Unlock Europe’s potential

Cuelgo aquí un fantastico post de mis compañeros de Microsoft Europa en torno al Open Government y Open Data.

Lo mantengo literalmente en Inglés para no desvirtuar una coma. Seguro que todos lo podemos leer y entender perfectamente

Is there a huge and growing market that Europe has to still tap into?.....YES

On May 19th 2010 the European Commission adopted The Digital Agenda. It is a five-year road map, defining the European Commission’s actions for unleashing the economic power of the ICT sector during five years.

Legal obstacles are part of the problem. The European Union should be one digital single market, rather than 27 separate markets, with different sets of rules. We must tear down the walls between countries – and between systems. Interoperability is a key to unlocking Europe’s potential.

In the EU, the PSI Directive sets the legislative framework for the re-use of public information. Better access to Public Sector Information (PSI) can improve people's quality of life and make how they interface with government much easier. Plus, it can create new businesses and jobs while giving consumers more choice and greater value for money. In this perspective Open data is a great opportunity to unlock data and unleash economic potential. Now let’s go. Let’s make this happen.

Open data needs to be recognized for its full potential. The Digital Agenda mentions it, while dealing with sharing environmental data and environment-related information, but is has more general applications as well. Information is the most valuable asset of any organization, including governments. The incompatibility of data housed in different systems is a barrier to unlocking its full value. Governments must be able to consolidate data from multiple systems, to expose them in accessible ways, and combine systems and data to create new services. Using emerging protocols, smart tagging, semantics, and document format standards, it is possible to expose data from incompatible systems for broad access.

Microsoft has made open access to data part of its interoperability strategy, enabling governments to unlock data from heterogeneous repositories and make it available in a flexible spectrum of e-government services.

Let’s start with socially useful services:

This application shows Parking Place for Disabled with the possibility to select the length and width of the parking lot. Data are provided by the City of Rennes, are exposed here and stored in the Cloud.

This application shows Voluntary intake points in the City of Rennes, split by different type of waste. Data are provided by the City of Rennes, are exposed here .

This application shows all the different Trees species in Paris very useful for people allergic to pollen. Data are provided by the City of Paris, are exposed here.

How easy was to develop these applications on top of the data?

OGDI platform http://dev.govdata.eu is a platform designed for ISV’s and developers that provides Public Open Data for Reuse in applications that offer added value services to the end users complying with the European PSI directive principles of availability, non-exclusivity and non-discrimination. It provides:

q EasyData access with tools, sample code and support documentation

q This platform provides interfaces that allow developers to:

· view and manipulate data to choose the right dataset

· query the desired data with filters. No infrastructure required.

· build applications using datasets from different providers whatever the language used to develop the application as Flex, Python, PHP, JavaScript, .net, … (client source code are provided)

· always use the last version of the dataset

Compared to publishing a flat file (XML, XLS, CSV, TXT, …) main difference is:

· no need to import the file before using the data (especially useful if you use a mobile)

· no need to publish the data on your own web server to use them

Two dynamic ways to get data:

· via the oData protocol (based on web standards as HTML, JSON, ATOM Pub)

· via the KML interface to query geospatial data

q Data availability and scalability guaranteed by Azure cloud storage

q Data upload in machine readible format for Government agencies in “1 day”

q Easy creation of mashups with geo data, social media data, other commercial data. Win Phone 7 applications and Bing maps mashups.

VanGuide code on Codeplex Open Data Application Framework  http://odaf.codeplex.com

VanGuide Windows Phone 7 Code on Codeplex - http://vanguidewp7.codeplex.com

q Easy migration to Datamarket for integration with a fee business model in a Unified billing and provisioning platform

q The license attached to each dataset is defined by the provider not by OGDI. Could be an ODbl, PPDL, …

And if a central or local administration wants its own OGDI platform (with customization), it is possible and realtively easy . OGDI is provided as an Open Source solution that anybody can adapt and use.

The code is licensed under the Microsoft Public License http://ogdi.codeplex.com/license, which is compatible with the European Public License http://www.osor.eu/communities/eupl that states that every license that is OSI approved, is fine http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ms-pl.html.