State of open data in the Czech Republic in 2012

During the Open Knowledge Festival 2012 in Helsinki I presented a lightning-fast two minutes summary of four key things that happened with open data in the Czech Republic. Here is a brief recap of the things I mentioned.

One of the most tangible results of the open data community in the past year was the launch of a national portal called “Náš stát” (which stands for “Our state”). It provides an overview of a network of Czech projects working towards improving Czech public sector with applications and services built on top of its data. What turned out to be one of its main benefits is that it started unifying disparate organizations that are often working on the same issues without knowing they might be duplicating work of others, and we will see in the coming years if it becomes the proverbial one ring to bind them all.

A Czech local chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation was conceived and started its incubation phase. So far, we have managed to run several meetups and workshops, yet still, we have failed to involve a sufficient number of people contributing their cognitive surplus to the chapter in order to be able to sustain it in the long-term.

In this year data-driven journalism has appeared in mainstream news media. Inspired by the Guardian's Datablog the data blog was set up at iHNed.cz. The blog has become a source of data-driven stories supported by visualizations that regularly make it on the news site's front page.

Arguably, the main thing related to open data that happened in Czech Republic during the past year was the commitment to the Open Government Partnership. Czech Republic has committed to an action plan, in which opening government data plays a key role, encompassing the establishment of an official data catalogue and release of core datasets, such as the company register. On the other hand, there is no money to be spent on the OGP commitments and the list of efforts to date is blank. Thus the work on the implementation of commitments in mainly driven on by NGOs, which is very much in line with the spirit of “hacking” the Open Government Partnership.

To sum up, there have been both #wins and #fails. We keep calm and carry on.

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