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Opening government data - the reuse community

Submitted on Wednesday, 06th August - 6.58.

The demand that government should publish the data that it collects and generates in the course of its work comes from a number of sources. Transparency advocates see open Public Sector Information as a key plank of open government. Researchers in numerous fields can find uses for government data and there’s no doubt that improving the availability of data can increase efficiency within government by reducing duplication in information collection. Open data advocates also argue that there is a broader community with interest in this data and that benefits will flow from making it available to them. It may seem like an article of faith that this community exists but the experience of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Victoria is that it is very real.

In December 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation and VicRoads held a meetup, which brought together government data custodians with over fifty data enthusiasts. A diverse group with interests including mapping, urban planning and transport safety came along to learn more about the data that is available and make suggestions about the data they’d like to see released. The evening generated a lot of enthusiasm, but the goal of data publication is not just interest, but reuse.

GovHack is a national hackathon that took place in eleven sites around the country between 11 and 13 July 2014. Over the weekend, teams worked with a huge range of data from local, state and federal government to create interactive tools, visualisations and pieces of data journalism. Some hacks make data more accessible or engaging, other hacks tackled specific challenges posed by the data providers, such as creating a dashboard of essential information for exploring Melbourne or helping people with accessibility needs navigate the city.

Helping these projects to have a life beyond the weekend is a further challenge, but GovHack organisers hope that as the community matures more teams will be able to work with data owners to bring these projects into a useable form. Even if the teams that created the hacks don’t want to keep working on the project, the fact that all entries must be open source means that others are free to develop a promising idea.

An event like GovHack generates a huge number of ideas, from the serious to the playful, in a short space of time. It also serves a broader purpose in increasing awareness of and interest in government data in the maker community and increasing understanding between data owners and consumers. Ultimately, building a collaborative relationship between government data custodians and the reuse community will help generate creative solutions to problems and give government data a life beyond the collecting agency.

Photo by Jordan Wilson Otto

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GovHack 2014

Submitted on Friday, 11th July - 16.10.

We anticipate some very interesting outcomes.

#GovHack #melbourne #ballarat

GovHack (see www.govhack.org).is a national non-profit event that brings together 1300+ participants to collaborate on and experiment with (‘hack’) government data and new technologies and to conceive innovative and new applications for that data.

In Victoria, at sites in Melbourne and Ballarat, over 200 hackers will compete for State and National prizes.

The Victorian Government is a Principal sponsor and has partnered with the City of Melbourne and organisers, the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Data.vic is delighted to support GovHack 2014 with the release of brand new data including;

-        building permit data; (ie. seven years, >100,000 permits per year, and in bulk, comprising over 22 million data elements)

-        Victoria’s waterways data; (spatial boundaries, images, rules, zones and allowed use)

-        crashstats, speed zone and speed sign datasets.

Done well, hacks provide an opportunity to work with government data and create new innovation and ideation.

Doing well means maximising hackers knowledge of available data as well as building enthusiam and insights for its potential use. At a meet-up last month this and other Victorian data was showcased to registered GovHackers.

We anticipate some very interesting outcomes.

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Google Glass uses Melbourne Transport Timetable data

Submitted on Wednesday, 02nd April - 16.10.


I also note this news last week about more transport data with the announcement of the contractor for the PTV's new bus tracking system due to be delivered by June 2014. The Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder clearly stated his intentions to provide open access to the bus data.

Following the release of VictorianTransport Timetable data last month, there has been some interesting activity by innovators.

To update and add to the stats of last month's post about  Victorian Timetable data I am delighted to see the enthusiasm and innovation applied.

For example one Melbourne developer has taken the next step by creating a transport app for Google Glass.
A voice controlled app which tracks the wearer's location and when instructed shows which transport options are available to them. This is taking available technology to another level.

I'm on the look-out for more, so let me know about what you're building.

And, to update, since the release of the API data record there has been:

  • 4693 data record page views
  • more than 920 downloads of the API document, and
  • close to 119 API key requests


I also note this news last week about more transport data with the announcement of the contractor for the PTV's new bus tracking system due to be delivered by June 2014. The Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder clearly stated his intentions to provide open access to the bus data.

