[@OKau] A Missing Link

Craig Thomler craig.thomler at gmail.com
Fri May 8 00:04:01 UTC 2015

With a commercial hat on, there's very little openly published government
data I would trust for economic reuse.

This is because most government open data is published irregularly, it's
often out of date, incomplete or incorrect and agencies often 'tweak' data
formats across datasets in the same series, meaning additional development
work (cost) to keep using the data and 'breaks' in the product.

I'd rather pay a fee for access to reliable and regularly published data to
manage the risk, and allow all or some of th data to be freely published at
less regular intervals for non-profit use that doesn't kill my market.

I really don't think the open data model is sustainable based solely on an
economic driver, and certainly could never be sustainable in this
way without vast improvements in the data collection' cleaning and release
processes of agencies.

However I do believe open data is critical for accountability, transparency
and improving service design and delivery. All hard to measure on a pure $
value and some uncomfortable for governments to stomach.

We need to step away from the model of government as vending machine - and
that includes the concept that a government's performance can be solely
judged in economic terms (how do we configure a vending machine for maximum
profit - set it to take people's money and return no products/services).

Governments are social constructs for organising, protecting and
empowering groups of people to realise their potential without trampling
over everyone else.

Economic success is a benefit of good governance, not the reason for the
existence of government.

If some open data is economically successful, that's great, but a far
better (but harder) measure of its success is how it empowers people to
fulfil their ambitions and allows them, as the owners of government, to
critically assess whether the governance approach is working well or
requires adjustment.




Craig Thomler


*Mobile:* 0411 780 194 (*International:* +61 411 780 194)
*Phone:* 02 6161 4508 (*International: *+61 2 6161 4508)
*Skype:* craig.thomler

On 8 May 2015 at 09:10, Ben Searle <bensearle54 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> An open data related thought based on a number of years working in the
> data management space across different levels of government.
> Most government organisations and individuals in those organisations
> understand the benefits of making their data available to the public.  That
> debate has generally been won.  But, most organisations are suffering
> reduced budgets and appreciate that they must expend some resources to
> comply with the open data philosophy.  This costs their organisation.  But
> what benefit do they get back from releasing their data?
> Generally not much direct benefit, other than complying with broad
> government objectives.  So, what is their answer to the question of “whats
> in it for me?”….generally not much.  Until we can effectively answer that
> question the supply side of open data will continue to be limited and we
> will continue to have data released purely to increase data set numbers and
> meet KPI’s but will that data be useful?  Based on current activities, much
> of the existing open data would not be consumed by organisations wishing to
> generate digital products.
> What is missing?
> Ben Searle
> Email:    bensearle54 at gmail.com
> Mobile:  +61 (0) 400 453 601
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