Yesterday I attended a meeting of SiliconHalton, a technology group in Halton region. The topic of the meeting was OpenData.
Nik Garkusha, an Open Source strategy lead at Microsoft was gave a really good presentation on what open data is, and why it is important. Based on the quality of Nik’s presentation I suspect that he often gives presentations on Open Data. I particularly liked that he started the presentation talking about how OpenStreetMap was used in Haiti after the earthquake and how crowd sourcing projects are mapping the floods in Quebec and Manitoba.
There were about 30 people in the room and most of them were not ‘opensource’ people. I hope some of them left having a better understanding of open data.
I was also talking to someone who works in the I.T. department of one of the local municipalities. He was saying that they were talking about releasing more of their data under open licenses but are worried about losing revenue. He said they currently charge land developers a lot money for some of the data. As open data advocates, I feel we need to convince these municipalities that the things that can be done by the public when the data is opened outweights the relatively small amount of money they collect selling this data.