 

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Transport – PTV Timetable API Release Sets New High

Submitted on Friday, 14th March - 15.10.

Information updates will be posted on Data.Vic as and when they are received. 

The recent release of the PTV Timetable API has, not surprisingly, created the highest level of interest and activity for a single data release on Data.Vic.

In the 7 days since the release of the API data record we have seen:

  • Over 3500 data record page views
  • More than 700 downloads of the API document, and
  • Close to 100 API key requests

The popularity and power of transport data across the globe is indisputable. The Data.Vic site analytics for the PTV API prove that Victoria is no exception. Transport data, and the third party apps built from it, is the most effective and practical example of government data re-use.

It has been interesting to see the reaction to the release of the API in the flurry of conversations and comments on both Data.Vic and across social media. The general sentiment has been positive and welcoming of the release. There has been some discussion over options, including GTFS, and requests for database dumps. All comments and suggestions received are passed onto PTV for review.

PTV advise that other popular formats will follow. This initial release of timetable data via the PTV API allows for content to be created, updated and automatically released across multiple channels and complies with the Governments DataVic Access policy. The API file format is recognised globally as being the best format for releasing timetable data as it changes. PTV has advised that a major upgrade to their timetable management platform is underway to improve efficiencies and data administration. This will result in other data delivery options being made available, including GTFS.

Information updates will be posted on Data.Vic as and when they are received. 

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PTV Timetable API now available

Submitted on Friday, 07th March - 15.10.

Feedback is encouraged, so please feel free to make comments on the service.

The PTV Timetable API has been created to give the public direct access to Public Transport Victoria’s public transport timetable data. It is designed so that the raw timetable data is accessed in a dynamic way, ensuring that the data accessed is always the most up to date PTV has.

The API allows developers to query locations for scheduled timetable, line and stop data for all metropolitan and regional train, tram and bus services in Victoria (including NightRider). It also includes access to myki ticket outlet data. The PTV timetable API is the same API currently used by PTV for its website and smartphone apps.

Access to the API is available now from the data.vic

Feedback is encouraged, so please feel free to make comments on the service.

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Data Vic competition presents unlimited opportunities for innovative use of data

Submitted on Wednesday, 12th February - 15.10.

The Data Vic Competition is now open for registration and will close on 28 February 2014. The winners will be announced at the Connect Expo on 14 March 2014.

Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips is encouraging members of industry, academia, government and the general public to get creative in the Data Vic Competition by using data housed on www.data.vic.gov.au 

The competition, an initiative between the Victorian Government and Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA), offers four prizes of $2,500, along with the opportunity to consult with the Victorian Government to further develop the winning projects and benefit from mentorship with members of SIBA.

Mr Rich-Phillips said this is a great opportunity for the Victorian community to discover more about www.data.vic.gov.au

“Data.vic.gov.au presents a wealth of opportunities to access government data and turn it into innovation, which will benefit Victorians and the broader community,” Mr Rich Phillips said.

“The competition also provides opportunities for other datasets not currently available through the Data.Vic directory to be discovered. The possibilities are endless.”

The competition aims to encourage users, creatives and visionaries to interact with, and gain a better understanding of, the untapped potential of the data.

The winning entries will showcase how government data can be used to serve a market need, or address industrial, environmental or community issues.
“This provides a great opportunity to discover new datasets and to work together to create both traditional and non-traditional applications for wider use and for the benefit of the Victorian public,” Mr Rich Phillips said.

The Data Vic Competition is now open for registration and will close on 28 February 2014. The winners will be announced at the Connect Expo on 14 March 2014.

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Open Data Barometer Report

Submitted on Wednesday, 06th November - 15.10.

http://www.opendataresearch.org/content/2013/539/press-release-open-data-barometer

The Open Data Barometer takes a multidimensional look at the spread of Open Government Data (OGD) policy and practice across the world. Combining peer-reviewed expert survey data and secondary data sources, the Barometer explores countries readiness to secure benefits from open data, the publication of key datasets, and evidence of emerging impacts from OGD.

