Civic Awesome: Open Data News For The Week Of December 26, 2014
“Should open data be forgot, and never brought to mind?” Of course, not! We’re bringing you the top open data stories making headlines this week. Albeit for the last time in 2014. (Vexingly, there are no “year in review” articles. Let us know if we missed one.) See you next year!
For decades, the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) has been openly providing access to data it collects during planetary missions to scientists, other agencies, and the public. NASA is now doing the same with data collected by the Mars Rovers, however context has become critical for data collected during these “nondeterministic” missions. So the agency is releasing data through what they call “The Analyst’s Notebook,” which presents data and all supporting documentation, such as daily reports, maps, and activity plans, as a logical unit. “Without the Notebook, the archives consist of a structured collection of files with little mechanism for finding or previewing the data, much less having any descriptions about the processes active during data acquisition.”
This week, Dubai joined the ranks of other “smart cities” around the globe announcing the formation of a Open Data Committee, which will integrate data on city services, as well as maintain and make available data for public use. The Committee will include representatives from numerous Dubai agencies including the Roads and Transportation Authority, Department of Economic Development, Police, and the Dubai Centre for E-Security.
The Canadian national government is looking into whether its own agencies are not releasing data in easy-to-read formats as its laws require. The investigation is a response to claims that data requested to be released as spreadsheets, have instead been issued as PDFs. Tony Clement, Treasury Board President, and other government officials have claimed these formats were selected because of concerns people may manipulate or otherwise falsify data, however no one has been able to provide an incident where this has happened. Open data advocate, David Eaves, called Clement’s logic “deeply flawed.”
While open data efforts are on the rise in governments around the globe, there are few nonprofit embracing the idea. This, despite widespread believe that open data would improve nonprofit function and service delivery. As a response, Idealware created an Open Data Overview to guide nonprofit organizations down the path to open data.