Users sought to help govt with open data use

Private-sector partnership in the frame

A group of open-government-data champions are soliciting ideas on the theme “solving real-world problems using government data” for a planned workshop on July 29 in Wellington.

Department of Conservation chief information officer Trudy Rankin has emailed an invitation to selected contacts to come up with productive, practical suggestions. “We want to brainstorm ways in which New Zealand government data could be used to solve some real world problems,” she writes in the invitation.

“Our idea is that with the help of a group of people representing the ‘real world’ we could identify some burning questions and some key datasets that could be used to help answer these questions. We will run another workshop later with government people to work out how those datasets could be made available.”

Media and public servants, apart from a few DoC staff, have been excluded, as the intention is to involve users of government data. However, they are welcome to follow the discussions and contribute via Twitter (hashtag is #nzdata), Rankin says.

DoC itself, like many government agencies, has been working on making the data it holds more readily available to the public, Rankin says, but most agencies’ resources for such an exercise are limited, hence the need to prioritise for the most useful implementations.

Private-sector partnership is definitely part of the picture, she says, and it should be possible to draw a clear line between taxpayer-subsidised base data and value added by private organisations, which users will be expected to pay for. With government emphasis on “doing more with less”, she says, agencies are unlikely to be able to meet public needs for information on their own.

It is hoped that a group of 15 to 20 will come together to kick off the exercise. It is being run as part of the Open Data stream of the all-of-government Data and Information Re-use work programme, led by Land Information NZ chief executive Colin MacDonald.

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Tags open government dataTrudy Rankin

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