Advent at Grakn Labs: Open Data

#GraknLovesTech: 16th December 2016

Raphaëlle Roffo
Dec 16, 2016 · 4 min read
Source: photo taken by by Robert under CC02

Here at Grakn Labs we love technology. So much so, that, this month, we’ve decided to share our favourite technology moments from 2016. Each weekday during December, we will open a window on our virtual advent calendar, and peek inside to recall some of the greatest innovation or news that the past year has brought us.

Please recommend and share with hashtag #GraknLovesTech if you enjoy our posts. And if you have any favourite links you’d like us share, just leave us a comment or tweet us @graknlabs!

As an open-source community, we’re obviously very enthusiastic when it comes to open data! And, quite frankly, we believe that this is where tech trends and, more broadly, our models of governance are going. We’ve seen a number of organizations releasing their data in the past couple of years, leading to the development of game-changing innovations. Think about the US government open data initiative and the applications built on it, from WeMakeItSafer to the Public Library Search app. The beauty of these applications is that, beyond their end results, their development process is a great tool for civic empowerment and a powerful way of strengthening communities!

Should we, with Ben Rossi, start by making one more time the case for open data? As Ben explains, open data is not only for startups but can also benefit large enterprises with tangible outcomes: “scalable new products and services; better, more accurate data; and collaborative ways of working that enable businesses to be more agile, creative and adaptable to future needs and challenges”.

And, as pointed out by Milena Yankova from Ontotext, everyone can benefit from data openness, from governments to the NASA:

Most of the great open data innovations in the private sector actually rose in 2014–2015, but 2016 has been a great year for public initiatives. So here are a series of noteworthy governance and transparency projects launched by governments or NGOs in 2016.

  1. The Open Governance Research Exchange

Following the Humanitarian Data Exchange launched by UN-OCHA in 2014, the new GovLab OGRX initiative born this summer is a real goldmine for governance innovations. The publication list speaks for itself, with research ranging from Measuring Open Data’s Impact on Brazilian National and Sub-National Budget Transparency Websites and Its Impacts on People’s Rights to The Politics of Mapping Platforms: Participatory Radiation Mapping after the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster, (I could literally spend days browsing these publications!)

A demo by the GovLab

2. The European Data Portal

Countries like the US opened their data a few years ago. So let’s take a look at the actual results and what is still left to do. In the case of Europe, the launch of the European Data Portal was a great initiative that started at a time when the European institutions were accused of being undemocratic. Some clear progress has been made, but, as usual, there is still room for improvement and maturation, in particular in terms of political and social impact:

Source: European Data Portal

To learn more about the current state of open data in Europe, and learn about countries’ open data readiness and maturity, you can refer to this report:

3. The City of Cambridge

At the local level (and in a city that is near and dear to our founding team), a great report is the City of Cambridge Amplifying Civic Innovation: Community Engagement Strategies for Open Data Collaborations. This analysis delves into the collaborations with external users of Cambridge’s open data initiative. The goal is to “increase the impact of civic innovation for local residents, (…) identify best practices in public engagement and civic innovation, and generate concrete recommendations for governments seeking to increase inclusive engagement around open government data.”

4. Ok, if you want to read about business, this is for you

Finally, if you are more interested in open data for businesses, we will leave you with this book for the weekend: Big Data in Practice: how 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results, by Bernard Marr. These are 45 concise case studies, really well framed and easy to read even if you’re not a hardcore geek. We hope you’ll enjoy the reading!

Happy Friday and stay tuned for the final week of our #GraknLovesTech Advent Calendar, featuring space tech, chatbots, machine learning and… some surprises!

GRAKN.AI is an open-source knowledge graph data platform that brings knowledge ontologies and transactional data together to enable highly intelligent querying of data. Querying is performed through Graql, a declarative, knowledge-oriented graph query language for retrieving explicitly stored and implicitly derived information, and for performing graph analytics and automated reasoning. Grakn and Graql will help you effectively manage and harness large-scale graph data by allowing you to model it expressively, migrate it efficiently, and to draw insightful knowledge from your deep information network.

Find out more about Grakn Labs from our website!


Creators of TypeDB and TypeQL

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