Government 2.0 Taskforce » PSI http://gov2.net.au Design by Ben Crothers of Catch Media Tue, 04 May 2010 23:55:29 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.6 en hourly 1 And the Mashie Goes To…[drum roll] http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/14/and-the-mashie-goes-to/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/12/14/and-the-mashie-goes-to/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2009 02:24:47 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=1453 Mashie

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the winners of the MashupAustralia contest have now been announced.

In case you have missed it, here is some background about the contest – from launch and initial response to a final wrap-up.

We’ve also tried to follow the conversation that you have been having elsewhere about the contest. Most recently, we came across this interesting four part discussion on the All Things Spatial blog about some of the contest entries (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

All that remains is to know who will go home with the coveted Mashie (see image (yes, the trophy is a potato masher)) and, of course, the prize money. Our esteemed judging panel have deliberated and considered all of the entries against the rules. As we indicated might happen, more than one prize per category has been awarded because there were so many high quality entries.

For Excellence in Mashing, the Mashies go to:

  • Surburban Trends a mashup of different types of crime and census data that allows you compare and contrast suburbs by a range of economic, education, safety and socio-economic indicators. The judges thought the ability to compare suburbs visually combined with the selective choice of statistics was excellent especially in a field dominated by many entries using similar datasets.
  • Know Where You Live which bills itself as a prototype of a mashup of a range of open access government data based on postcodes so that you can truly know where you live. The judges loved the very citizen-centric “common questions” user experience of this app and the groovy, and again, selective repackaging of what could otherwise be considered (we’ll be honest here) slightly boring data. The integration of publicly-held historical photographs and rental price data was a nice touch as was the use of Google’s satellite images in the header. Judges were disappointed that some of the data for states other than NSW wasn’t available for inclusion. The focus on compliance only with the most modern standards compliant browsers was not seen as detrimental to this mashup.

The Highly Commendable Mashups were:

  • geo2gov which serves an excellent example of what can be possible with open government data. This entry provided an online service that will take a location description in a wide range of formats, and map that location to the government. The testament to its utility was demonstrated by the fact that several other entries used geo2gov. Contest judge Mark Pesce said that this app that was such an impressive prototype of what was possible with government data that it made his geeky pants wet.
  • Firemash a timely entry that analyses notices from the state of New South Wales’ Rural Fire Service and sends you a tweet if you are at risk. The judges were particularly impressed with this entry’s use of different services and its real time web goodness. The ability for citizens to submit fire information and be notified of nearby fires was quite unique. The dual purpose – citizen to Government and Government to citizen – possibilities with this site made it one of the few submitted mashups to explore data in this way.

And the Notable Mashing Achievements were:

  • In Their Honour which brings together service records, maps and photographs for each of the service men and women who have died for Australia. The judging panel felt that although a similar service already exists provided by the Australian War Memorial,  this entry explored the data in a noticeably different way attracting the opportunity for a different kind of engagement with the same datasets.
  • LobbyLens shows connections relevant to government business (e.g., government suppliers, government agencies, politician responsibilities, lobbyists etc.). For the judging panel, the relationship visualizations that this entry gave aligned well with much of purpose of Government 2.0 even if its usability needs a lot of work.
  • FlipExplorer this entry combines an interactive online search interface, 3D tagcloud, and timeline widget, which allows you to browse through the Powerhouse Museum’s Collection as you would any physical book. Although not truly a mashup of more than one data source, the judges felt that this was an impressive use of a visual interface.

For the People’s Choice Award, once we adjusted for the malicious voting up and voting down (shame on you who partook), the clear winner was In Their Honour — which is consistent with the judge’s thoughts on its usability. As commenter Nerida Deane said “I just looked up my Great Uncle Al and found the site easy to use and I liked the information it gave me. Maybe one day I’ll have a chance to visit his memorial.”

The Student Prize goes to Suburban Trends (obviously) and to Suburban Matchmaker, which the judges felt was a clever idea (albeit potentially raising some interesting questions for future ethics classes). Because rewarding and encouraging our students can never be a bad thing, the judges also agreed to award both Earth:Australia and Community Rivers each a partial student prize for a commendable effort in student mashing.

