of openness and reuse of Data and put it at the service of society as one of the possible ways to overcome the crisis period. It is also important to ensure that private organizations discover publicly available data released, which should allow them to innovate products and services. We must move towards linked data.

As a Wikimedian, I explained how in Catalan wiki we use bots to create some geography Wikipedia entries, how we re-use Government released content in our projects and what we are expecting from Wikidata.

Then we have developed several round tables where representatives of different sectors have debated issues related to Open Data and reuse of information. Some highlighted ideas:

  • We live in the information society. We are surrounded by data. Creating apps and services based on Open Data is not easy. We need to Open dynamic data. Those with a high variability.
  • Now there are several Open Data portals but everyone works in different formats. EU should legislate same global standards for everyone.
  • Public information must be given with quality and proven consistency. Standardization is key.
  • Both the public and the private world must collaborate. Local councils can provide highly relevant data from their services.
  • The digitization of information has been very important because it affects all sectors and disciplines, revolutionizes the concept of democracy.
  • Everything paid with public money should remain in the public domain.
  • Providing data has costs for government. 
  • Some governments already put a clause in Open Data in public procurements.
  • Open Data and linked data is something for everyone. There is some much work to do that we have to distribute it between governments, citizens and businesses. The collaboration would help to minimize costs.
  • The impact of Open Data in the next 6 to 8 years will be higher than what the one web has meant in our lives.
Nearly 400 people attended the conference, which demonstrates the interest in Open Data. We will learn together.

Amical Viquipèdia is founding member of Catalunya Dades, a group of actors (governments, universities, businesses, communities, developers, and professional from different fields related to communication, technology, open knowledge ...), which seeks to involve society in the process of creating value from free knowledge and Open Data.

Note: This post is an adaptation and English translation of a text written by @joanasoteras in Catalan and published here under a CC-BY license.

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