During Open Steps’s journey around the world discovering Open Knowledge initiatives, the existence of a global community of like-minded individuals and groups became clear. Across the 24 countries we visited, we could meet people working on Open Knowledge related projects in every single one of them. Currently, and thanks to social networks, blogs, discussion groups…
For the second time in South America (the first was last June in Bolivia), the World Bank launched last week a 3-days DataBootcamp in Uruguay, Montevideo, co-organised with the British Embassy and AGESIC, the Uruguayan Agency for E-government. This free data training, which already took place several times in african countries and Nepal, is the place to be if you want to learn how to make use of the technologies to work with data. With always a fix number of 25 journalists, 25 designers and 25 developers; the aim of this conference is to bring participants digital tools they can use as well in their daily work as in independent projects. That, using visualisations and Open Data sources. Because learning by doing is the most effective way, participants had to work in small groups and submit a data project that address a specific problem in Uruguay. All projects were presented at the end of the 3rd day, concurring for a 2000$ grant offered by the organisers to implement it. There were plenty of creative and fantastic ideas, so not surprising that it was hard for the jury to select just one of them. ¿Quién paga? won the price, a project whose aim is to analyse and visualise data on the financing of the upcoming election campaign 2014.
Invited to join the experts team, we ran two presentations: the first on CartoDB, the online tool to visualize georeferenced data on a map. The second was a summary of the most exciting organisations and projects we have discovered and documented during our journey so far, and we have no doubt this source of inspiration can give birth in the future to promising Uruguayan initiatives.
In Uruguay, there is FOI since 2008 which guarantees the free access to public data. A governmental Open Data platform was initiated by AGESIC in 2010 and, as Virginia Pardo (director of the E-Citizenship department) states, the site should contain 120 datasets by the end of this year, prioritising quality over quantity. Also, a citizens group named DATA, co-founded in 2009 by two of the experts present at the DataBootcamp, works on making Open Data more known and efficiently used in Uruguay. Because there is no sense to release data if it is not used afterwards. DATA hosts the regular “cafés de data”, meet-ups in Montevideo for collaborative projects, and co-organised last year, together with the chilean fellows from Ciudadano Intelligente, the pan-Latinamerica ABRE LATAM conference on Open Data. Small country, but lots of remarkable initiatives!
The 3 days have been incredibly enriching and we decided to record a short video to share with you these moments. We invite you to watch it and get a feeling of this great DataBootcamp!