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

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

Check Part I Here. and Part II Here.

1. Are There Any Open Data Applications Available for Windows Phone 7?

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.

2. Do Open Government or Open Data Technology Projects Require Open Source Software (OSS)?

No – open source software is not required for Open Government. Open Government and Open Data technology projects can be built with the same mixture of tools and technology as with any other IT project (both proprietary and open source). There are no particular advantages of open source software (OSS) in Open Government or Open Data initiatives. Government organizations should select technology based on ‘fit for purpose’ and taxpayer value.

Microsoft offers both commercial and open source solutions for Open Government and Open Data projects.

3. What Costs/Resources Does a Typical Startup Open Data Catalog Require?

Microsoft OGDI = Free download from Codeplex.

Windows Azure Subscription Cost = <$500 per month (budgetary, depends on volume of data and # transactions). Windows Azure and MSDN often have developer incentives and Starter Offers e.g. first 6 months Free. See www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/pricing

Time to Setup Open Data Catalog (Customer/Partner) = 1 - 2 persons up to 3-4 weeks

4. What Alternative Technologies Exist in the Open Data Arena?

There are no strong vendors or technologies that dominate Open Government or Open Data projects as yet. We are seeing many open data projects developed using technologies such as Drupal, Google Maps, PHP, and WebKit for iPhone.

For Open Data Catalogs and Portals, the primary alternative technologies we are seeing typically use Drupal, Google Maps, CKAN (open source), and/or Socrata (Commercial).

5. Can Microsoft and Alternative Solutions be Combined?


We sometimes find the BEST solution for Government customers is to combine different (even competitive) technologies for a richer, hybrid solution e.g. Drupal with CKAN with OGDI/Azure. This has been done successfully in the following projects:

UK Data.gov.uk - http://data.gov.uk/metoffice-data-archive - UK Meteorological data hosted on data.gov.uk using Windows Azure DataMarket

http://www.emitter.ca – Provides localized tracking of environmental data. Uses Drupal combined with OGDI and Windows Azure for data storage.

http://datadotgc.ca – A catalog of Canadian Federal open data. Uses CKAN open source solution combined with OGDI and Windows Azure.

In particular, we often find that CKAN and OGDI are complementary technologies. CKAN is strong at data-publishing and self-service, whereas OGDI provides robust Cloud-based storage combined with an Open API for developers.

There is even a Drupal/OGDI integration module available at http://ogdifield.codeplex.com.

6. What Tools and Frameworks Are Available to Enable Development of Customized Solutions?

There are many demos, tools and framework projects available to help build customized solutions. These are some examples:

7. Are there Any Partner Solutions for Open Government and Open Data Projects?

Yes, there are several examples of Open Government solutions from Partners:

8. What Are the Partner Opportunities for Open Government and Open Data Projects?

There are many opportunities for partners to develop products and services to service Open Government initiatives. For Open Data projects, these opportunities fall broadly into 3 categories:


Hope you find this FAQ series useful. Open and Mobile is the way of the now and tomorrow… it all starts here https://aka.ms/infokit.

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