Finally, the Transformation Challenge for entries that enhance and/or make datasets available for re-use programmatically – the bonus prizes are awarded to geo2gov (see above), Neogopher (judges’ comment: this provides a pretty comprehensive set of transformation and API access to many of the data.australia.gov.au datasets in one place) and absxml (judges’ comment: a nice conversion idea that needs a bit of work to make it more usable.).

Finally, as part of any awards ceremony some thank-yous are required. A repeated big thank you to all of those involved in organizing the hackfests, to those who participated in the events and everyone who submitted entries or provided comments and feedback. Many thanks are due to our esteemed judging panel for their time and attention to all 82 entries. Thanks also to the Federal, State and Territory government agencies who provided datasets for the contest. And to the teams on the Taskforce Secretariat at the Australian Government Information Management Office and at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy who provided the project support. This has been a collaboration in every sense of the word and hopefully demonstrated its purpose namely, to show what is possible when agencies liberate their data…

[cue the music to cut the presenter short and get them off the stage]

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Australia, You Have Been Mashed http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/18/australia-you-have-been-mashed/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/18/australia-you-have-been-mashed/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2009 05:32:56 +0000 Mia Garlick http://gov2.net.au/?p=1353
OpenAustralia Hackfest, Halans CC BY-NC-SA

OpenAustralia Hackfest, Halans CC BY-NC-SA

Last Friday November 13, 2009 saw the close of the entry period for our Mashup Australia contest. While our esteemed judging panel is now hard at work assessing the entries, it’s timely to pause and consider how it has gone so far….in word: wow!! The response has been fantastic.

As you may recall, the contest was designed to provide a practical demonstration of the benefits that open access to public sector information can provide. We asked you – the community – to help us with this. We released some datasets on terms and in formats that enable reuse and asked you to help us show the benefit that can result. And show us you did.

We have had 81 entries — a huge result that positions this contest on par with similar contests held in other jurisdictions (or possibly even with greater impact if you pro rata entries per head of the population ☺). The entries are diverse in their focus – from Australia’s world heritage listed areas, to a Darwin bus map, to “Know Where You Live” (a visualization of Australian Government data based on your geographic location with accompanying images relevant photo).

Without doubt, considerable momentum for the contest was generated by the hackfests that were organized to get people together, sharing skills and ideas and building things. One of these – GovHack (see this report back) – was supported by the Taskforce but four others – the GoogleHackNights #1 and #2, the Melhack and the OpenAustralia Google Hackfest (see this report back) – were self-organised. All of them were huge successes.

All in all, I think its fair to say that you have definitely helped us demonstrate the innovative potential that can be unlocked when government information itself is unlocked, both via the hackfests but also via the blog posts explaining how you created your mashups (see e.g. “Building mashups for the society (Mashup Australia”) and “In Their Honour – Mapping Anzac Graves”). You have also helped us better understand how government data can be improved with your feedback about your experiences in trying to use the data (thanks, for example, to pamelafox and Jo Decker).

A big thank you to all of those involved in organizing the hackfests, to those who participated in the events and everyone who submitted entries or provided comments and feedback.

Don’t forget, we are keeping public voting open until 4pm this Friday November 20th and don’t worry geo2gov, we’re on those attempts at vote rigging.

Stay tuned to find out who the Mashies go to….. ]]> http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/18/australia-you-have-been-mashed/feed/ 3 Whole of Government Information Publication Scheme http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/09/whole-of-government-information-publication-scheme/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/09/whole-of-government-information-publication-scheme/#comments Mon, 09 Nov 2009 04:18:38 +0000 Eric Wainwright http://gov2.net.au/?p=1321 Eric Wainwright of eKnowledge Structures has been commissioned by the Taskforce to undertake Project 7 regarding a Whole of Government Information Publication Scheme.

Not a topic that has inspired much discussion so far! But here at eKnowledge Structures, Dagmar Parer and I have been wrestling with our brief under Taskforce Project 7.

The proposed new Freedom of Information legislation, together with the Bill establishing the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) are scheduled to come into Parliament by 2009. If the Bills are passed, the Commissioner will have some fairly wide powers relating to Commonwealth information management. The Information Publication Scheme (IPS) will be mandatory for all Commonwealth Departments and agencies. Queensland has been in the forefront with such Schemes, basing its approach on the UK model. It has clearly influenced not only the new Commonwealth legislation but also the Government Information (Public Access) Act in NSW, and the Right to Information Bill in Tasmania.

