Civic Awesome: Open Data In The News For September 5, 2014
Open data paints a clearer picture of the world we live in. This week’s Civic Awesome news stories demonstrate the soup-to-nuts power of open data: from a god’s eye view of our planet, to how an entire continent feeds itself, down to how quickly the landlord fixes your broken stove.
Nature is calling for on governments to develop an international strategy for sharing satellite data in an open repository. Although the US Geological Survey has done some work to release its Landsat data archive (the largest collection of earth imagery) no country has seized the opportunity to open satellite data in real time. While a satellite to be launched by Europe in 2017 is set to have free and open data, that information will only be available after a four month lag. To get the greatest benefits from these data sets, Nature argues, a global repository, which allows free and open access to a broad array of users is needed.
Although the Atlantic Array wind power project was abandoned last year due to technical and financial challenges, The Crown Estate, which manages the United Kingdom’s sea bed, announced it will release a variety of data collected at the site, including marine and avian surveys, through its Marine Data Exchange site. Crown Estate’s head of strategy and policy says, “By making information easily available through the Marine Data Exchange we can help stimulate research, support academia and contribute towards the long term sustainable development of the seabed.”
The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative (GODAN) is the first public-private global open data initiative, which encourages “collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data actives, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems.” This week, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that GODAN will have up to $1 billion in export guarantees to enhance trade between the US and Africa. The Secretary also reported four new partners are joining the GODAN initiative: The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM, and the Kellogg Company.
Publishing 80 sets of data on finance, public health and safety, housing, education, and other topics of local concern, the City of Hartford launched its open data website this week. At the roll out, Hartford also announced plans to grow the available data sets to include police and fire department incidents, building maps, housing code violations, and trade permits.
If you ever wanted to know how your landlord stacked up against others in terms of quality, maintenance, tenant satisfaction, or value for the money, you might consider a move to Scotland. The Scottish Housing Regulator announced it will be putting out data on how council and registered social landlords are performing (meaning private landlords are excluded.) The data are designed to be “accessible and focus on the areas that matter most to tenants,” according to the Scottish Housing Regulator chair.