Open Data – Breakthrough Environment

11 december 2015

The All-Russian Summit ‘Open data – 2015’ - Russia's largest event dedicated to the progress in the field of open data, started in Moscow.

‘For three and a half years we have been witnessing major milestones symbolizing development of open data. An open data portal was launched, which contains 4000 data sets - quite a large number, even in comparison with other countries. There were dozens of hackathons, hundreds of apps were developed, and some of them have already found their investors. I hope that this is an irreversible process and that it has bright future,’ said Konstantin Noskov, the Head of the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation.

Speaking about the future of open data, Mikhail Abyzov, the Minister of the Russian Federation, said that Russia is moving to the full data disclosure. ‘The open data project took place, and that happened because there is a team of caring stakeholders - officials and civil servants, analysts and experts, young, ambitious app developers ... The Analytical Center is a part of our big team, and it largely helps the Expert Council in work with open data, said Mr Abyzov.

Andras Horvai, the Director and World Bank Country Manager for Russian Federation, made a report. He noted that the World Bank was the first to open its data, and Western countries, primarily the United Kingdom and the United States, are well advanced in this area. Recently, a new fund was designed to invest in projects related to open data, and is currently preparing a report on development of the Internet and its impact on economic growth in the world. ‘We are grateful for the support of the Russian Government. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and we still have work to do,’ summed up Mr Horvai.

Within the plenary session winners of the Contest ‘Open Data of the Russian Federation’ were awarded. The Awarding Ceremony was moderated by Yekaterina Shapochka, the Deputy Chairman of the Council on Open Data, the member of the Government Expert Council. ‘Hackathons took place in 10 regions, and 30 teams of developers were finalists. Today, 18 teams are awarded with diplomas, and their applications will work life,’ said Ms Shapochka.

The winner in the nomination ‘Best social application’ is the ‘Zemelniye torgi Rossii’ (Land Biding of Russia) service of the Samara’s ‘Landkarta’ team. The application allows customers to analyze land for sale and make deliberate buying decisions.

The winner in the nomination ‘Best business decision’ is the team from Korolev with the service Plandex.ru, which allows you to search for housing on the basis of urban environment  parameters - from ecology to social infrastructure.

The winner of the nomination ‘Best technical solution’ is the service of the ‘Rossiyskiye shkoly’ (Russian Schools) team from Moscow, created to assist parents in choosing a school. Its webpage contains information on quality of education in different educational institutions.

The winner of the special category of the Open Government is the ‘Geokod’ (Geocode) team from Moscow which developed a geo-information platform ‘Open Data.'

‘We are awarding you with a hope that these projects will not end here and now. Our winners’ support program will help you to be of high-demand,’ said Ms Shapochka.

After the Awarding Ceremony Oleg Fomichev, the State Secretary - Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, took the floor. ‘When in 2012 we made proposal on data opening for May Presidential Decrees, we counted on a long process. Thanks to the Analytical Center and the Open Government, we evidence an industrial scale. What we see now is a story of success,’ said Mr Fomichev. The data opening is necessary not only to citizens and businesses, but also to the state for the management decision making, according to the official. The Ministry of Economic Development proposes to open data of 600 government agencies’ registers, state-funded and for-profit organizations. Some pieces of information are confidential and shall not be disclosed, but if it is true – this is to be solved by the Open Data Council in each case cooperating closely with owners of such information.

Andrew Stott, the Program Expert of the World Bank, reported on global trends of data opening. To date, there are 1600 open data portals containing more than a million sets, according to the expert. ‘This is an impressive figure, and many people earn a lot,’ said the expert, noting the potential of commercialized projects based on open data. According to him, one should always assess how useful open data are, as many data sets are boring and hardly used, and learn how to measure benefits. Thus, Mr Stott emphasized the need for data inventory: ‘Firstly we need to ensure data quality and then open them.’ Promoting innovations and business by using open data is also an important tool, as well as improving efficiency of state institutions due to transparency and harmonization of data of different departments.