Hack the government!

Last Saturday iRail attended the “hack de overheid” conference, which translates into “hack the government”, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It’s extremely striking how many officials came to this event asking for programmers to do something with government data. Amongst the people in the audience there were programmers, journalists, designers, politicians, datajournalism enthusiasts… all eager to start working with these new datasets.

Open data is not something magical that will increase innovation and which will grow apps in the wild. It is however needed to be able to innovate. There are two ways a programmer will start developing an application based on data: 1. (s)he needs it in an application he’s building and starts browsing for this. 2. (s)he saw this data is available and though it would be neat to have an application which combines a couple of other datasets with this one. In this article I will only discuss the latter. Open data in terms of innovation and democracy is very important for this first point, the latter however is what makes people want to open their data: on short-term there will be cool applications.

iRail at Hack De Overheid Amsterdam

iRail at Hack De Overheid Amsterdam (CC by-sa k4rp)

Apps for Amsterdam organised by the “Hack de overheid”-team was a huge success. The local government from Amsterdam explained what data they had available and were opening at that very moment, journalists were writing about this movement that will save democracy and the free market as such and programmers were coding to win the bounty raised by the city.

Apps for New York worked. Apps for Amsterdam worked. Let’s get this format to most innovative, so they say (don’t shoot the blogger), city of Belgium. Apps for Ghent should become the first of a series Apps for Belgium. What do we need to organise this event? You, probably:

  • Sponsors – a free event needs money from sponsors.
  • Location – do you know a good location that’s available?
  • Datasets – Are you looking for the ideal moment to release your data in the wild?
  • Datajournalists – Are you looking to investigate datasets for your articles?
  • Journalists/Bloggers – if you want to write about us, you’re welcome too!
  • Politicians – Sadly, this is in many cases a political problem and we need politicians to fix this!
  • Programmers – last but not least

Contact me: pieter@irail.be or +32 486 74 71 22 if you want to help organising/sponsor/… this event!

About Pieter Colpaert

Pieter is a researcher in linked transport data publishing at MMLab - UGent - iMinds. He also co-founded Open Knowledge Belgium, in which he represents the iRail/Open Transport Working Group.

15. March 2011 by Pieter Colpaert
Categories: News & events | 1 comment