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Challenging Open Data

The Open Data Challenge 2011 was the largest ever open data competition in Europe, in which there was a large cash prize. Over 430 participants from 24 EU Member States attempting to create the most interactive and influential apps using public sector information to reinvent the way we govern and live in our community.

The organisers behind this successful initiative, the Open Knowledge Foundation, wish to provide insight into mashed open data combined with creative ideas to make data relevant, aid people’s journey through the jungle of online data and offer services that could become a part of every day life.

This chance is enhanced through the fact that it is the public themselves, with their own citizen knowledge, creating services for the Open Data Challenge. Competitions such as these can expand horizons, stretch the imagination and reveal what can be achieved through open data utilisation.

It will also shine some light on ways in which the open source community can tackle huge issues faced by many countries and cities, and encourage various sectors or governments to free their open data once they see just how powerful or influential these apps capabilities can be. It makes governments transparent, efficient, and creates social and economic value; however, at European level this competition shows how open data can truly transform.

Open Data Challenge from Open Knowledge Foundation on Vimeo.

In order to help motivate people and maintain an effective flow of practice throughout, prizes were given dependent of category or type:

The best ideas

  1. The winning idea would allow public participation of urban planning decisions.
  2. The second idea gathers interesting or key information on your family name through data collected from records.
  3. The third idea would offer citizens, politicians and social enterprises to contribution and benefit from different European policies, enabling them a greater say in the world around them.

The best apps

The winning app is one which makes clear any influence and corruption in a persons home country. Its features are both simple to use and easy to understand.

The second app plots each position of all London Underground trains onto a map, which updates in real-time for convenience and efficiency.

The third app exposes company data on the web in an easy to use format, allowing connections between companies to be crowd-sourced.

The best visualisations

The winning visualisation shows the current state of bike share systems in over 30 international cities.

The joint-second visualisation maps how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted from factories and power stations spanning across Europe.

The other joint-second visualisation shows the legislative activity over time of the European Union in varying policy areas.

The third visualisation makes it impossible to miss things Dutch politicians are currently saying by showing word clouds of the most important things mentioned.

Additional awards

The Better Data Award is for an array of thousands of old georeferenced maps, all published and documented with community backing.

The Open Data Award is for the exposing of points-of-interest data in the Municipality of Örebro, Sweden.

And the Talis Award for Linked Data is for a linked version of bus timetables and bus stops data for the Greater Manchester area.

What does this mean for you?

We're planning to host a competition to get the best ideas from you on what would make your local area a better place to live, work and play. And for your help, you could win a prize. But before we launch this competition, we’d love to get your thoughts on how you’d like to be involved in shaping it.

Leave a comment below or email us!

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