Inculcating better open data to seed civil society

Dc3da55915948e85e33d752219946d5b?s=47 Vito Chin
February 17, 2014

Inculcating better open data to seed civil society

A brief overview of open data and why we should have more of it


Vito Chin

February 17, 2014


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    What is Open Data? “A piece of data or content

    is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.”
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    Web Standards •  Recommendations published by the World Wide Web

    Consortium (W3C) •  Internet standard (STD) documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) •  Request for Comments (RFC) documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force •  Standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) •  Standards published by Ecma International (formerly ECMA) •  The Unicode Standard and various Unicode Technical Reports (UTRs) published by the Unicode Consortium •  Name and number registries maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
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    Tim Berners Lee’s Five Stars of Openness ★   Available

     on  the  web  (whatever  format)  but  with  an  open  licence,  to   be  Open  Data     ★★   Available  as  machine-­‐readable  structured  data  (e.g.  excel  instead  of   image  scan  of  a  table)     ★★★   Available  as  (2)  plus  non-­‐proprietary  format  (e.g.  CSV  instead  of   excel)     ★★★★   All  the  above  plus,  Use  open  standards  from  W3C  (RDF  and  SPARQL)   to  idenLfy  things,  so  that  people  can  point  at  your  stuff     ★★★★★   All  the  above,  plus:  Link  your  data  to  other  people’s  data  to  provide   context    
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    Open License •  Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and

    Licence (PDDL) •  Open Data Commons Attribution License •  Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) •  Creative Commons CCZero
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    •  No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups •  No Discrimination

    Against Fields of Endeavor •  Commercial use should also be allowed
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    Civil Society “Civil society, properly understood, is the realm of

    voluntary associations—institutions established by citizens with an objective other than private profit. These can range from schools to clubs dedicated to the full range of human activities, from acrobatics to zoology, by way of beach clearing. . . “ Nialls Ferguson
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    In the context of Open Data •  Helps in the

    formation of technological “voluntary associations—institutions established by citizens” •  The gathering of data-scientists and developers within such associations-institutions will need to be fed by these real open data. •  Associations will form for the purpose of improvement on whatever aspects the (big) data represents. •  Not necessarily on-line only but can be traditional communities as well.
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    Initiatives Observation of the behavioural patterns of taxis in Singapore

    made by Yin Shanyang at the first UP Singapore. Made from geocoded taxi data over a 24 hour period on the 15th of May 2012 made available by public and private organisations at UPsingapore.
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    Initiatives Visualizes human traffic at Raffles Place, Singapore. Made by

    Fung KwokPan and Vito Chin. Made to suggest best location to place docks for shared bicycles.
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    Initiatives MIT senseable city lab, the SMART and a host

    of other collaboraters created a LIVE Singapore! exhibition based on data of urban activities. The exhibition highlights the informational and artistic possibilities that may be possible if such data is available openly.
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    Initatives The Atlas of the lagoon, a shared project between

    The municipality of Venice, ISMAR-CNR, CORILA, The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (Venice Water Authority) and The Veneto Region (the Regional Secretariat for Infrastructure - GIS and Cartography). Shows the level of tide and currents inside the lagoon in Venice
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    Initiatives Public spending data in the UK on, made

    by It is possible to drill down to details if you want to. You can even create your own spending visualisation with data (contains open spending data from a growing list of countries) with the Assembly Kit.
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    Initiatives Citymapper London uses open data from Transport for London

    and other sources to create a loved and preferred transport app among Londoners. Open data allows anyone to create such an app, competition spurs innovation.
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    CKAN CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) is an open source

    data management system that can be used by companies and governments as a tool to help organise and manage their open data offering. Used by various government data catalogue such as and
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    R R is a language and environment for statistical computing

    and graphics. It comes with an integrated data storage and handling facility. It can be extended via packages that are mostly available on CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network).
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    Processing Processing is a programming environment where visualisations of data

    (or otherwise) can be created quickly via use of its comprehensive Processing Language (API).
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    D3 D3 is a Javascript library that lets you express

    data visually within a web browser. D3 supports many kinds of transformations and transitions.
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    Credits •  Font: CoreHumanistSans •  Singapore Taxi Behaviour: Yin Shanyang

    of STUDIO SWARM ( •  Human Traffic: Fung Kwok Pan & Vito Chin •  Tools of the trade images from their respective websites •  LIVE Singapore!: MIT senseable city lab ( livesingapore/ ) •  Bubble Tree Diagram showing UK government sendings: http:// •  Citymapper screenshot:
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    Image Sources •  Transport: jonasginter’s flickr stream •  Environment: j.a.holland’s

    flickr stream •  Geography: hanneorla's flickr stream •  Health: karimian's flickr stream •  Financial: yuan2003's flickr stream •  Science: tk-link's flickr stream •  Government: Richard Cock's flickr stream