Open source is now a term that is increasingly understood, or at least talked about. One of the next battles in keeping the web open is keeping data open - from the content we "generate" for many social sites to the closed silos of government and businesses.
Just like open source, open data is a mix of technology, licensing, and attitude. Here in Vancouver, we've started experimenting with what I like to call a Semantic Web Community "Barn Raising" effort. Lots of people are interested in open data and related technology that supports it, like the semantic web, RDF, etc. But it's very hard to just have nice thought experiments about all this, we learn best by doing.
Recently, I gave a talk at DrupalCon Washington DC talking about the semantic web. I said that RDFa is "food for robots", so what better data to experiment with than something related to food?
The project we're tackling is to collectively source restaurant information. The information will be stored in part on Freebase, as well as various front end mashups, iPhone apps, and other tools. Eventually, we hope to create an economic incentive so that some restaurants and/or restaurant directory websites will expose their data semantically.
The talk will be a mix of community, policy, hand waving, and technology, as well as an open call to help with this project in your own city. You'll leave with some food for thought on how open data and the semantic web are evolving, and what you can do with it today.