They say that information is the driving force of innovation, and never before have we had the potential to access more information than we do now. Organisations and Governments can gather and record global and local data more accurately and at a greater scale than ever before, data that can bring about tangible and meaningful change. The question is, are we maximising the transformative potential of all of this data, and if not, what is the barrier?
The opportunity to utilise data lies in producing open data. Open data refers to data that is freely available and discoverable, published with licences that allow reuse. On a global scale, open data allows governments and organisations to create bespoke systems and solutions based on the actual, rather than assumed, needs of communities. A study, “Open government data and why it matters” (Commonwealth of Australia 2016), produced by the Australian Bureau of Communications Research suggests that open government data has an Australian economy wide value of between $500 million and $25 billion per year and can create measurable improvements in personalised health care and job creation, and foster more empowered communities.
Open data can include anything from average rainfall, healthcare, geographical and demographical information; to historical records and community engagement statistics. It can tell you how many people visited State Library of Queensland between 2006 and 2017, or provide a complete list of music relating to our fair city of Brisbane. How can we actually use this data? By applying the information that’s available, we can create more effective humanitarian efforts, more successful natural disaster preparedness and relief, and more transparent government. One a personal level, individuals are using open data to build networking apps that connect like-minded groups of people or provide services, such as dog walking. Open data is also being used to make it easier for people to experience their cities and become more active in their communities.
In 2012 the Open Data Institute (ODI) was founded to make open data more accessible globally. The Open Data Institute Queensland (ODIQ) is one of two Pioneer Nodes within the Global Network. ODIQ is committed to upholding the integrity of the ODI Global Network, and making open data accessible and beneficial for everyone. As more organisations begin to publish open data ODIQ is the conduit for organisations, governments and individuals alike to discover what data is available to them, and how it can be used effectively.
Want to know more about open data? ODI Queensland is partnering with State Library on 4 May to deliver the second talk in the Digital Futures series, talking about finding and using open data to unlock its value for yourself or your business.
State Library of Queensland supports open access to information and ideas as a key enabler for a strong, well-informed and innovative society: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/about-us/corporate/open-data
“Open government data and why it matters”: https://www.communications.gov.au/publications/open-government-data-and-why-it-matters
Australian government data.gov.au – Organisations – State Library of Queensland: http://data.gov.au/organization/slq
Open Data Institute Queensland: http://queensland.theodi.org/
Digital Futures Lunchtime Talks: Intro to Open Data (part II): https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/digital-futures-lunchtime-talks-intro-to-open-data-part-ii-tickets-31309746294
Project Officer, Signature Program