1. Taking Open Data into the University and Taking Students into the World

    It’s probably still fairly rare for Computer Science undergraduates to work on projects involving Open Data. At the University of Edinburgh, we recently ran a 5-day hackathon for students for the second year running. We encouraged outside organisations such as City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government statisticians office and Scottish Parliament to offer their data, to suggest ways in which it might be used, to provide mentoring and to provide prizes. This year, we had 16 teams build projects and many of them not only won prizes but also continued to engage with the data holders after the end of the hackathon. One of the most successful examples of this involved a couple of projects that explored the content of speeches by Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The two teams demoed their projects to Marco Biagi, the MSP for Central Edinburgh - he was extremely positive in his response - and we also had a great session in Scottish Parliament itself, where the students presented their work, discussed the technologies they used and explored issues around Open Data with members of the information service and IT groups.

    You can read more about the student data hackathon at http://scot.okfn.org/2014/02/19/live-in-fragments-no-longer/ and about the MSP Involvement project at http://scot.okfn.org/2014/04/03/march-2014-meet-up-at-edinburgh-napier-university/.

    @okfnscot | @ewanhklein

    #opendata #hackathon #students


  2. Sports Hackdays: Ready, Set, Go!

    Sport is fun, sport is healthy, sport is a business – and sport is increasingly data, too. So let’s open that data, and see it used and useful. And let’s do that together: this is a topic that touches so many people, and it touches them in a much different way than budgets or train schedules. There’s so much passion in this. Let’s work with that!

    Here are the basics: 

    23-24 May - starting on Friday morning, continuing on Saturday and closing with the Champions League finale Saturday night :)

    This is a great topic to get all sorts of people involved. Designers, developers, journalists, athletes, scientists, anybody who likes to run, ride a bike or watch sports on the telly. So pretty much everybody.

    * Basel (organized by OKF-CH) -> opendata.ch/sports-hackdays
    * Sierre (organized by OKF-CH) -> fr.opendata.ch/sports-hackdays
    * Milan (organized by tuxtax.it and OKF-IT)
    * Your city! London, Madrid, Paris, Munich, Tokyo… join in to make it happen! 

    We’ll work with the OKFN Hackathon Manual (http://goo.gl/W2sr2) and extend it to cover coordination between venues (we have lots of experience with that in Switzerland, as we’re doing all our hackdays in the German and French parts of the country, in parallel).
    We’re collecting data on datahub.io/organization/sport, and we’re negotiating with a range of data owners about experiments in opening up data. And then of course there’s huge amounts of data collected by fans, on global spectator sport and local junior leagues, on big matches and tiny niches. Plus there’s more and more personal data, too: bike routes, running trails, etc. pp. What a playing field!

    And then?
    This will be the start of sport.okfn.org, a new working group for all open knowledge on sports, so this is but the beginning of something big (if there’s enough interest :)). And then of course the Open Knowledge Festival is coming up soon, what better place could there be to show everybody what got built and come up with a game plan for our next steps! 



  3. Winners of the First Apps4Greece Competition in Thessaloniki

    The contest “Apps for Thessaloniki” Apps4Greece was very successful. It was conducted for the first time in Greece on April 3, at the town hall, in the room of the Municipal Council in Thessaloniki, and awards were presented for outstanding web and mobile phone applications.

    The participants impressed the jury and the citizens of Thessaloniki with the solutions they proposed for some of the basic problems which the residents and visitors of the city face daily.

    The awards ceremony opened with greetings from the mayor of Thessaloniki Mr. Giannis Boutaris, the Deputy Mayor for Finance, Entrepreneurship and Employment Mr. Chasdai Capon, Mr. Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos, by the Research Unit AUTH URENIO and Mr. Charalambos Bratsas, the President of the Open Knowledge Foundation of Greece (OKFN Greece).

    The announcement of the winners of the competition was made by Mr. Panagiotis Bamidis, Assistant Professor, AUTH, Member OKFN Greece and Advisory Board OKFN and Member of the Jury of the competition.

    The first nine winning applications are the following:

    1. PRISMA (Innovative Implication of Electronic Governance)
    2. THESS-Ramp
    3. ViThess
    4. Active Citizens
    5. CarMate
    6. Time Travel in Thessaloniki
    7. Mobility Sense
    8. Ether
    9. Points of Interest

    Video of all 9 apps

     The National Bank of Greece awarded the first application of the contest with the amount of 3.000 €, the companies Neuropublic and OTS, the 2nd and 3rd prizes, correspondingly, with the same amount. The companies Upstream Systems and Wind sponsored the  4th and 5th applications  with awards of  2000 €, and Terra  Company awarded the 6th application with a tablet. MLS awarded the 7th, 8th and 9th winning applications, also with tablets.

    According to the response to the contest, it is clear that people are willing to offer their ideas and work to improve their city They want to live in a place where there will be open data from the relevant bodies, and to create applications that will improve the function of the city, providing, residents, visitors and businesses with new, innovative services in order to promote the development of entrepreneurship and innovation.


