The relationship between Open Data and Open Government is one that fascinates me. I’m curious as to how Open Data – that is, data that is easily accessible with a minimum of restrictions governing use or reuse, can be used as a conversation or focus point to increase the involvement of citizens in government. If government data is being collected to support decision-making, shouldn’t that data be shared with citizens?
For anyone heading to the 2012 Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Waterloo (May 28 – June 2), I am co-hosting (with Dr. Rob Feick) two sessions on volunteered geographic information (VGI) and GIScience 2.0. The session are called “Technology, Science and Citizens: Geographical information science (GIScience) 2.0 and the role of volunteered geographic information”. The first session is from 1:30-3:00 on Wednesday May 30, and the second is from 3:30–5:00 on the same day.
Today I’m going to provide a counter point to my last post "Why we should all learn to code". Is it true that coding is an essential skill for undergraduates, particularly those who want to use geospatial data? To interact with technology in an advanced way (i.e., as more than a user) do you have to ‘speak the language’?
I’m pleased to announce that a student project, started during the winter 2010 semester when I instructed Socioeconomic Applications of geographic information system (GIS) at McGill University, has recently been published in volume 23, no. 2 of the journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA Journal).
I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the recent work that our team at McGill has been involved with as part of the Geoweb for Community Development in Rural Quebec project. One of our partners, the Corporation de développement de la Rivière Noire (CDRN) has become very involved with developing Geoweb sites.
At the start of the 2011 Canadian federal election, CBC (Canadian public broadcaster) introduced an ingenious tool on their election coverage website – Vote Compass.
As part of the project “Geoweb and Community Development in Quebec“, two teams of McGill School of the Environment students spent the fall term 2010 working with a community-based watershed monitoring agency CDRN (Corporation de développement de la rivière Noire) to explore the potential for the Geoweb to serve as a conduit for citizen participation in watershed management. These student groups developed two tools, conducted a series of workshops with community members, and produced reports and instructional materials.
One of the most exciting Geoweb developments of 2010 has to be Crowdmap, a fully packaged, hosted, user-contributed mapping solution produced by the non-profit tech company Ushahidi. You may have heard of Ushahidi, the developers of collaborative map-making technology first used to gather reports of violence from cell phone users during the 2007 Kenyan election. This technology has since been used in many other crisis mapping situations, from the earthquake in Haiti, to the recent New York snowstorm.