Category Archives: opendata

Notes from OpenData Ljubljana Meetup

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Sometimes people look back at certain points in time and say – we were too early. When we started doing work on OpenData in Slovenia in 2010, there was interest but no critical mess yet (just a handful of people showed up for meetup).

But this time, it went much better. ~25 people showed up, despite not having a clear agenda – just a topic of OpenData. Many years of efforts of different individuals and organisations worked!

What we learned:

  • Slovenian Ministry of Public Information is continuing their efforts on NIO Portal and they’re developing now solutions and policies related to Open Data. There were more personal discussions on how we can help them with these efforts.
  • There were other people present from different Ministries and Government Services that were all championing Open Data within their institutions.
  • Developers are using different Open Data tools and projects within their institutions. They promised to keep us updated, once they’re ready to release it to public.
  • Journalists are still trying to figure out how to position Data Journalism/Visualisations within the failing Newspaper industry in Slovenia.
  • http://danesjenovdan.si/ are working on much better version of http://www.delajozate.si/
  • ARSO (Slovenian Weather Agency) has a Data Portal: http://gis.arso.gov.si/geoportal/catalog/main/home.page

Given the big amount of interest, I’ll try to organise another event in the fall, with talks and a bit more structure.

Special thanks to Podcrto, FMF and everyone that shared the news and attended.

(Photo by Crt Ahlin).

Photo by Marc Blickle

Slovenian Supervizor data in Python Pandas

A few years after starting to work with Open Data, I’m still amazed by Python Pandas. I’m still very much a novice, I’ve got enough experience that I’m dangerous. I also don’t get enough opportunities to work it.

So when Nino invited me to do a workshop about Pandas at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Ljubljana, I took the chance to dive back in. So many people applied that we had to do it twice.

The first time, we used the Matura dataset, that I used for my previous talk on Pandas in Kiberpipa. It turns out it’s a rather bad dataset to show off potential of framework to novice users.

So the second time, I rewrote it to use Supervizor data. It worked much better and I got to explore new dataset. I’ve published resulting iPython Notebook on Github and also embedded below:

PSI Directive (Directive on the re-use of public sector information)

Today I had a chance to visit LAPSI 2.0 project conference (The European Thematic Network on Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information). Wikipedia has a good definition of the directive:

Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information, otherwise known as the PSI Directive[2][3] is an EU directive that encourages EU member states to make as much public sector information available for re-use as possible.

Speakers dealt mostly with EU level policy discussion either on specifics of the directive or issues in this area in member states specifically. What follows is a few of my notes that I hope will help me remember things from the event in 2 years time. I haven’t read the directive yet and since I’m not a lawyer my conclusions are probably wrong.

Getting the data

Historically speaking, Slovenia has had one of the most progressive Freedom of Information Act’s, coupled with very proactive Office of Information Commissioner. This meant that filing an FOIA request to PSB (public sector body) was often the most efficient way to get access to data that they gather or produce.

While this works fairly well for some parts, it still has its own limits. PSI solves that by further encouraging PSB’s to make data and information openly available. It further makes it harder to charge and limit access by requiring institutions to explain why access is limited, together with business and cost calculations.

I can’t find the source in published texts, but part of the discussion also revolved about this applying to Libraries and Cultural Works. This will present both a challenge for existing archives as well as opportunities for new ways to disseminate this content.

What’s the point?

Economy. There is a huge body of work and case studies that show that once you open up this data to greater public it provides exponential return on investment through new services and uses for it. The less limits, the more potential can be realised.

For me, it’s often hard to see use for a lot of the data that we find online or it would require distortional development investment to make it useful. On the other hand, most of this data and content was already paid using public money, so EU is betting that just opening everything will have huge economic impact.

When?

“Soon”. The way I understood is that we’ll see implementations into local EU member states sometime in 2015. But because of the direction and the work going in this area it should be possible to already use arguments and approaches within existing laws and individual agreements with institutions.

Additional Resources