Open Data
What, Why, How

OGD Bern, 2011-06-24

Rufus Pollock @rufuspollock[.org]

Open Knowledge Foundation Shuttleworth Foundation

The Open Knowledge Foundation

Open Knowledge Foundation

Founded 2004 / Not-for-profit

Build Communities and Tools to
Help People Create, Use and Share Open Information

Sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata

Community based, with 15+ projects and workings groups

CKAN the Data Hub software and community

CKAN powers and more than 30 other sites and WhereDoesMyMoneyGo - Mapping Government Spending Around the World

OKCon -
Berlin 30th June-1st July

Things are Moving Fast

Open Government Initiatives Around the World

2.5y ago ~ 0. Now UK, US, Finland, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, ...

Open Data: What?

What does Open Mean?

Open Data button Open Data button Open Data button

"A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse and redistribute it - subject only, at most, to a requirement to attribute or share-alike."

Anyone means Anyone!
(So no restrictions on commercial use etc)

What Data?

Transport, Geodata, Statistics, Electoral-Legal ...

Key point: Non-Personal Data!

(E.g. Train times, station locations, spending breakdowns, national laws ...)

Open Data: Why?

A Story

Better Understanding
Better Governance
Better Research
Better Economy

The Challenge and the Opportunity

The Challenge
Info Complexity

The Possibility
Info Technology

Claim: Openness is Key

Open Data button Open Data button Open Data button

Openness and Scaling
(Closed Data Doesn't Scale!)

Woven Ball Broken Humpty
We're Weaving Data Together To Scale We Need to Componentize But We Need to Put Humpty-Dumpty Together Again - Not Possible if Closed

Information is Special: Non-Rivalrous

Very cheaply copied ~ zero cost

Giving me a 'copy' of your car is a problem, giving me a copy of your data isn't

In Products and Services

The Best Thing to do With (Your) Data will be Thought of by Someone Else

Fixing is Faster with Open Data
(And You Don't Repeat Yourself)

To many eyes all bugs are shallow

Est 6% of all bus-stops in NAPTAN wrongly located

Transparency and Efficiency

Where Does My Money Go

Where Does My Money Go?


Deal with Licensing
Legal Solutions for Open Data

It's boring - but without it nothing else works ...

Get a Catalogue

KISS: Keep it Simple (Stupid!)

Don't worry (too much) about e.g. formats, schemas etc

Starts with what is easy and expand

Issues: Control and Misuse

Data has always been misused.

Government can still play a role in interpretation.

As a democratic society we must trust in informed public discourse

Engage Citizens and Developers

Openness Isn't An End In Itself - Data Has No Value If It Isn't Used

The Future

Quality and Data 'Refining'

We're solving the Quantity Problem
Now Time for Quality


Woven Ball
LOD Cloud

Semantic Web and Linked Open Data

Tools and Infrastructure

What Exists at the Moment is Either Alpha or Closed!

Google docs is great but don't we want to build on an open platform ...

Componentized, Distributed, Collaborative
Development of Open Data
'The Debian of Data'


The Holy Trinity:
Innovation, Efficiency, Transparency

AKA: Jobs and Growth, Community and Governance

Enables a Read/Write Society

read/write society

Unlocking a Vast Potential for
Innovation in Products and Services

The Googles of the Future

Data is a Platform
Not a Commodity
You Build on It, Not Sell It

Some Patience!


Rufus Pollock
rufus.pollock [at] okfn [dot] org

License and Credits


Creative Commons Attribution License v3.0 (all jurisdictions)