[@OKFNau] Sustainable open data

Tennessee Leeuwenburg tleeuwenburg at gmail.com
Thu Sep 5 02:13:03 UTC 2013

This is a fantastic topic. One of the central issues for government is how
to share data sustainably. This goes for everything from costs, to
platforms, to standards and strategies.

It's rare that a project brief includes goals around open data, let alone
sustainable provision of open data. Hopefully, activities such as
data.gov.au will increasingly assist government organisations by providing
both a platform and a means for sharing their data without having to
re-invent the wheel every time.

Open data for most governments is a side effect of whatever the project
goals are, rather than a core deliverable of the project, which may be to
produce a report, or monitor something etc. Anything which makes
decision-making simpler and keeps costs down is extremely valuable.

The same thing really goes for private enterprise. Pushing businesses to
share their data in open and standard ways is also incredibly important.


On Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 1:14 AM, Andrew Perry <andrew.perry at foclaw.org>wrote:

>  Oops - that link to the Australian FixMyStreet should have been:
> http://www.fixmystreet.org.au
> Andrew Perry wrote:
> This is a great topic!
> My personal view / manifesto is outlined here: http://www.foclaw.org
> In order for sharing of data / code to be sustainable, sometimes a mix of
> free/open/creative commons etc models may be appropriate.
> For example, two organisations that are co-founding the Collaboratory
> incubation and co-working space with us at Parramatta (
> http://www.collaboratory.com.au & https://www.facebook.com/CollaboratoryAU)
> are Open Local (non-profit) and Community Builders Australia (social
> enterprise).
> Open Local has implemented mySociety's Open Source FixMyStreet platform
> here in Australia (http://www.fixmystreet.org), as well as a MapIt server
> of electoral boundaries (http://mapit.openlocal.org.au).  Open Local
> allows free non-commercial, low volume use of the MapIt server as well as
> providing subscriptions for higher volume and commercial use.  Open Local
> is committed to Open Source / Open Data / Open Standards and has, to date,
> received no public funding.
> Community Builders Australia supports Open Local through, among other
> things, a subscription to the Open Local MapIt server.  It uses it for the
> Where to Vote and How to Vote apps it has developed which are available
> free (as in beer) at:
> For Android:
> Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/14JhAbn
> How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fQHSz
> And for iOS at:
> Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fgFmi
> How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15aranM
> The electoral boundaries and polling booth locations / candidate lists are
> provided under creative commons licenses from the AEC / ABS.
> The big win for the AEC out of making their data available this way is
> that they have facilitated the public having access to a free app to find
> their local voting locations and candidates, which they/taxpayers haven't
> had to pay to develop or support themselves.  Of course in future they may
> want to have their own branded version of the app (or build a similar
> app).  Community Builders Australia's model is that candidates/their
> supports will fund the provision of the app in future by paying to include
> their profiles and how to vote / social media / fundraising links in the
> app in addition to the basic ballot order listing of candidates that is
> provided.
> Election night broadcasts also make great use of data feeds coming openly
> from the AEC.  This not only provides transparency, but great value to
> networks who want to provide up to the minute coverage - so in line with
> your question, should TV networks pay for those data feeds?  Arguably yes -
> so that at least the infrastructure required for a live stream is
> adequately compensated.
> For example, the data feeds could be made available for a fee to networks,
> and to candidates/parties and individuals/non-profits on election night
> under a "free beer" creative commons licence.  Shortly after election day
> the data could then be distributed under a more liberal, public, "free
> speech" licence.  (Mind you because this is election data I would be more
> inclined to say it should be licensed liberally from the get-go - just the
> "live" distribution stream may not be available to the public or other
> people who don't contribute to the cost of running that stream on election
> night - but the data could still be seeded as a torrent with periodic
> updates!).
> Other great innovations arising from the "open" release of this data are
> featured in the following article you may have seen:
> http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/diy-howtovote-cards-to-give-voters-control-in-just-a-few-clicks-20130830-2sup6.html
> Through our involvement as an anchor tenant and co-founder of
> Collaboratory, we hope to bring government, education and private sector
> stakeholders together to use Open Innovation to develop sustainable models
> for creating and sharing tools and data.  Creative Commons (discriminatory
> style) licences are one way that this can be achieved, by allowing
> non-commercial / developmental / educational use for free while requiring
> payment for a separate licence for commercial use.  Like the mining tax
> ;-), the commercial licence could be profit-based (or revenue based).
> As long as the terms of the arrangement are clear and aren't varied
> whimsically by the government licensor, then the development community can
> invest in building great tools using the "creative commons data" (without
> barriers to entry) and then release them in a way that the government gets
> a return on its contribution to the app / service's success.  We see some
> parallels in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in that the tools
> and APIs are accessible for free, but the providers get a revenue share for
> the non-free apps.
> Regards
> Andrew
> *Andrew Perry*
> Executive Director
> free open creative law
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> Andrew Newman wrote:
>  I went to Rufus's talk on Friday about Open Data and I asked about the
> quality and sustainability of producing open data.
>  I wonder about how it's going to work generally? The open data movement
> is great and I'd like to see it work but the revenue model seems broken.
>  Companies like Google, Facebook, etc. make money selling data and
> services. The government can provide amazing infrastructure (Internet, GPS,
> public data sets, etc) but it then fails to capture the biggest revenue
> stream from these companies which is tax - they are phenomenally good at
> paying almost no tax [1].  Is there an alternative revenue stream?
>  One project that I'm thinking of, the Queensland Globe, relied on low or
> free licenses and converting the data to one that could be used by Google
> Earth Enterprise.  It doesn't seem to have been thought of in a sustainable
> way.
>  Related to this idea is that governments should try and consume the data
> they produce so that they can reduce the duplication (using a proprietary
> system and producing regular data dumps).  If it's seen as something
> external to their process they can just cut off the data dumps.
>  Rufus mentioned API/services and paying to update (submitting the data
> attracts a fee) - I think it would help but a lot of these systems already
> have these models in place and still aren't done sustainably.  It seems
> they think of IT more of a project of work, with a deadline, that is
> completed rather than one that has constant feedback and maintenance costs.
>  [1]
> http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/7/15/social-media/looking-beyond-apples-tax-evasion-tactics
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Tennessee Leeuwenburg
"Don't believe everything you think"
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