The Analytical Center is continuing its series of seminars for civil servants on the publication and use of open data, which are regarded as one of the most familiar formats for searching, processing and subsequent use of openly available and reliable data. In addition to training seminars for government officials, two more events are planned: a hackathon is to be held for mobile app developers in October and a summit on open data is to be held in December.
The open data portal of the Russian Federation, where more and more information is being published every day, today is successfully performing its main function. That is according to ZAO Gosbook’ representative Yuri Linkov who spoke at the latest open data seminar. As of July 30, 3,632 data sets and more than 120 applications that utilize them had been published on the portal. “While at the first stage only a handful of content managers could publish data, today we have got 773 publishers registered with the portal and open data are provided by 433 organizations from all over the country,” Linkov pointed out.
The expert believes that an important function of the portal is that through it people can submit enquiries for open data. About 100 such enquiries have already been submitted. Such enquires offer a good way to judge about the real needs of the users, allowing the team behind the portal to better direct their efforts aimed at getting various state organizations to disclose data on a broad range of topics. On the other hand, these efforts need systematization, which is going to be taken into account when methodological recommendations are developed.
Deputy Head of the Analytical Center Vasily Pushkin reminded those present about the Data.gov.ru Hackathon contest for software developers that the Analytical Center hosted in June 2015. ‘Over 120 participants developed 18 applications making use of open data in just one day,’ Mr. Pushkin said, ‘The contestants managed to develop very interesting and most useful applications: for example one app they developed tracks the prices of medications in Moscow’s pharmacies, comparing them with the price ceilings set for various drugs by the Ministry of Healthcare, while another application estimates real demand for bike paths in various areas.’ The expert believes that both applications are good examples of how official data can be used to improve the day-to-day life of ordinary people and to make government spending more efficient.
“When we work on the issue of open data we see there is demand for them from developers, public organizations, information and analytical agencies and so we plan to hold another hackathon on October 10 through 11,” Mr. Pushkin said. The expert also talked about the initiative of the Open Government to organize a contest for open data applications that they hope more than 100 teams will participate in, i.e. between 500 and 1,000 people. The contest is going to have three nominations: the best business application (this nomination will rate the direct economic effect), the best social application (this one will rate how much public interest the app can generate) and the best technical solution (this nomination will rate the technical aspects of how applications use open data)
The results are to be announced on December 2-4 during an Open Data Summit. The format of the Summit is dictated by the vast scale of open data issues from development of the portal to publication of data, cooperation between government departments, use of open data by public organizations in various fields such as healthcare, education, utility and others. An important issue is information security, i.e. a balance must be found between national security and openness of data. All these issues as well as current trends for further work should be discussed with regional representatives, Mr. Pushkin believes.