The Barometer is a joint project of the Open Data Institute and World Wide Web Foundation, and forms part of the ongoing work to develop common assessment methods for open data within the Exploring the Emerging Impact of Open Data in Developing Countries project.

http://www.opendataresearch.org/content/2013/539/press-release-open-data-barometer

 

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Data.Vic website redevelopment - Expressions of Interest (EOI)

Submitted on Monday, 28th October - 15.10.

Expected release date is prior to end of October 2013. This will be followed one week later by an industry briefing in Melbourne. Minutes of that briefing will be provided to interested parties that are unable to attend.

The Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (DSDBI) will soon be calling for expressions of interest to provide the necessary services for the re-development of the Victorian Government’s Data Directory, data.vic.gov.au (Data.Vic).

Data.Vic was developed in response to the 2009 parliamentary inquiry into improving access to Victorian Public Sector Information and data.

In August 2012, the Victorian Government endorsed the DataVic Access Policy. The Policy provides direction on the release, licensing and management of Victorian Government data. The policy also includes a number of requirements of Data.Vic that the service does not currently provide. 

The purpose of the EOI process is to identify and assess the ability of Registrants responding to the invitation to provide the services and works required by DSDBI.

The project will build on the policy commitment to provide greater access to Victorian Government generated and owned data to promote the use and re-use of data to support research, innovation and evidence based decision making. The policy/project also encourages the movement to co-production of public services, facilitating the market to develop new and innovative products and services.

The EOI will outline the major deliverables, including:

· Deliver a re-development of the public facing site

· Delivery of an integrated information asset register

· Application development and deployment

· Ongoing support services

Any potential vendors planning to respond to the EOI must first register with the Victorian Government's eServices Register (if you haven't already). 

Further information will be provided upon the release of the EOI and the functional requirements document.

Expected release date is prior to end of October 2013. This will be followed one week later by an industry briefing in Melbourne. Minutes of that briefing will be provided to interested parties that are unable to attend.

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ICT Strategy - Data.Vic Status Update

Submitted on Monday, 09th September - 16.10.

This blog topic will be used to provide status updates against the stated action items under the ICT Strategy. It will also be used to broadcast general updates to the site and activities undertaken to support both the Strategy and the DataVic Access Policy deliver access to government information and data.

In February 2013, the Victorian Government released its strategy on the design and use of information and technology to better deliver government services.

The Strategy has been developed in response to three drivers: changes in citizen expectations of government services and ICT use; advances in technology; and current gaps in ICT leadership, governance and skills.

The ICT Strategy sets out the objectives and actions of the government, focusing on three key areas – engagement, investment and capability.

Data.Vic has been assigned two measurable action items under the “engagement” key area:

  • Action 20 – Make spatial data discoverable and accessible through the data.vic website, and:
  • Action 21 – Update the Data.Vic website to better support data release

This blog topic will be used to provide status updates against the stated action items under the ICT Strategy. It will also be used to broadcast general updates to the site and activities undertaken to support both the Strategy and the DataVic Access Policy deliver access to government information and data.

 

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DataVic Access Policy Standards and Guidelines

Submitted on Thursday, 24th January - 15.10.

DataVic Access Policy Standards and Guidelines for the Victorian Public Sector are now finalised and published.
The DataVic Access Policy Standards and Guidelines provide additional background, information and guidance on making government datasets available. The Standards and Guidelines are a comprehensive resource designed to provide practical tools and direction on the release, licensing and management of government data so that it can be used and reused by the community and businesses.
To read the Standards and Guidelines, click here

DataVic Access Policy Standards and Guidelines for the Victorian Public Sector are now finalised and published.
The DataVic Access Policy Standards and Guidelines provide additional background, information and guidance on making government datasets available. The Standards and Guidelines are a comprehensive resource designed to provide practical tools and direction on the release, licensing and management of government data so that it can be used and reused by the community and businesses.
To read the Standards and Guidelines, click here

 

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