Open Data Day is an annual event organised by the open data community, which Open Knowledge International helps support and catalyse. The event celebrates the benefits and opportunities of open data and encourages the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society organisations. 2018 was the eighth year in which open data groups and organisations around the world ran online and offline events, and put open data into action in their communities.
Thousands of people and hundreds of organisations across the world help promote open data and its benefits each year in their countries but many of them are not connected to the wider community.
Open Data Day is an event for every person interested in building a community around open data. It is the opportunity to bring together new people who aren’t necessarily familiar with data or haven’t realised the opportunities of using data for their work.
As Open Data Day grows, the organisations supported are mostly newcomers and people who are in the process of building an open data community. In other cases, the groups are more experienced and see Open Data Day as an opportunity to bring new people to their communities and define next steps for engaging with data.
Spreading the word, running events and making them more useful for organisers and participants, sometimes requires a bit of support: this is where Open Knowledge International steps in.
How we helped
To foster healthy development of the Open Data Day community, Open Knowledge International communicates the importance of the event - via a website, blog posts and social media - and provides funding support. Since 2014, we have coordinated mini-grants to facilitate different events around the world and communications for the event.
The mini-grants have evolved over the years, going from supporting any event run during Open Data Day by known organisations, to supporting specific topics that are important for the community and embracing new organisations who apply. In 2018 we supported four different topics: Follow Public Money Flows, Open Research Data, Open Mapping, and Equal Development. The funding for these topics was provided by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, and the Hewlett Foundation.
The key communications support we deliver is the design, development and maintenance of the website opendataday.org. This site is the place where we give a platform to the different tracks of the mini-grant scheme, where we have a map of events, and other useful information for participants.
Open Data Day has grown to be truly a worldwide event with more than 400 events taking place across the world in 2018. Involvement has grown in recent years across the global south, specifically in African and Latin American countries. Based on the information provided by groups that requested a mini-grant from these countries, most were organising an Open Data Day event for the first time.
A few highlights from the 2018 event:
- During an Open Mapping event in Helsinki, Finland, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team convened 20 participants - most of them newcomers - who helped contribute 1555 buildings and 113 kilometres of roads and paths to OpenStreetMap
- For the Equal Development track, She Codes for Change trained 27 young girls aged 15-19 from secondary schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the basic concepts of data visualization, Scratch and photography
- The Open Science community in Philippines discussed and mapped the challenges to make more data available for open research projects