Experts: Open Data in Demand in All Sectors

11 december 2015

Open Data in Eurasia, open state finances, available crime statistics, ‘smart cities’ management data - these and other issues were the focus of the All-Russia Summit ‘Open Data – 2015’. 7 panel discussions were held within the first day of the Summit.

Within the frameworks of the roundtable ‘Open Data in Eurasia’ near-abroad speakers talked about peculiarities of local implementation of the Open Data concept. Oleg Petrov, the Coordinator of the ‘Open Data’ program of the World Bank,  noted that Russia’s practices receive low coverage, and encouraged experts to share achievements more actively, of which with colleagues from other countries. He also noted Kazakhstan where global practices were studied, the law on Open Data was adopted and up-to-date forms of activities in this area were introduced.  The experience of the Republic of Moldova, which is the third in the world for opening corporate data and continues to follow this direction, was also interesting. Just recently, the first Hackathon was held in Serbia. As it was stated by member of the Summit, the country is at the beginning and wants to succeed. The following work on data disclosure will be held in Tajikistan, which will launch first projects based on Open Data in 2016. Summing up the discussion, Vasiliy Pushkin, the Deputy Head of the Analytical Center, noted the importance of political will and commitment to complete Open Data projects promoting stable work in this direction.

According to experts at the Round Table ‘Demand for Open Data on public finances’, among main platforms for placing open state financial data are official webpages of the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Tax Service and the Federal Treasury of Russia. The Federal Tax Service has been publishing statistics and analyses for more than 10 years; the Treasury has started to disclose the budgetary reports, and the Ministry of Finance - data on the budget and liabilities of Russia. Authorities are actively involved in this activity; more than 230 sets are published by them. Moreover, authorities monitor the relevance of Open Data posted on webpages, conduct surveys and polls among the business community. ‘We tend to make data of high quality so that financial data would be connected with those of other ministries,’ said Yelena Chernyakova, the representative of the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry is also working on promoting Open Data: last year the All-Russian Contest on Financial Open Data was held, and it is planned to be held again, the expert noted.

The Round Table ‘Russian criminal statistics - on the way to disclosure’ discussed the need to use advanced practices of foreign countries. The United States creates projections of potential crimes based on Open Data and build models preventing law violations, while in Russia this trend is just developing. ‘The Russian General Prosecutor Office created a Portal of legal statistics, which provides with monitoring and analyses of data in constituent entities of the Russian Federation on 114 indicators,’ said Oleg Insarov, the representative of the General Procurator Office of Russia. According to the expert, the portal and other activities of the General Procurator Office aimed at opening data will allow to form an objective assessment of the state of crime and increase transparency of the judicial system.

Discussing the ‘Smart City’ management system using Open Data, experts named positive effects of the concept’s introduction - photo and video recording, video surveillance, automatic street lighting and others. The ‘Smart City’ system includes all IT technologies aimed at improving management of their own resources and the provision of services to the residents,’ said Alexander Malakhov, the expert of the Analytical Center. He noted that while the ‘Smart City’ system is in demand only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in future it will be used in all cities of Russia.

Experts were interested in how things work at the regional level, so they monitored regional Open Data portals. Mikhail Bragin, the representative of ‘Infometr’ company, talked on results of the monitoring. The assessment was conducted on such parameters as the number of data sets, the number of applications meeting the requirements and organization of data publication. Data are published by 69 regions, the total number of data sets exceeds 7000 and about 36% meets all the requirements, according to the expert. Among the champions are: Tomsk, Tula, Ulyanovsk, Volgograd Oblasts and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug -Yugra. ‘The more careful are regions in following rules and requirements for the quality of data publication, the higher they are in the ranking,’ said Mr Bragin. At the same time analysts care not only about the compliance with rules of data publication, but also about the demand for them of the population, so applications developed on the basis of data published by regions, withstand an extra check.