FAQ: Microsoft Open Government + Open Data (Part II)

Credits go to Mark Gayler (CSI) – Field Marketing Manager for updating this FAQ

Check Part I Here.

1. What Licensing is Required for Open Government Projects?

Before making any Government data open to the public, it is essential that licensing terms are defined and published. Many Government organizations re-use licensing terms from existing Open Government projects, e.g.

UK Government – http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/uk-gov-licensing-framework.htm

2. What Applications Have Been Developed Using Open Data?

Good examples of applications that use Open Data would include the following (these are generic examples – none use MS technologies specifically):

  • Fix My Streethttp://www.fixmystreet.com This is a site developed by MySociety.org and enables citizens to report local problems that need fixing similar to 311 e.g. broken streetlight, graffiti, etc. This site enables the citizen to upload both the location of the problem and a photo to illustrate it.
  • EveryBlockhttp://www.everyblock.com Enables citizens to find Government information such as projects, budget in any Zip Code for 78 Cities across USA.
  • Stumble Safelyhttp://www.stumblesafely.com Enables residents and visitors in Washington DC to find safest route home based on latest Transit and Law Enforcement data.

3. Why Do Governments Hold Competitions for Open Data Projects?

Once Open Data is released to the public, the intention is to generate interest, awareness and stimulate citizens and communities to build new applications and services with this data. This is also seen as a useful way to encourage participation and collaboration between the Government and citizens.

Good examples of Open Application Contests include:

4. How Does the Cloud Benefit Open Data Projects?

The Cloud is a highly effective way to publish large amounts of Open Data quickly and inexpensively without having to invest in additional Server infrastructure.

Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud operating system, provides interfaces enabling data to be loaded, stored, and accessed easily and cost effectively. Azure provides a highly scalable and reliable platform for storage and access to open data sources which are managed by the Government organization.

5. What Tools Does Microsoft Provide to Help Start an Open Data Project?

Microsoft provides the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) which is a free, open-source solution for Government organizations to load and store open data into the Microsoft Cloud – combined with an Open API enabling developers to utilize a wide variety of development languages e.g. .NET, PHP, Ruby, Python etc.

http://ogdisdk.cloudapp.net (OGDI data is available… no new updates – see Azure DataMarket)

Microsoft also provides the ‘DataMarket for Government’ managed service solution which is another way of storing and publishing large data sets in the Cloud for public and commercial consumption – http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/government/default.aspx

The UK Data.gov.uk is a good example of DataMarket being used to host open data - http://data.gov.uk/metoffice-data-archive - UK Meteorological data hosted on data.gov.uk using Windows Azure DataMarket

In general terms, think of OGDI as an ‘entry-level’ customizable solution for open data, whereas DataMarket is a managed Enterprise solution for open data.

6. Where Can I Find More Information on Microsoft’s Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI)?

(OGDI data is available… no new updates – see Azure DataMarket)

7. Are there any OGDI Projects in French language? (OGDI data is available… no new updates – see Azure DataMarket)

Yes, go here for the download from Microsoft France - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/fr-fr/details.aspx?FamilyID=420837f8-25ec-47ba-b558-b6a7f64b3348

8. What Open Data Projects Have Been Developed Using Microsoft Technologies?

9. Are any National Governments Using Microsoft Technologies for their Open Data Portals?

Yes, the following are examples of National Governments using MS technologies for their open data portals:

10. Are There Any Microsoft Open Data Applications Available for iPhone?

Yes, VanGuide was developed as an open data application using City of Vancouver open data and showcasing use of Windows Azure, Bing Maps, Silverlight, social integration with Twitter, plus a mobile client app that runs on iPhone and Windows Phone 7.

for more on this download the Windows Phone Infokit (https://aka.ms/infokit)

Part III coming  Friday 1/27…

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