We are considering how these schemes might be constructed and implemented in a way that actually results in assisting the Government’s objectives for more pro-active and open disclosure of, and around, information held by Government agencies.

Some questions to kick off discussion are:

  • There is a risk that the IPS will be seen by agencies as just an additional compliance chore to add to their existing list – Annual Reports, Senate lists of files, etc. How can we minimise this risk?
  • Can the IPSs be implemented so that they act as a catalyst for more integrated agency information management planning and practices, and clearer information pathways for the public?
  • The Bill (section 8A) refers to ‘operational information’ which must be published, and allows that ‘the agency may publish other information held’. Is there a right balance between maximum pro-active disclosure under these clauses and the potentially extra costs of publishing and maintaining very little used material on agency websites?
  • Can we use IPS’s to advance the visibility, availability and utility of government data from a much wider range of agencies?
  • How best can the OIC create initial momentum for a positive roll-out of Schemes across government, and then assist agencies in the on-going plans required by the new Act?

Or any other comments!

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GovHack: govt data + hackers + caffeine == good times http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/05/govhack/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/05/govhack/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2009 00:53:24 +0000 John Allsopp http://gov2.net.au/?p=1297 John Allsopp from Web Directions was an organiser of GovHack, an event sponsored by the Taskforce. It was held on the 30th and 31st of October 2009 to encourage greater use and availability of government data in support of the MashupAustralia contest.

Govhack

For those who’ve not heard of them, the rather ominously sounding “hack days” are events that have been gaining popularity with developers around the world. They bring together web focussed designers, developers and other experts to build web applications and mashups in a 24 hour period.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, no Government at any level anywhere in the world has been willing to not only open up their data for people to “hack” but actually host a “hack day” to bring people together to do so.

At least not until last Friday and Saturday, when GovHack, an initiative of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce was held at the ANU in CSIRO’s ICT Lab and the ANU’s Computer Science department. Around 150 “hackers” (hacking, btw, is a typically positive term among developers, it’s only in mainstream usage that it tends to have negative connotations) from all over Australia came together and built numerous incredibly sophisticated web applications and mashups, some, like the Judge’s overall winners “Lobby Clue” by teams of people who’d never even met before the day.

Govhack kicked off with an hour or so of short sharp presentations, by members of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, and the developer community, along with “data owners”, both in Government and commercial, spruiking their data wares to the assembled hacker community.

Teams then got down to business, exploring the growing number of government data sets available online, “speed dating” to find hackers in search of teams with skills they needed, and planning their hacks.

Throughout the night, teams coded away, fuelled by caffeine (and it must be said excellent food, fruit, juices, and camaraderie.) Even well after midnight, a couple of dozen remained working, with a palpable buzz in the air, while Taskforce chair Dr Nicholas Gruen was still to be found discussing the merit of various sites and hacks at 2am. A dozen or so hardy souls even managed to hack all night.

Saturday morning saw new teams arrive, and the less hardy return from hotel rooms and home to restart their development. Senator Kate Lundy, now dubbed the “Patron Senator of Geeks” spent quite some time interviewing various participants, with the video hopefully available soon. As the 4pm deadline loomed, frantic (geek speak alert) XML to JSON conversions, JavaScript debugging and API reverse engineering were occurring throughout the CSIT Building on the ANU Campus.

Just what was achieved for all the effort? Before turning to some of the genuinely outstanding projects, a few outcomes from the event illustrate the breadth of the achievements. A few teams found themselves in need of postcode to Local Government Authority conversions, but while the data was sort of available, it was far from easily usable. Stephen Lead from LPMA in NSW took the less than ideal data and transformed it into a far more usable format. Then Mark Mansour from Sensis created a database and API (an Application Programming Interface is a standardized way of applications talking to one another) for the data, to make it much easier for anyone to use. Within an hour or two, two teams at GovHack were actually using this API. In a similar vein, Rob Manson, from MOB created a single JSON API to many of the disparate data sources available on data.australia.gov.au. Meanwhile, the NSW State Government launched their new data catalogue to make sure the data was available for GovHack.

