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The Europe Roundup: A Good Week For Open Data

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, September 16 2011

  • Germany | Berlin Data Portal

    Earlier this week the German state of Berlin launched a data portal, the first of its kind in Germany. Ulrich Freise, Secretary of State for Home Affairs, sees the portal is an "open base for administrative action."
    The portal contains 18 datasets about government, culture, tourism, environment and the economy.

    The website also shows examples of possible application and re-use of the data. There is also a section where citizens are invited to join the discussion on the next steps.
    The creation of the portal is the result of many steps of an interested community: one of them is the Berlin Open Data Day that took place last May and produced an Open Data Agenda that served as a guideline for the release of the public data.

    There are issues that the creators of the portal will need to work on: part of the data is not machine-readable, nor released under a Creative Commons license, complains German developer Stefan Wehr Meyer.
    Open data advocates are aware of the importance of the moment and that further steps are required: "The launch of the portal is an important milestone for a transparent government,"says Anke Domscheit-Berg, a member of the Berlin Open Data Platform for Action, "the biggest challenge in the coming months will be to obtain  to pass their data into the desired shape for the Open Data Portal. The future rulers of Bürgermsteister Berlin should make the issue a top priority."
    [Anke Domscheit-Berg is the wife of Daniel Domscheit-Berg, former Wikileaks spokeperson and Openleaks founder]

  • The Netherlands | Two New Open Data Steps
    It looks like a good week for open data
    At the yearly PICNIC conference and festival the Dutch government announced two new steps towards opening more government data for re-use: a national government data portal and an Apps competition
    At Epsi Platform Ton Zijlstra reports on the joint launch by the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Economic Affairs:

    The major announcements were:
    - the launch of the next release of the Dutch national government data portal, data.overheid.nl. This portal was already available in beta since January of this year, and now its functionality has been more thoroughly integrated with other government platforms, while also providing ways to provide feedback and showcasing examples.
    - the launch of AppsvoorNederland, a nation wide app building competition. This competition is an initiative by the two mentioned Ministries and the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science.
    The AppsvoorNederland (apps for the Netherlands) competition was launched by a high ranking official of the Ministry for Economic Affairs while the renewed national data portal was formally launched by the Minister for Interior Affairs Donner in a video message to the PICNIC conference participants. 

    Minister Donner personally gave the announce with a video (here you can find the transcript) that engaged with the public and amused the audience.


    Opening Open Data platform door minister Donner from Waag Society on Vimeo.

    Donner commited himself to "make sure to implement a truly effective national open data policy, in which the open data portal will be the point of acces to all government information in a simple, fast and (sometimes nearly) free way."

  • France | A Senate Election Data in Open Formats
    Before the important "appointment" of next year, France has another election to face: the Senate will have  to fill 170 seats next September 25th.
    The vote has several steps: in June local councils elected their delegates who voted  from September 5th to 16th. For the first time, though, the Senate decided to publish the results of the vote in open formats.
    From next Monday the website will list the candidates and on September 25th the results will be presented in real time. The data will include "lists of members by district, age, gender, socio-professional categories and electoral mandates," says the Senate.
    Data will be available in XML format and the form of XLS files and their re-use will be free.

    The French government is working on a national open data portal that will be launched by the end of the year.