More than 110 cities around the world will take part in local hackathons, workshops and discussions on using open data to serve their communities on international Open Data Day.
The event - which will be held tomorrow in Australia - is a chance for developers, designers, statisticians, librarians, open data advocates and everyday citizens to engage in open data by either developing applications, analysing and visualising data, making it more accessible or encouraging governments to adopt open data policies.
Code for Australia will hold workshops in Sydney to commemorate Open Data Day, coinciding with with Code for America's CodeAcross. The theme is 'Principles of a 21st Century Government'.
“We are really trying to understand what the problems are so that when we do launch a couple of hacks later in the year we can really refine the products that come out of the hackathons. So they will be much more tailored to what problems currently exist,” said Jacob Lindsay from Code for Australia.
“To really get to that 21st century democracy, open data is that access point and creates that transparency.”
Australia's Regional Open Data Census, which measures the openness of key data published by state and territory governments, will also participate in the global event. It is looking for people to help contribute to the establishment of an open data index for Australian States and Territories by assessing datasets.
"The community might not know it but they are probably already using open data when they plan their public transport journeys or look up traffic information using mobile apps. Open data is also used in disaster situations to keep the community and responders informed," said a spokesperson from Australia's Regional Open Data Census.
"Open data helps researchers provide new insights, businesses offer enhanced products, and the community make informed choices."
Link Digital, which supports data.gov.au, will release a PHP and a .NET CKAN SDK on GitHub for testing, feedback and further development.
Open Knowledge Foundation Australia is also supporting the event.
Open government activist and public policy entrepreneur, David Eaves, who helped form the idea of international Open Data Day and hackathon, reflected on his experience last year with the event in Ottawa, US.
“We organised tables in a circle (like a donut) and then had the officials sit inside the circle facing outwards. In groups of four to five, Open Data Day participants would ask them questions about their data, what they had, what they did with it, why they collected it.
“The outcome was public officials had a much better sense of why people wanted their data (as well as new ideas about how they might use it) and participants had a better sense of what data government had, as well as the challenges around making some of it open,” he wrote.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.