Open Source/Open Society. What a great name for our conference – it is covering such a wide, very inter-connected span of action.
My area is open government data which could be described at the heart of this activity.
Ben has given you a very clear summary of open source and open data and their differences.
And yes – is he an open source geek? People tell me that I am an open data wonk!!!
I’m going to give you 4 emerging issues in NZ in this space, then celebrate some open source and open data stories.
Starting with the need for champions within our programme.
On the data supply side we have a non geek/non wonk champion at senior executive level in each central government agency and an increasing number of CRIs and local government agencies.
They have a critical role : to make open government and open government data, release in particular, a business as usual activity in their organisations. They need to demonstrate to their executive colleagues the benefits of releasing the public data that users are wanting to re-use – maybe to grow the economy, create new knowledge, engage in policy consultation, create efficiencies, illustrate government’s performance.
Plus working with willing staff championing at an operational level
These champions are very special people – they take the programme to their staff.
And likewise on the data demand side – we need champions . We have to do better here. Our contact is very ad-hoc.
Collaboration is the next emerging issue.
Open data, sharing and re-use are currently top of mind across government . There are lots of information-related programmes on the books at the moment.
These programmes are generally distributed across different departments– to share leadership and uptake . This means that those leading them must work together constantly. They must share their drive, enthusiasm and smarts thinking. Their motivations and environments may be different, so the more they collaborate the more they understand whether these differences are important.
And critically, they must collaborate with the users who want to use the open data.
We have to do better here too.
Collaborating as I described should go some way towards developing common language and definitions and achieving common results.
For example prioritising policy development.
As I understand it, there is no official government-wide position on governmental open source licensing of software it owns. I understand that there has been no strong demand for this.. I would welcome feedback from you.
A default position is NZGOAL Para 10: While NZGOAL does apply to datasets, it does not apply to software which, for example, an agency owns and may wish to release on open source terms. In such circumstances, it recommends that open source software licences should be used.
Individual agencies have released software on open source terms on an ad hoc basis (NLNZ/DIA, IR and LINZ have all done so).
Looking again at common definitions - we welcome the discussions with Open Source society on open formats. We are working collaboratively with them and Open NZ on updating our current NZGOAL guide on formats. Then we will have done better.
These principles, approved by Cabinet in 2011, were developed ccollaboratively with Open NZ ninjas.
They are the foundation for government’s management of the information it creates or stores on behalf of you, the taxpayer.
Essentially data and information must be open by default unless there are grounds for protection, in which case it must be protected.
The final issue is having a common course of action, so prioritising our work.
The OGD programme is key for NZDFF, OGP, ICT Strategy and Action Plan. and work across the broad public sector to achieve those benefits I set out earlier.
This means that we are pulled in many directions.
The Open Government Partnership needs more effective civil engagement commitment
The NZ Data Futures Forum wants the programme expanded to cover private sector data
The ICT Strategy and Action Plan wants data and information managed as a strategic asset to enable better investment decisions.
And the Global Open Data Barometer needs greater evidence of work with entrepreneurs and civil society, and much better release of data about publicly funded national contracts
Picking up on opening up our datasets, we do very well opening up our key datasets . Rated 3rd out of 86 countries.
But we are not good enough at releasing our data about publicly funded national contracts
And we could good do better with an elections API, our environmental reporting, health and schools performance and public transport timetables
Should we prioritise this work over the other programmes I have just mentioned?
Now let’s celebrate success!
Back in early 2011 LINZ released mostly software that runs LINZ to Koordinates system integration or for customer support tools. We agreed to release all LINZ OSS under the BSD licence which is very permissive. I believe we were the first NZ government agency to release OSS on github.
“ LINZ was the first public service tenant of the Catalyst Cloud, (based on Openstack, the cloud software developed by NASA), the only fully automated cloud solution available in NZ – for Crown Proporty disposals web portal and how it is being used by others to enhance the Crown disposal of land processes.
Digitalnz’s supplejack harvesting engine
Starting with examples of free open source software excellence
We are so proud that Data.govt.nz, which publicises NZ open government data made available for legal re-use., uses free and open source in the form of the common web platform (CWP) offered by Silverstripe..
There are 31 agencies using CWP, with approx. 70 websites in production. CWP is built on open source technologies, and one an award for open source in Govt 2014 The CWP recipe (content management system and modules) are open sourced (and can be used by anybody) Internal Affairs as lead on CWP is encouraging agencies to open source modules they develop, and is making it easier by producing guidance on how to open source code. See https://webtoolkit.govt.nz/blog/2015/03/better-code-sharing-on-cwp/
Internal Affairs has recently open sourced a module developed for CWP that makes it easier to comply with the Web Standards - https://webtoolkit.govt.nz/blog/2015/02/managing-accessibility/ . Publically available here - http://addons.silverstripe.org/add-ons/silverstripe/tenon
Free and open source CMS's are the default choice with other government agencies using Drupal. This trend has accelerated over the last two years. I understand the two user groups collaborate.
Around 3000 NZ schools use Mahara, the FOSS ePortfolio for students to showcase and share their work. MinEdu provides this to schools as MyPortfolio
Many more examples, particularly of OSS uploaded to GITHUB, but no more time now.
Moving to re-use. Here is one example of value add using open government data and open source tools such as PostGIS and QGIS). Thundermaps is an alerts service using location data.
They have released on GitHub as open source their “ThunderMap Bots” - tools to harvest static data and send to the ThuderMaps API – free to be improved or customised. https://github.com/cloud-source/thundermaps-bots
Enable, “crowdsourcing” –another aspect of “open society”. Examples are: Make a Kereru Count (Royal Forest and Bird Society of NZ) Myriver – report river pollution Motor cycle hazards on NZ roads Feral cat colonies Graffiti
They are a conduit for open government data: NZ Fire Service incidents/NZTA road hazards/Earthquakes (Geonet) Christchurch Mobile Library Rainfall (Environment Canterbury)/Resource consents (Wellington City Council)
Open Private Sector Data: TradeMe Property – for sale; for rent; flatmates wanted; EventFinda
Finally, let’s celebrate our 26 case studies showing the impact of open data release. Read them on ict.govt.nz. Just a drop in the bucket, but a great start I am told/
Open data and open source contribute to building a more open society
Championing, collaborating with suppliers and users, using common languages, having a common purpose let’s all commit to these as our contribution to achieving a more open society in NZ.
Finally – let’s celebrate NZ’s international open data ranking. We are thrilled with it but need to do even better by working together to build a more open society.
Keynote - Open Source//Open Society - 16 April 2015
Open Source/Open Society conference, Wellington, 16 April, 2015
Keitha Booth, Director, New Zealand Open Government Information and Data Programme