1. Few words on Open Government Data Camp 2010

    Image used with permission of Open Knowledge Foundation under CC licence

    Image used with permission of Open Knowledge Foundation under CC licence

    Open Government Data Camp 2010 might sound like a distant event, but I decided to post about simply because some of our friends have attended it (and also because earlier I did not have the opportunity to do it properly;)). As it happened exactly on the same day as the Transparency Camp in Warsaw, I personally could not attend it, but I am really happy to hear that Central and Eastern Europe was represented in London on the 18th and 19th of November 2010. The event is nicely documented on-line, so you can find the programme here, and all the materials (including recorded sessions) on this site. There is also a good wiki collection of all involved people and projects.

    Today however I would like to post the short conversation I had with one the attendees from our region, Štefan Urbánek from Slovakia (mentioned earlier on this blog):

    Syl: What is your general feedback on Open Government Data Camp?

    Štefan: It was a really great event. The most interesting was to put together people from government, journalists and geeks, and create dialogue between them. People from various groups were invited.

    Syl: Why did you go to the event?

    Štefan: It was very interesting, I wanted to learn more, I wanted to meet people and learn about what is currently happening. I also wanted to get feedback on what we are doing here.

    Syl: Did you present your work?

    Štefan: I was presenting something a little bit different based on the project. I was using project as a basis of talk about data quality.

    Stefan Urbanek from Open Knowledge Foundation on Vimeo.

    Syl: What was the feedback on the presentation?

    Štefan: I was really surprised that the presentation did what I wanted – it raised awareness around data quality. People who work with data do not consider its quality.

    Syl: Did you meet people involved in projects similar to yours?

    Štefan: I did meet with people from ckan and “where does my money go” projects. There will be a post about data quality on their blog shortly.

    Syl: What inspired you:

    Štefan: Many little specialties, each project had a specialty or a problem, that people can learn from. So it was a really good to share practice. However what I liked more than the presentations were the discussions beaten those – people sharing solutions between the official sessions. I also found  the topic of linking open data very interesting.

    Syl: What about our region?

    Štefan: I was introduced to few people from our region by Tony Bowden.  I think people I met are the people who were contacted by MySociety – the rest is rather unclear, so it looks like MySociety is driving those types of projects in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s great but my impression is that it is not enough yet when compared to the Western countries.

    Syl: Do you think it is down to the lack of events in our region?

    Štefan: Yes, and I missed even more stories from Eastern Europe, because sometimes we are solving different issues than the Western countries. For example I was at TransparencyCamp in Washington in March too, where some of the problems presented originated from various regions and I found it all was very useful.

    Let us know your thoughts on some of the points made by Štefan. If you attended the Open Government Data Camp, we would love to hear your feedback too.  Do leave us a comment!

  2. Few words about Sejmometr.pl


    Well, Sejmometr.pl is something I did not have to be introduced to simply because I had the privilege to talk to the team this summer during my Technology for Transparency research (entire case study available in English here). It’s an on-line platform providing Polish citizens with insights into the work of their government in a very simple, easily digestible way as opposed to the traditional sources of information. Sejmometr.pl in its original form was running for about two years before it received our support to re-launch in its new, more developed form. Today the major functions allow the users to browse through parliament’s work based on the political party involved or the status of various acts. The next steps will contain adding profiles of MP’s and building Facebook-line functions into the system, but I am sure we will hear about those soon in more details from Daniel Macyszyn, the developper of the project.

    Sejmometr.pl has employed another local Technology for Transparency researcher, Jakub Górnicki, to drive promotion and marketing activities. As part of the job, Jakub presented the current vision of Sejmometr.pl at TransparencyCamp in Warsaw quite recently. It’s a great pity that the recording is available only in Polish, but if you trust my translation I can share with you few insights resulting from questions Jakub has received. It has been suggested that the website could also act as a place for political discussions, however Jakub pointed out that this would defeat the main, rather educational goal of the platform and would become difficult to mange (could be a separate project though). One suggestion worth incorporating on the current website is the option of subscribing to Sejmometr.pl content based on the interests of users, who usually remain ignorant of overal legislative work, but who would be interested in acts and laws related to their work or passions.

    It is also worth mentioning that while Jakub was promoting their ideas in Warsaw, Daniel presented Sejmometr.pl to attendees of Open Goverment Data Camp in London (you will find a lot of interesting content from that event here) collecting valuable feedback. He  is currently working on their new blog in English, but in the meantime you can find their updates on the Polish blog and Facebook fan page.