Horizon Blog

OKCon 2013

I spent last week at the 2013 Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) which took place in Geneva and was co-organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and OpenData.ch, the Swiss Chapter of the OKFN. Some of the key highlights from the event, at least from the sessions I attended, included the following:

  • The idea of empowerment through open knowledge and that the real power of open data is in how people use it – Rufus Pollock, Chair of OKFN
  • The European Union is strongly in favour of open data and is not only making lots of their own data open through the EU data portal but is working towards presumptions in favour of open data both in law and in research – Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission
  • Most people don’t care about open data but good quality data makes everyone’s lives easier and opening data helps improve the quality of that data – Chris Taggart, Open Corporates
  • Demand for open data is widespread and people who have limited access to open data can still use it in innovative ways when given the opportunity – Sam Lee and Filipe Esteban from The World Bank who have undertaken open data activities with entirely offline communities in the developing world as a way of understanding demand for open data
  • Did you know that all of CERN‘s research is available as open data? John Ellis’s talk on “Opening Particle Physics” was one of my favourite sessions at OKCon
  • The Open Government Partnership may not be perfect but it provides an unparallelled opportunity for opening up governments worldwide and using open data for good – Rakesh Rajani, OGP Civil Society Chair

More details about the conference programme including recordings of sessions that were live-streamed are available via the OKCon website. The Open Knowledge Festival for 2014 was also announced at OKCon and will take place in Berlin from June 15th – 18th 2014. 

All in all it was a really interesting event covering lots of different themes in the world of open data – from open government data to using open data for environmental purposes, education and much more besides. I’ll be writing some additional posts over the next few weeks about the sessions I attended on “my data and open data” and “how to run your own data expedition” as these are very relevant to a number of Horizon’s key areas of work so please watch this space!