  4. Hack4Malta Open Data Hackathon

    The Department of Intelligent Computer Systems within the Faculty of Information & Communication Technology (ICT), at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Maltese Local Councils’ Association, and supported by the HOMER  Med Program project, has embarked on an initiative to promote the area of Open Data.

    The Hack4Malta event revolved around the idea of an Open Data hackathon and was held on Saturday 29th of March. The scope behind this event was to increase awareness about the area of Open Data and more importantly to bring together IT students and developers, but also other individuals from other professions, and motivate them to use Open Data to drive their innovative ideas and encourage them to create a start-up. A mini-open data portal was set up at www.opendatamalta.com whereby a small number of new datasets were made available for use. We’ve also set up a Facebook page related to the events.

    This idea behind Hack4Malta was motivated by the huge economic potential behind the themes of innovation, Open Data and the app economy. Hack4Malta managed to integrate effectively these three important components together to provide added value.

    Our Hack4Malta kicked off at 8:00am and five teams participated.  Each team worked on their ideas during the day and were supported by a number of mentors, from the IT and entrepreneurship professions, to refine and polish these ideas. In the afternoon, each team had to present their idea to a panel of esteemed judges who awarded the winning ideas based on a set of criteria that included: the innovative element behind the idea, the effective use of Open Data, the usefulness behind the idea, the communication skills of the participants and of course the produced prototype or mock-up.

    The first prize was won by the team TravelMate, composed from Nigel Grech, Emmanuel Buttigieg and Matthias Pace from the University of Malta. The prize included a fully-paid trip to Turin to participate in HOMER’s annual general meeting together with a €530 voucher from Recruitcoders and tickets for each team member to participate in the 2nd edition of Malta’s Startup Weekend. The winning team will have the opportunity to present their application in front of all of HOMER’s partners and to compete with other winners of HOMER’S Hack4Med Open Data hackathon which will be held later on in May.

    The 2nd runner-up was Tripster, composed of Shaun Caruana, Stephen Compagno, Enrico Aquilina and Derrick Agius, from the Institute of ICT, MCAST. Their prize included a Nokia 625 mobile phone, donated by Microsoft Malta while the 3rd runner-up was the team CODe, composed of Jurgen Cassar, Daniel Desira and Christian Bonanno from the Faculty of ICT, and won a €300 voucher donated by the Institute of Computer Education.

    All participants were given a certificate of participation.

    Through initiatives like Hack4Malta, we want to be able to promote Malta as a natural hub for startups whose model is driven by Open Data.


  5. OKFN Sweden Supports Open Data Contest

    Open Knowledge Foundation’s Sweden team is proud to support eGovlab’s  “Apps4eGov Innovation Challenge” with the aim to innovate public service with use of Open Data. The contest is open for all students. Three finalists of the competition will be selected and will be offered an internship at the eGovlab in order to develop the app with the guidance of experienced developers and the institutional support of the lab.

    Apps4egov Innovation Challenge consists of the following two phases (the Contest Period):

    • The first phase of the Contest begins at 10:00 a.m. CET on April 6th, 2014 and closes at 10:00 a.m. CET on May 31st, 2014  (the “Submission Period”); and
    • The second phase of the Contest begins at 10:00 a.m. CET on May 31st, 2014 and closes at 17:00 p.m. CET on June30th, 2014, (the “Selection Period”).

    We don’t care where contestants come from, as long as they are at least 16 years of age at the time of entry. What matters is that the idea is anchored on a local level: it must be implementable in Sweden”, Gudrun Paulsdottir explains.

    If you have further questions please contact:

    Competition Project Manager: Serdar Temiz  serdar@okfn.se
    Egovlab Project Manager: Gudrun Paulsdottir : gpaul@dsv.su.se
    Technical Questions: apps4egov@egovlab.eu


  6. OKF Meet Up Athens Highlights

    With remarkably high participation, the scheduled meeting on the implementation and use of open data on the transparency and entrepreneurship, implemented at the initiative of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) was held.

    The public responded with enthusiasm at the meeting held on March 18, 2014 at a hotel in Athens with participants of OKFN, OKF Greece, university professors, academic researchers, entrepreneurs, students, and other stakeholders.

    The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the importance of open data and the role they can play in development of economy and entrepreneurship, as well as in the improvement of quality of life. Moreover, it was a perfect introduction for the two-day conference of the European Forum data for 2014 (EDF2014) that followed.