So what exactly did people build? In all there were around 20 projects presented at the end of the 24 hours, almost all of which were conceived and built at the event itself. Many were geo/mapping focussed, but others focussed on data visualisation and exploration, the next wave of web applications in many people’s opinion. The level of complexity, sophistication, and novelty of many of the projects was extraordinary, given the tight time constraints. Projects that you can actually use right now included (keep in mind their alpha state)

  • The overall winners LobbyClue, by a team comprising members many of whom had never met before the event. LobbyClue is an in-depth visualisation of lobbying groups’ relations to government agencies, including tenders awarded, links between the various agencies, and physical office locations
  • Know where you live, a stylish presentation of ABS data (along with Flickr Geocoded photos), pulling in relevant information for a particular postcode: rental rates, average income, crime rates, and more. Built by a team of developers who work at News Digital Media.
  • What the Federal Government Does, an enormous tag cloud of the different functions of government, combined with visualisations of government functions shared between departments.
  • Rate A Loo demonstrates a community engagement idea, seeded with government provided data. Allows users to locate and then rate the condition of public toilets.
  • It’s buggered, mate, In true Australian style, allows you to report buggered toilets, roads, etc, with an easy-to-use graphical interface overlayed on a map. Their idea was to combine this with local government services to fix issues in the community. Built by a team of developers from Lonely Planet.
  • Many more fantastic projects can be found at the GovHack site.

A huge thanks to AGIMO and the Taskforce for enabling it all, CISRO’s ICT Lab and the ANU Computer Science Department for providing a venue and network facilities, to Microsoft, whose Project Fund helped make GovHack a reality. Numerous volunteers from AGIMO and the web developer community helped ensure the success of GovHack, and a big thanks to them as well. And of course the participation of so many developers from all over the country ensured that the event produced lasting value. Hopefully more than a few of the 24 hour hacks turn into applications we’ll be using for years to come. Above all thanks to you.

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BTalk Australia Interview http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/04/btalk-australia-interview/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/11/04/btalk-australia-interview/#comments Wed, 04 Nov 2009 06:06:00 +0000 Nicholas Gruen http://gov2.net.au/?p=1289 Just a quick post: in case anyone’s interested, here’s an interview I did a few days ago with Phil Dobbie from BTalk Australia.  We talked about topics including the benefits of releasing public sector information, government use of Web 2.0, and my own series of  Inquiries 2.0 blog posts (parts one, two and three). You can listen to the interview at the link above, or stream it through the player below:

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Making Government Data More “Hack”able http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/28/making-government-data-more-hackable/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/28/making-government-data-more-hackable/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2009 04:56:18 +0000 Pamela Fox http://gov2.net.au/?p=1262 At Google, we think it’s pretty awesome that the government is holding a contest to mash government data. As a company with a lot of APIs, we love when people use them to make mashups, and as a company with a mission of making data universally accessible and useful, we love to see governments opening up their data. So we’ve arranged a couple of events in support of the contest. We held a 3-hour “MashupAustralia HackNight” on October 14th, we’re holding another one tonight, and we’re hosting the OpenAustralia HackFest from Nov 7-8. At our first hack night, we started off with talks on the contest, mashups and APIs, and putting data on maps. Then, since we conveniently had a representative from data.australia.gov.au at the event, we took the opportunity to search through their database and find useful datasets. We found a couple really good ones — the NSW Crime set and the Victoria Internet locations set — but we also found a lot of really hard to use sets. Since part of the goal of this contest is to figure out what characters define a useful dataset, and to encourage governments to adopt those, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a few basic tips:

  • Format: Generally not a good idea to share data in a binary format. It is more compact, but it is less accessible to developers. The best format is an API (REST or XML-RPC) or more simply, an RSS feed with all the entries. The next-best format is a well-structured CSV or spreadsheet, as many database systems can easily input those. If you are going to use a more obscure format, provide tips on how to use it. (This is something that the data.australia.gov.au site could also provide).
  • Size: Some data sources provided zip files that were around 300 megabytes. Most developers aren’t going to download 300 megabytes if they don’t know what the data looks like, and what makes up that size. If you are going to provide a large file, I suggest also providing a preview file.
  • Geo data: The vast majority of the data sources are related to geographic regions or points, but the vast majority also didn’t provide enough geographic data. If possible, you should provide the address and the latitude/longitude coordinate. If the data describes a region, provide an array of coordinates. A great example of this is the NSW fire feed – it provides an address, a point, and a polygon.

