Open Data - Not just a buzzword

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Open Data:

Not just a buzzword

by Robert Bates

Phase2rbates@phase2technology.comarpieb most other places

Charles Joseph Minard (27 March 1781 24 October 1870 in Bordeaux) was a French civil engineer noted for his inventions in the field of information graphics.

Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. He is famous for his Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l'Arme Franaise dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813, a flow map published in 1869 on the subject of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812.The graph displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image:

the size of the army - providing a strong visual representation of human suffering, e.g. the sudden decrease of the army's size at the crossing of the Berezina river on the retreat;

the geographical co-ordinates, latitude and longitude, of the army as it moved;

the direction that the army was traveling, both in advance and in retreat, showing where units split off and rejoined;

the location of the army with respect to certain dates; and

the weather temperature along the path of the retreat, in another strong visualisation of events (during the retreat "one of the worst winters in recent memory set in"[1]).

What is open data?

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

- Thomas Jefferson

Information has public good characteristics.It is non-rivalrous.One persons consumption of itdoesnt prevent others consuming it.

If it cant be spidered or indexed, it doesnt exist.

If it isnt available in open and machine readable format, it cant engage.

If a legal framework doesnt allow it to be re-purposed, it doesnt empower.

The Three Laws of Open Government Data

What kinds of data?








Why is open data important?

Open data is global...

Scaling recent results of the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that implementation of open data policies could increase G20 output by around USD 13 trillion over the next five years.

Open for Business: How Open Data Can Help Achieve the G20 Growth Target. June 2014.

Open data promotes...


Social value

Commercial value


Great stuff!Now what?

Be a data consumer...

Industry associations

Research organizations

NPOs / NGOs (UN, IMF, WorldBank, etc)

or be a data provider!



Hadoop (

Socrata (

NuCivic Data (

What can you do with it?

USGS Earthquake Reports (sample dataset)

Views core Table display

Views RSS

OpenLayers + Google Maps

What can you do with it?

NYC Open Data DCA Sidewalk Cafes

D3 pie chart showing breakout by borough

Embedded Socrata view widgets using socrata_filter

DataTables display plugin

Open data in the wild!