    During the meeting, speakers with particular experience and expertise in the field of open data spoke on these topics:

    • How data are “open”, Mr.Sander van der Waal, Projects Director, The Open Knowledge Foundation
    • The “Open Knowledge” in Greece, Mr Charalampos Mpratsas, President of Open Knowledge Foundation Greece, Professor in “Web Science”, Aristotle University.
    • The possibilities and benefits of Open Linked Data, Prof. Soeren Auer, Institute for Applied Computer Science at University of Bonn and Fraunhofer, Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS), OKFN Advisory
    • Local- Global data on Transport, Pieter Colpaert, OKF Belgium, Multimedia lab – UGent – iMinds
    • The role of “large” open data (Big Open Data) and learning techniques in the field of education in health sciences, Panos Bamidis, Professor at the Aristotle University, a board member of the OKF Greece
    • Open Data in management of natural disasters, Mr Basil Veskoukis, Professor at the National Technical University, a board member of the OKF Greece

    During the meeting, a constructive discussion on the prospects and usefulness of open data was developed, while concerns were raised about the evaluation of open data, both on a technical level and in terms of reliability.

    The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF), as part of its activities, implements periodically similar meetings and conferences seeking dissemination and use of open data, with a view to creating conditions for cooperation and producing knowledge.

    Basically, it is a global community, with leadership in Open Knowledge and Open Data and has extensive experience in manufacturing software using Open Data, realizing the full potential of useful and innovative applications.

    You can get in touch and get to know the OKFN Greece and its various actions, at the following official accounts:

    Facebook: OKFN Greece

    Twitter: @okfngr

    E-mail: info@okfn.gr


  7. 1st Greek Data Expedition

    Data journalism and knowledge mining are considered a very promising sector both for the science of journalism as well for Web science. As a pioneer in knowledge creation and knowledge mining, Open Knowledge Foundation and the European Center for Journalism have together published the Data Journalism Handbook. The Open Knowledge Foundation Charter in Greece, the IT Applications Laboratory in Media of the Department of Journalism of AUTH, and the post graduate course in Web science of the Department of Mathematics of AUTH have published above Data Journalism Handbook in Greek (http://data-journalism.okfn.gr/handbook/).

    As a side effect of the above effort, the three involved Greek parties agreed to support and implement actual exercises of data journalism. The participating post graduate students from both of the schools will cooperate targeting to identify data to analyse, visualise, and create media briefings.

    In this framework the following two (2) workshops will take place:

    1. Thursday 3/4/2014: Data analysis and setting the exercises targets (16:00 -17:00) in the P/C Lab of the Department of Mathematics.

    2. Thursday 07/05/2014: Final presentation of the exercises and the media briefings (16:00 – 18:00) in the open collaboration space of Coho.

    Data expedition workshops tasks:

    The students will look for open data. During the first workshop four (4) working teams will be created, and a preliminary data analysis will be performed and the teams will set the targets of their exercises (which are the questions that will be answered by the research; what extra data might be required; what kind of statistical analysis is required; and what type of visualizations might be used for the media briefing).

    The teams must be in contact so that data reportage can be created.

    In each team participating will consist of four (4) undergraduate students from WebScience MSc of Mathematics School and two (2) post graduates from Journalism and New Media MSc of Journalism Department. 


  8. Coding da Vinci - The First 10 Week Challenge on Open Cultural Data in Germany

    More and more museums, libraries, galleries and archives are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana - among which over 4,5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

    With the contribution of open data and content, cultural institutions provide tools for the doers and thinkers of today, thus cultural heritage is not only to be admired, but through their use more cultural and economic value can be added.

    Coding da Vinci, the first German open cultural data hackathon will take place in Berlin to bring together both cultural heritage institutions and the hacker & designer community to develop ideas and prototypes for the cultural sector and the public. Coding da Vinci is a 10-week challenge running from the 26th of April until the 06th of July following the motto Let them play with your toys!” (Jo Pugh, National Archives UK). All projects will be presented online, and the best hacks will be awarded at the end of the hackathon.

    The participating GLAMs delivered a wide range of data, for example, urban images (incl. metadata) of Berlin in the 18th and 19th century, scans of shadow boxes that contain insects, and Jewish address-books from the 1930s in Germany. In addition, the German Digital Library will provide its API to the participants of the hackathon.

    For a limited number of participants, we cover travel and accommodation expenses - all you have to do is to apply now!

    All prices, challenges and datasets will soon be presented online.

    This hackathon is organized by:

    German Digital Library, Service Centre Digitization Berlin, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany,Wikimedia Germany

    Contact us, if you have any questions: Helene Hahn, Project Lead, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, helene.hahn (at) okfn.org


  9. OKF France Holds Its Annual General Assembly on April 12th

    All members of OKF France are invited for a day-long meeting in which a new board of the association will be elected. Held at NUMA, Paris digital hub, the event will be an occasion to discuss the advancements of the many projects of the associations.

    More info: http://events.numaparis.com/Evenements/Assemblee-Generale-Annuelle-de-l-Open-Knowledge-Foundation-France


  10. OpenMENA Inaugural Newsletter Is Live :-)

    OpenMENA launched just before Open Data Day 2014. Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, OpenMENA aims to promote open knowledge in all its flavours in the Arab World. The website, the mailing-list and the Twitter account are in three languages (Arabic, English, French), as we wish to embrace the diversity of the MENA region.

    We have just launched our inaugural newsletter. You can either subscribe through the OpenMENA website or read it online.