Open Government: Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards

On May 17, 2011, in Workshop, by GIScience Research Group

This workshop, titled “Open Government: Open Data, Open Source and Open Standards” is organized jointly by Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla, Horizon Digital Economy Research and Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons.

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the annual Open Source GIS Conference, June 21, 2011, Nottingham, United Kingdom, and will be held at the School of Geography/Centre for Geospatial Science at the University of Nottingham.

For more information, including the conference programme, visit:

This workshop builds on the Law and the GeoWeb workshop held recently at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA, and will bring together speakers from across industry, research and academia to contribute toward some of the fundamental theoretical and technical questions emerging in the Open Data space.

The following speakers and topics have been confirmed:
* Producing and consuming open data by Dr. Peter Mooney, Department of Computer Science, NUI Maynooth, Ireland
* Mapping the UK population over time by Prof. David Martin, School of Geography, University of Southampton
* Curating geographic and other data by Zach Beauvais, Talis
* Discussant: Bob Anderson, Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham
* Legal implications of open data by Dr. Katleen Janssen, ICRI, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgiu
* Open rights campaign, Javier Ruiz Diaz, Open Rights Group
* Exercising our rights over information about us by Prof. Derek McAuley, Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, University of Nottingham
* Discussant: Prof. Estelle Derclaye, Faculty of Law, University of Nottingham
* Tackling global challenges through open innovation and geographic information  by Dr. Chris Parker and Ian Holt,  Ordnance Survey, Southampton
* Topic TBD by Diane Cabell, Director, iCommons
* Discussant: David Martin

Please register for the workshop at the main OSGIS web site by June 3, 2011.

For further information please contact Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla (Hanif.Rahemtulla[AT] or Puneet Kishor (punkish[AT]

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Abstracts are invited for a session at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers conference 2011. The conference runs between 31st August – 2nd September 2011; the exact date of this special session is to be confirmed. The session is hosted by the GIScRG, and will be chaired by Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla and Professor Paul Longley.

More about the session:

“The term “Open Data” refers to the philosophical and methodological approach to the democratization of data enabling citizens to access and create value through the reuse of public sector information. Today, Open Data is gathering momentum and forms part of a global movement linked to Open Access and comparable to other Open movements such as Open Source. To date, this movement is being led by government institutions in the UK, USA and Australia through pioneering initiatives such as Data.Gov and the London DataStore. These initiatives, which are being replicated across cities, states and countries (i.e., Open Toronto and New Zealand Open Data Catalogue) provide access to “non-sensitive government datasets, at no cost, to citizens, citizen groups, non-governmental-organisations (NGOs) and businesses” (Lauriault, 2008).

The Open Data Initiative will, it is envisaged, support greater transparency and accountability within Government and create new economic and social value (see Oxera Study, 1999; Cambridge Study, 2008). Furthermore, as O’Reilly (2009) and others argue, the advent of Open Data will fundamentally change the nature by which citizens interact with government. Specifically, the release of public data online and public APIs (which is already underway in some places) will create a platform supporting the development of third-party communication applications outside of government (Headd, 2010). This it is expected will provide a vehicle for expanding public outreach and enhancing public engagement leading to “a more responsive and citizen-focused government” (Madera, 2009).

Today, the Open Data movement has created great excitement in the developer community with a seemingly endless stream of novel and innovative applications, tools and visualizations that repurposes and enriches public data – and has lead to some of the most exciting developments in mobile GIS, web-cartography and LBS in recent years.

However, while Open Data gives rise to a many new opportunities it also poses many challenges. As Boyd (2010) states, access to public information to promote transparency represents only the first step to a more informed citizenry. The success of Open Data will depend in part upon addressing existing barriers to access which encompasses issues such as digital inclusion and information literacy. As such, there is much work still to do to make this promised future happen.

This Special Session aims to bring together some of the key developers, academics and writers on Open Data to document its lineage, debate its philosophy and methods and to envision its future. Contributions are welcome from any source, and in any style appropriate to the arguments being made.”

The session will be a series of presented papers with a lively explorative session in which the four/five scholars will debate about alternative interpretations/methods/solutions within this emerging research area on Open Data.

For more information, please contact the session convenors, Hanif Rahemtulla (Hanif.Rahemtulla[AT] and/or Paul Longley (plongley[AT] Please send abstracts (350 words max.) and key words to Hanif Rahemtulla, by 20th February 2011.

Further details about the conference can be found here.

FREE Open Data Master Classes

On October 13, 2010, in Workshop, by James Cheshire

The past few months have seen a number of high profile announcements on the
release of central and local government data for free. The Prime Minister
launched the portal to ‘open up data and promote transparency’
and the London Mayor announced the London Data Store to ‘give Londoners the
change to find out more about how the city is run’. There is great
excitement in the developer community and many new mash-ups and apps have
been produced from the released data already.

The Horizon Digital Economy Research and the Centre for Geospatial Science
at the University of Nottingham in partnership with and
GeoVation is proud to announce a series of FREE one-day Open Data Master
Classes to reach a wide cross section of people (i.e., individuals,
communities, grassroots organizations, NGOs to civil servants and
professionals) who can benefit from a greater understanding of the
opportunities around open data. Specifically, the one-day master class will
provide individuals with the tools and techniques needed to use and analysis
a range of Open Datasets that are of relevance and interest to them such as,
for example, school census data, health care provision, crime statistics and
transportation data.

The Open Data Master Classes combine theory and practicals with guest
lectures from prominent members in the field from government, academia and
business. The Master Classes will provide participants the opportunity to
use and harness Open Datasets from various government departments and public
sector organizations including Higher Education, Health Care, Transport and
Environment – and in doing so, participants will learn a range of techniques
from data collection and processing to data analysis and map visualization.
The content of the Master Classes is suitable for a wider spectrum of
participants with various levels of IT experience, although some familiarity
with web browsing and Microsoft Excel is assumed.

The Open Data Master Classes series starts in November at the University of
Newcastle (8th Nov) before moving on to University College London (10th
Nov), Nottingham University (12th Nov), University of Aberdeen (17th Nov),
Royal Geographical Society London (18th Nov) and University of Southampton
(3rd Dec). We will be able to offer each master class to 30-40 participants.
We have secured use of purpose built facilitates within each university
including state-of-the-art lecture theatres and computer rooms.

To register visit or for further information
contact Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla at

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