“Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose.”

Open Knowledge Foundation 

The open data community is rapidly growing, with governments, organizations, developers, enterprises and even ordinary citizens all over the world joining the movement and participating in events such as International Open Data Day and local “hackathons”. More and more types of data are being shared, including cultural, scientific, financial, transportation and meteorological. Using open data, private and public developers are coming up with apps and websites that do everything from giving you the latest health reports on your favourite burger joint to alerting you to potholes on your way to work.

Open data has the power to transform the web – in fact, it’s already doing just that. Gone are the days when the internet was a repository for static reference material. Sharing data online and using it in new ways enables us to act and react in real time like never before.

Why should data be open?

Why wouldn’t we want to share data freely? True, there’s an element of vulnerability that comes with being completely transparent with data. Some opponents fear that private companies may use the data for their own benefit, without regard for the greater good. Others claim that open data creates a digital divide between those savvy enough to work with the data and those who aren’t.

Despite these concerns, the increased transparency, innovation, and engagement that happen with open data are all overwhelmingly positive.

“The more information we put into the web in this open space, the more we’re going to be able to see patterns and new ways of using the data.”

So, why am I so excited about open data? It’s the possibilities. Who knows what will happen as we continue to share and look at data from different perspectives? I can’t wait to see where this takes us.

Resources:

  • http://open.canada.ca/en/blog/open-data-across-canada-snapshot
  • https://okfn.org/
  • http://od4d.net/
  • http://www.zdnet.com/article/open-data-and-the-api-economy-when-it-makes-sense-to-give-away-data/
  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/federicoguerrini/2015/01/27/the-dark-side-of-open-data-its-not-only-how-much-you-open-but-how-and-why/#15681cdc79c5
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