May and June are conference season, so I’ve spend most of these two months traveling around Europe. On 26 June I was in Linz, Austria to deliver the opening key-note at the Austrian national open government data conference.

As I had presented on last year’s edition of the conference as well, I looked back at what was accomplished in the last year, and what we are looking at for the near future. Judging by the data released, the number of competitions and data portals launched, and the ambitious plans for the EU Open Data Strategy by the EC, a lot has been achieved.

But one has to wonder if that is really true.

Because most output of competitions is not sustainable. Most really interesting data (such as key registers) is not available. Most data portals have only small amounts of data on offer. And changing the law (for the EU strategy) takes years. On top of that most of us don’t really know what to do with the data, we lack the skills.

So there is much room for improvement, and we need to keep building momentum. This can be done by convincing government bodies that publishing data is of use to themselves as a policy instrument. And by augmenting government data with private sector data that comes from areas like banks, utilities, (health) insurers, and food. As well as by adding our self-generated data.

We need the data to solve the complex problems our societies are facing. No way around it.

Slides below: