Friday, October 31, 2014

Code Wars

In pursuit of a faster, shorter, surer way of getting around (in addition to trusty Lat Long, for reasons explained by the various promoters), there's now Open Location Code (with a demonstration site). The inventors, two Google engineers, seem to have examined the shortcomings of What3Words and MapCode and other systems, and have released a solution - an algorithm, as open source. The output is similar to that generated by MapCode, but as an algorithmic solution, it removes the need for a lookup in a data file (that would need to be maintained). It remains to be seen if this latest entrant (only four days ago) will gain traction, like say, MapCode which claims usage by 50 million, but it does have 'open' and being implementable by anyone going for it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Open World

The World Bank's data on a number of development indicators for all countries is now open data. The USA has an Executive Order ( May 2014) to make 'open and machine readable the new default for government information'; and one example is the new open data policy by USAID. The EU has an open data portal and at least five EU countries have portals of their own to help find their open data. Saint Lucia has decided to make government data open data. 

Open data has become the new standard. It's different from public information in that the data can both be found and easily accessed. A report published on the web as a PDF file is public information. A published spreadsheet or text file that can be imported relatively easily for analysis would be open data. Governments are the biggest producers and consumers of data - so the operations of government offices should be early beneficiaries of an open data approach.