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Open data can only work with a Wikipedia model


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All data portals and APIs provided by the government organizations (or NGOs) have one problem - data quality. And if data is incomplete, stale or inaccurate, it is useless and sometimes even harmful. Every developer/researcher using such data starts anew, cleaning and enhancing the data. And all those efforts provide no benefits to others. We participated in a dozen of such projects, with city, state, federal and non-profit data. I believe the solution is to open the data for anyone to edit, conceptually like Wikipedia, but going one step further, giving equal access to both people and apps.

I know that it immediately raises a ton of concerns, but if the system is put in place to track all modifications, and all modifications are based on a reputation system, a-la, then it will be a win win for everyone. We have created such a system and pitched it to the NYC government. Unfortunately they were still so excited that they provided so much of "their" data to the public, that they could not see that all previous data sharing efforts made no real impact. This is the slide deck that we presented to them.

We created a set of concept apps for different branches of the NYC city government that illustrate how this Mutual Data model might work. You can see some of those apps on

In the last year we have evolved the model into an open source platform and evolved the idea of shared/mutual data into a shared data graph that enables apps to form an appnet. See readme on our Github repository for more info.

The idea of a shared Data Graph can be considered a next step after a Facebook Graph, which had a huge impact on people's lives and in creating a new app ecosystem.

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Open data can only work with a Wikipedia model

  1. 1. Platform for Open Data Government's goal is co-production of services with the community to increase citizens engagement Urbien offers Mutual Data, an upgrade of Open Data concept, that helps achieve those goals
  2. 2. Objectives for Government 1. Integrate with all government agencies 2. Create a structure holding shared data 3. In a framework nurtured by the government 4. With a lowered barrier for development enabling 100x more apps App competitions tend to inspire lots of similar isolated apps, but how many really make a difference (or money). Such a waste of talent.
  3. 3. The right structure is key Good structure and automation enables growth like a complex organism. Urbien was founded on the principles of the Semantic Web. The platform is a living breathing Web of Data
  4. 4. Built for Agile Development 1 grab data 2 define model 3 web & mobile apps Grab the data (pull or push), load them as linked data defined by the model, use them as Web and Mobile apps immediately. Additional logic can be added later.
  5. 5. Built for Cooperation City and businesses work together Developers can too Creating an environment where developers can build apps, share code and build on top of other apps
  6. 6. Every piece of data has a URL agencies near real-time flow applications businesses communities developers A rich semantic model allows to import data in close to real time without losing data normalisation. It keep data linked with Web URLs and presents the data for bidirectional access to people and apps.
  7. 7. Shared Data - Level 1 Search / Filter Search/Filter Grid Search/Filter Rows Add / Edit / Delete Add data via UI (click +Game) Edit via UI Export Entire Dataset (Parks) Any Subset (Parks in W. Bronx) Urbien Open Data platform offers data exploring, export in multiple formats and in any imaginable subset, data editing, but most importantly all data are linked.
  8. 8. Shared Data - Level 2 Each new app takes advantage of the built-in capabilities ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Login/signup via social Social connect Megabase of data models OAUTH 2.0 Shared userbase Mobile/cross-browser support Rich Text Editor Audio/Video Support Search/Filter Blogging Image processing and Galleries Payments (Amazon & PayPal), Multilingual/Translation support Bookmarks Email marketing Cloud Infrastructure Backups/Upgrades/S3 Storage Referral marketing Security All apps get access to the shared dataspace! Reputation System ● ● ● ● ● Promotes contributors Stifles the spam Data-value-specific control Gamey Levels galore Add Comment (anyone can) Add Tennis Game (most can) Add Wifi (some can) Add Publisher (must be trusted)
  9. 9. Social Integration See App posts to Facebook Timeline live Objects such as businesses, sports and activities can become timeline apps to show social activities on facebook.
  10. 10. Expanding the user base Gϵεκs / Ninjas Gϵεκs / Ninjas + Everyone else From Geeks and Hackers to all Citizens. Urbien is built so that regular users can interact with any data. Multilingual, mobile, etc. The Web 2.0 revolution was about users creating content, Open Data doesn't reflect that at the moment.
  11. 11. Data for all ● ■ ■ ■ ■ Data heads Developers Explorers Gamers Data and structure in Urbien can be discovered and consumed
  12. 12. One Web API Single DB-like API Create/read/update/delete (CRUD) uniform for all data types: e.g. Business, Neighborhood, Profile, Comment, etc. For use on Server & Client (JS and Flash support)) Examples ● Search ○ /BasketballGame - All basketball games ○ /Coupon?&$select=title - All coupons, but limit results to titles ○ /Coupon?$select=title,cap&$orderBy=cap&$asc=0&$limit=1 - get the "title" and "cap" of the coupon with the highest "cap" ● Create/Edit via OAUTH 2.0 ○ Create a resource on behalf of the user ○ Edit a resource: ■ Edit it on behalf of a user ■ Undo edit User can allow one App to use another's data via Oauth 2.0
  13. 13. Citizen dashboard Everything in a city is connected ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● New York Neighborhoods Neighborhood View (Clinton) Basketball Courts Basketball Court (De Witt) Basketball Games (De Witt) Basketball Game Activity Near Game Imported / integrated Commerce ● ● ● ● ● Business Categories Sidewalk Cafes Auctions Nominations Investments (admin) Tournaments / Competitions ● ● ● ● Any data type Neverending - periodic "snapshots" record daily/weekly/monthly/yearly winners Sponsorable Rewards Nabbing (Pinterest-style) Citizens' vehicle of choice Any public or private data can be connected to the platform to rapidly create powerful apps.
  14. 14. Towards shared data space government + community + biz + devs Each App can be a community within its walls or work together to make the city better. Which scenario is more modern?
  15. 15. Share the burden Requires new approach Government seeded Reputation-based Data Class-specific Apps act as People (via OAUTH 2.0) Additional security for Apps Throttling for people and Apps Veto right by data owners Tracking Subscriptions, Alerts Work planning - microtasking Via editable data - by people & apps
  16. 16. Digital Government Strategy “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” President Barack Obama - May 23 2012 Urbien is already committed to go beyond the government strategy objectives.