Civic Awesome: Open Data In The News For The Week Of January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015 10:54 am PST | Data as a Service

And behold…the lightbulb goes off! This week, we are delighted to see so many publications, nations, and public and private initiatives getting on the open data bandwagon. There’s room enough for everyone, of course. So let’s check out the latest and greatest in open data.

Unleashing The Potential Of Open Data In Russia

The World Bank takes a look at what open data Russia has released (as of December 2014.) So far, the nation’s open data portal (at contains about 2,400 datasets divided into 16 major topics including mapping, education, transportation, and health. Still, Russia has a way to go when it comes to opening data, which is why the World Bank is offering the country assistance in establishing “efficient open government practices, based on the best interactional experiences and adaptation of global practices specific to Russia’s needs.”

Open Data Is Finally Making A Dent In Cities

Fast Company has caught up to what you, dear reader of the Socrata blog, have known for quite a while, open data is transforming the ways cities operate and their citizens live. This article highlights the power of open data to increase government transparency, fuel useful apps, and drive new business. Proving that they are catching on, FastCo concludes, “enhanced data analysis and increased open data availability also allows us to envision a future where city services are radically transformed, leading toward a seamlessness of operations from city government to resident delivery. This forward momentum further reinforces that data has become the infrastructural backbone in the century of the city.”

Open Data And Privacy Not “Headbanging” Concepts

Open data and privacy is not an either-or proposition — that’s the finding of the UN and academics alike. In fact, New Zealand’s nation data council is looking into publishing data without revealing any personal information. Others around the globe are looking to design privacy-friendly open data initiatives, such as Indonesia’s anonymously crowdsourced election credibility and transparency platform. The critical balancing point for privacy and open data is for “people to trust the data [will] be used in ways that help them and on’t harm them.”

Federal Government Uses CODE2015 To Boost Open Data’s Profile In Canada

Following up last year’s successful Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) hackathon, the national government kicked off a second such event this week. The second CODE hackathon will highlight what programmers, entrepreneurs, graphic designers, and students can do with open data. Apps developed to improve outcomes for youth, commerce, or other quality of life issues must be submitted by February 21, which is International Open Data Day.

Yelp Partners With Socrata To Access Restaurant Inspection Data

Toot! Toot! That’s our own horn. This week, Yelp announced its joining Socrata’s Open Data Network which will help integrate health data information and make restaurant inspection data accessible to the public. Although this is already a feature in some Yelp cities, access to health inspections is not  widespread. Sharing of the data will rely on the Local Inspector Value Entry Specification (LIVES) standard, which will facilitate analysis and comparisons of health inspection information.

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