These are simple suggestions, but they can make a world of difference in terms of making data useful. We hope to see more government agencies opening up their data for developers and evaluating how they’re doing so. But we also hope to see developers using the current data as much as possible, and coming up with more ideas. Please join us at one of our future events!

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Canberra one day, London the next http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/26/canberra-one-day-london-the-next/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/26/canberra-one-day-london-the-next/#comments Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:52:21 +0000 Nicholas Gruen http://gov2.net.au/?p=1228

Yes folks, a few hours after I was seen in Canberra at the CeBit Gov2 Conference last week I was seen in London talking about PSI.

Having cancelled my trip to London to focus on report writing, I made a video with a few hours (and anxious moments) to spare and uploaded 53 Megs of PSI so that it could be downloaded in London, and it apparently got there and was played with nary a technical hitch.

I’m not a big fan of watching videos – because it’s so much quicker to read transcripts. Alas at this stage there is no transcript. So if you want to watch it, you can view it below.

The ideas I developed were:

  • That opening up PSI is an extension of the principles of competition policy (which were about getting the market access to important infrastructure at marginal cost (OK well at average cost, but if the asset has already been built by the public sector, the optimal price is marginal cost.)
  • The importance of serendipity and the according importance of licencing PSI in a way analogous to APIs for software, which is to say CC.
  • A possible transition from where we are now with PSI 1.0 if I might call it that in which governments supply their data for further value adding towards a model in which the public provide more of that data (quoting the paper I quoted in the Inquiries 2.0 blog post).
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The Three Laws of Open Data http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/20/the-three-laws-of-open-data/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/20/the-three-laws-of-open-data/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2009 05:40:40 +0000 David Eaves http://gov2.net.au/?p=1190 David Eaves is a member of the Taskforce’s International Reference Group.

Over the past few years I have become increasingly involved in the movement for open government – and more specifically advocating for Open Data, the sharing of information government collects and generates freely towards citizens such that they can analyze it, repurpose and use it themselves. My interest in this space comes out of writing and work I’ve down around how technology, open systems and generational change will transform government. Earlier this year I began advising the Mayor and Council of the City of Vancouver helping them pass the Open Motion (referred to by staff as Open3) and create Vancouver’s Open Data Portal, the first municipal open data portal in Canada. More recently, Australia’s Government 2.0 Taskforce has asked me to sit on its International Reference Group.

Obviously the open government movement is quite broad, but my recent work has pushed me to try to distill out the essence of the Open Data piece of this movement. What, ultimately, do we need and are we asking for.  Consequently, while presenting for a panel discussion on Conference for Parliamentarians: Transparency in the Digital Era for Right to Know Week organized by the Canadian Government’s Office of the Information Commissioner I shared my best effort to date of this distillation: Three laws for Open Government Data.

The Three Laws of Open Government Data:

  1. If it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist
  2. If it isn’t available in open and machine readable format, it can’t engage
  3. If a legal framework doesn’t allow it to be repurposed, it doesn’t empower

To explain, (1) basically means: Can I find it? If Google (and/or other search engines) can’t find it, it essentially doesn’t exist for most citizens. So you’d better ensure that you are optimized to be crawled by all sorts of search engine spiders.

After I’ve found it, (2) notes that, to be useful, I need to be able to use (or play with) the data. Consequently, I need to be able to pull or download it in a useful format (e.g. an API, subscription feed, or a documented file). Citizens need data in a form that lets them mash it up with Google Maps or other data sets, or analyze in Excel. This is essentially the difference between VanMaps (look, but don’t play) and the Vancouver Data Portal, (look, take and play!). Citizens who can’t play with information are citizens who are disengaged/marginalized from the discussion.

Finally, even if I can find it and use it, (3) highlights that I need a legal framework that allows me to share what I’ve created, to mobilize other citizens, provide a new service or just point out an interesting fact. This is the difference between Canada’s House of Parliament’s information (which, due to crown copyright, you can take, play with, but don’t you dare share or re-publish) and say, Whitehouse.gov which “pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected.”

Find, Use and Share. That’s want we want.

Of course, a brief scan of the internet has revealed that others have also been thinking about this as well. There is this excellent 8 Principle of Open Government Data that are more detailed, and admittedly better, especially for a CIO level and lower conversation.  But for talking to politicians (or Deputy Ministers or CEOs), like those in attendance at that panel discussion or, later that afternoon, the Speaker of the House, I found the simplicity of three resonated more strongly; it is a simpler list they can remember and demand.

