3 Reasons why Open Data is Important

OpenLitterMap
Feb 5, 2019 · 4 min read

Most data collection apps ***don’t share data***. Closed data makes advancing research and eradicating pollution incredibly problematic.

Here are 3 reasons why Open Data is Important

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1. Anyone can download open data for free.

- Having free access to data allows anyone to participate in the research. When anyone can access data, science is open, transparent and democratized. This allows us to advance research and solve problems at an unrestricted speed. Surely, plastic or any other kind of pollution deserves no less.

2. Open data has complete freedom of use.

- Open data is not just free to download, but has complete freedom of use. Anyone can use open data, for any purpose, without permission or restriction. This is important to allow unrestricted access to scientific investigation. Otherwise, what limits will be imposed on what can be done with the data? When creating data on any kind of pollution, creating data with unrestricted rights to the data is critical. Creating data with anything less than unlimited public rights to what can be done with the data is inherently redundant and ineffective.

3. Citizens can make sure that governments are doing their job and governments can significantly reduce public expenditure.

- Remember that Governments work FOR US and are paid for by OUR MONEY. We should be able to scrutinise government books, and audit how effective public services are at eradicating pollution. Since citizens have the same unrestricted rights to open data as governments, anyone can make sure governments are doing their job and taking the required action. If they don’t comply, vote for someone who will. Anyone can use open data to lobby for or evaluate improved policies and services, or any other reason. Since laws are based on evidence, open data can become a standard. This will significantly drive down costs for governments, reducing your wasted tax money, improving all of the services you use and improve everyones quality of life and mental health. Littering costs governments millions every year. Maybe that money could be better spent, like housing people and paying nurses a living wage?

What is this open data stuff anyway?

  • Open data is simply raw data that anyone can download for free, and use for any purpose, without permission or restriction.

This data is also mapped at a Global Level:

https://openlittermap.com/global

And more complex maps are available at the City Level, because the browser cannot render more sophisticated maps at larger scales:

https://openlittermap.com/maps/United%20States%20of%20America/Massachusetts/Boston/map

Unfortunately, not many people think open data on pollution is important. I really thought people would sign up and support so we could hire a developer.

Anyone crowdfunding OpenLitterMap will recieve OLM tokens which will give you voting rights on the future direction of the platform.

Lots of people are using apps that are privatizing science and creating closed data that nobody can access, which will probably never be used by anyone.

Closed data is great if you want to restrict science, research, problem solving and eliminate transparency, solutions and results.

Last year, I applied for over 20 grants and they all told me to take a hike. Similarly, there is not much support from crowdfunding either despite about 1,000 tonnes of plastic going into the ocean every hour.*

* Minimum 8,000,000 tonnes of plastic entered the ocean in 2010
/ 365 = 22,000 tonnes per day
/ 24 = average of 916 tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every hour.

OpenLitterMap gives all data away for free but there are no videos, no documentation, no logo, no colour scheme, no mobile apps, or smart contracts…yet.

Shocker! Could it be that Governments and corporations don’t want us mapping product pollution and the pre-marine terrestrial characteristics of economic pollution in an open and accessible way? Newsflash! That is exactly why we need to embrace open data.

If you like my work, or maybe you think open data on pollution or the future quality of life of humanity or just biodiversity in general is important, please consider signing up and supporting the development of OpenLitterMap. This could have all been done a year ago if 1 of the 20 grants I applied for or if enough people thought my work, innovation, research, commitment, capacity, dedication and initiative or just open data on pollution in general was important.

Please stop waiting and Embrace Open Data on Plastica Pollutia. Failure to do so will be catastrophic. When victorious, we can feast on the cleanliness of our planet and put pollution in the history books where it belongs.

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