Open Data Day was celebrated by the Government of Romania, the civil society and the business sector over three days, from 20-22 February 2015, with a series of public debates and a programming marathon.
On Friday, 20 February, the Chancellery of the Prime-Minister and the civil society Coalition for Open Data, with the support of the U.S. Embassy, Embassy of the United Kingdom and the Embassy of Netherlands, organized the Open Data Day Conference, held at the National Library of Romania. Over 200 participants attended, representing public institutions, non-governmental organisations, the business sector, national and foreign experts.
The Conference began with opening remarks in support of the open data process from:
- Victor Ponta, Prime-Minister, Government of Romania,
- Andrei Muraru, Presidential Advisor (on behalf of President Klaus Iohannis),
- Dean Thompson, Charge d’Affaires a.i., U.S. Embassy,
- Belinda Volans. Head of Political Team, British Embassy in Bucharest,
- Matthijs van Bonzel, Ambassador, Embassy of the Netherlands in Romania.
The five sessions of the day were:
- Transparency and open data: a debate on the new EU PSI Directive
- Justice and open data
- Transparency in the field of natural resource exploitation
- Open data and culture
- Open data and the business sector.
The messages of the foreign and Romanian experts regarding the opening of public data focused on some essential, common elements:
- the importance of public engagement;
- the need for investments in infrastructure and resources;
- better access to public data leads to innovation and benefits all stakeholders: public administration, business sector, citizens;
- the need for a change in the mindset of all social factors. On one hand, the public servants must understand that public data belongs to everyone, and that they should facilitate citizen access to the data. On the other hand, citizens and the private sector have a duty to use the released datasets to prove their usefulness.
Open Data Day Hackathon
To facilitate and encourage the reuse of public data, an Open Data Hackathon was organized on 21-22 February 2015, hosted by the Faculty of Cybernetics, the Bucharest University of Economic Studies.
17 teams took part in the competition. The teams included experienced programmers, students, web-designers and activists and in the two days of the marathon developed applications and platforms using datasets from the national open data portal data.gov.ro. The participants benefited from the expert advice of Antonio Acuna, Head of data.gov.uk, who attended the first part of the event. The resulting apps proved useful to citizens and public administration alike.
The awarded projects:
- ONG Start –A map of non-governmental organizations in Romania, developed from the data bases provided by the Ministry of Justice. The application allows searching for any organization by key words, depending on the field of activity. Further, you can find information about that specific organization, information that is provided in a user-friendly interface.
- Postal codes map – The existing postal code system, introduced in 2003 by the Romanian Post Office, allows only the allocation of a unique code to a street or a portion of a street, without providing further information regarding the geographical area covered by a particular code. The newly created map circumscribes the areas corresponding to the postal codes.
- Fictional municipalities in Romania – By overlapping data sets from the National Institute of Statistics, the Romanian Postal Office, the National Agency for Cadastre and Real Estate Publicity, the map identifies depopulated or disappeared municipalities from Romania.
Details on all 17 projects can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ETs9M6