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Over the Rainbow – Not for Profit PSI Project Ideas http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/09/not-for-profit-psi/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/09/not-for-profit-psi/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2009 00:08:58 +0000 Peter Alexander [Taskforce Secretariat] http://gov2.net.au/?p=1141 The not-for-profit sector constantly juxtaposes visionary ideas for improving society against a reality of limited resources and expertise – including cheap and timely access to relevant public sector information.

But what if we could change one of the ground rules by opening up public sector data sets for use in a not-for-profit setting?  What possibilities for improving our society and our democracy would this seemingly simple mind-shift open up?

Rather than waiting around for this to happen, the Taskforce has decided to run another contest to fast-track the generation of ideas for using public sector data in a not-for-profit setting, and help the winner turn this idea into a project proposal.

Category Prize

The Taskforce will select the best idea(s) for using public sector information in a not for profit setting and award a cash donation of $5,000 to a charity/not-for-profit organisation of the winner’s choice.  The winner(s) (or their nominated not-for-profit organisation) will be provided assistance from Connecting Up Australia to scope their idea as project proposal that the Taskforce can consider funding from the Project Fund.

Entries for the competition are due by 5pm, October 30 5Pm, November 6, although after that we’ll leave the IdeaScale page open and running for continued discussion and participation.

Also note that as before all submissions will be subject to the IdeaScale Terms and Conditions, which also has instructions about how to create an account for our IdeaScale page.

Visit Government 2.0 Taskforce Ideas – Not For Profit PSI

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Help wanted: Stories for Government 2.0 http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/06/help-wanted-stories-for-government-2-0/ http://gov2.net.au/blog/2009/10/06/help-wanted-stories-for-government-2-0/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2009 02:25:54 +0000 Nicholas Gruen http://gov2.net.au/?p=1131
Location of identified cholera infections by address (London)

Location of cholera infections by address (London)

Ed Parsons of Google Europe gave the Taskforce an excellent presentation last Friday and it began with a telling example. In the nineteenth century the epidemiologist John Snow mapped the places in London where there had been incidents of Cholera.  An opponent of the ‘miasma’ theory which held that cholera spread by people breathing foul air, his map demonstrated pretty powerfully that the cholera outbreak in Soho was related to a single water outlet on was able to argue convincingly that the source of the outbreak as the public water pump on Broad Street (which Wikipedia helpfully informs us is now Broadwick Street).

The anecdote appealed to me because it made the point that the information agenda is ageless – information has been improving our lives for a very long time. The example also shows how much information improves our lives, not just the bottom line. And it shows how setting information out in some new way can ‘unlock’ its worth to us.  Snow’s 19th century equivalent of a ‘mashup’ gave us eyes to ’see’ the evidence in a powerful new way. It’s stories like this that will be crucial for getting our message across.

I can think of plenty of examples like this, but I wanted to ask you guys if you can give us your favourite examples. We’re after examples where ‘mash-ups’ or other Web 2.0 phenomena have made a big difference to some aspect of economic and social life.

There’s also what we’ve called ‘online engagement’. I’ve already used the example of the National Library’s use of online volunteers to correct digitised newspapers. I think such examples could be taken much further, with pathways to involve the best of such volunteers who were well disposed to the idea to greater levels of involvement, including in a deliberative as well as a ‘service provision’ capacity. But at least in the case of the NLA so far, that’s hypothetical. Who has taken this further and how?

Another example that’s often mentioned is the way the NZ Police used a pubic public wiki to help refine their new Police Act. It’s a good story, and good on them for doing it, but in fact when talking to the people there, its motive was a ‘marketing’ one, of getting the story of the consultation out there – and it succeeded brilliantly – all the way to the New York Times. But the public deliberation on the wiki did not lead to a substantial number of refinements to the Act.

So where are some better examples of the potential for online engagement to improve the outcomes of government service delivery and policy making?

Anyway, I’d really appreciate as many compelling examples of Government 2.0 making a difference as you can provide.

(I wonder if there are any stories which can be told in some kind of repeated form – “before Government 2.0 this agency did that with this effect, but now it does this with much better effects”.)

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