Open Data, Government and Transparency

A new track at TDC (The Developer's Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil) is titled Open Data. It deals with open data, government and transparency. Saturday will be a "transparency hacker day" where developers are invited to create applications using open data from the Brazilian government.  Alexandre Gomes, co-lead of the track, says "I want to inspire developers to become "Civic hackers:" developers who create apps to make society better." It is a chance for developers to do well and do good. There are many opportunities for developers, including monitoring government expenditures and getting citizens involved via social networks.

The open data movement is growing worldwide. One initiative, the Open Government Partnership, is working to make government data easier to find and access. Making this data easily available means that with the right applications, it will be easier for people to make decisions and suggestions about government policies based on detailed information. Last April, the Open Government Partnership held its annual meeting in Brasilia, the capitol of Brazil. It was a great success showcasing the innovative work being done in open data by governments, civil societies and individuals around the world. For example, Bulgaria now publishes daily data on budget spending for all public institutions.
Alexandre Gomes Explains Open Data

At TDC, the Open Data track will include a presentation of examples of successful open data projects, an introduction to the semantic web, how to handle big data sets, techniques of data visualization, and how to design APIs.

The other track lead is Christian Moryah Miranda, a systems analyst for the Brazilian Government's Ministry of Planning. "The Brazilian government wholeheartedly supports this effort. In order to make our data available to the public, it forces us to be more consistent with our data across ministries, and that's a good step forward for us," he said. He explained the government knows they cannot achieve everything they would like without help from the public. "It is not the government versus the people, rather citizens are partners with the government, and together we can achieve great things!" Miranda exclaimed.

Saturday at TDC will be a "transparency hacker day" where developers will be invited to create applications using open data from the Brazilian government. Attendees are invited to pitch their ideas, work in small groups, and present their project at the end of the conference. "For example," Gomes said, "the Brazilian government just released the salaries of all government employees and I can't wait to see what developers can do with that."

Resources

Open Government Partnership 
U.S. Government Open Data Project
Brazilian Government Open Data Project
U.K. Government Open Data Project
2012 International Open Government Data Conference 

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