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The Europe Roundup: Introducing

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, October 7 2011

  • Czech Republic | Introducing
    Open data babysteps in the Czech Republic: a group of academics institutions are contributing to the creation of "It is a state of mind," says Jindřich Mynarz (National Technical Library, Prague), explaining the state of the art on the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.

    The aim of the newly-born group is to build a transparent data infrastructure of the Czech public sector.

    Their work is focused mostly on linked open data but will extend to all aspects:

    The pilot activity of focuses on publishing public contracts data openly on the Web. This includes a bundle of related outcomes. To reach the desired level of data openness in this domain, has started to develop Public Contracts Ontology to establish a well-defined data formalization, which is accompanied by a set of recipes for publishing public procurement notices in RDFa, and simple tool for choosing a proper code from Common Procurement Vocabulary.

    One of the important aspects of is the collaboration with similar organizations: the group is working with the Open Knowledge Foundation in Czech Republic, and the European project LOD2. It will be also part of the Open Government Data Camp happening this month in Warsaw.

  • The Netherlands | The Dutch Government is Freeing Geo Data
    On October 4th Maxime Verhagen, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, announced the creation of a national database of satellite images that will be available to the public and entrepreneurs.
    In a sector like agriculture data from satellites can help farmers to save water and pesticides, declared Minister Verhagen in the press release. Providing free access is also meant to stimulate new economic activity: "We can more often provide data freely. With that data smart entrepreneurs can create new markets and boost the economy." argued the Minister.

    The database will be integrated with other geo data provided by the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment, starting January 1st, 2012. At the moment access to those sets of data costs 50,000 Euros.

    The whole database is expected to be completed by 2015 and will cost about 4 million euros.

  • Italy | ...and Italian Citizens Are Trying As Well
    Geo data's importance is being discussed also in Italy: there the initiative of freeing geographical data doesn't come from the government, though, but from a citizens' nonprofit-organization, OpenGeoData Italy.
    Here's the founding statement from the association:

    The Association was founded with the goal of freeing the geographical data of the Public Administration (PA) in order to allow all the re-use.

    Members believe in the value of these data and the strong commitment of the PA, even in terms of economic resources, to make good quality and up to date. A role, that of the PA, which is fundamental and necessary for proper management and planning. But these geographic data are also useful to other agencies, organizations and individuals, and can compete, if made readily available to grow the economy of our country thanks to the added value that these individuals can generate. 

    OpenGeoData will cooperate with other existing organizations and will try to put pressure on the Public Administration to work on the issue.
    And more interesting news is expected from the Italian open data scene...

    (via Ernesto Belisario)