A busy week, this first full working week of the year.
In this week I

  • had to reacquiant myself with all the ongoing work. Our few days away to Switzerland clearly had me letting go effectively, as I couldn’t really remember much of what I was working on upon my return
  • discussed the design of sessions on ethical aspects of geodata usage with colleague Frank
  • sat down with our new colleague Emily to discuss two projects I will be working on with her: the EU research into high value data sets, and mapping out the national and international legal framework of access to information, transparency and open data in the Netherlands
  • worked with colleague Sara to regain an overview of our work for a province (using our new self-hosted cloud to document things), and set next actions for the coming week(s), followed up later with scheduling a range of meetings and sessions
  • restarted the work with another province, on implementing an open data publishing platform and establishing a role and process for its maintenance
  • started tracking our household expenses in more detail to have better overview of how our liquidity evolves over time.
  • discussed stakeholdermapping around circular economy with a province, and how that might create useful data, and be used in visualisations for additional insights (network analysis)
  • joined a national working group of provinces to talk about our experiences in the utility and nonsense of research into open data user needs
  • had our first team meeting at a client’s for the year. Discussing transitioning into a new 3 year budget cycle, and how that does and does not affect ongoing work
  • had conference call with our research team and European Commission on the first steps of our EU high value data sets research, which is part of the changed PSI Directive (the EU’s open government data regulation), which will enter into national law by mid 2021.
  • Worked on the energy poverty provincial subsidy experiment. It’s nearing launch, although afterwards we will keep adding automation in the background. Aim is to reduce the time needed to pay out a subsidy from 17 weeks to 3 working days, which is essential for the intended recipients. This week as part of that I had to dive down the rabbithole of what rules determine data exchange between different government entities, especially if the originally planned regulatory framework for it never got fully implemented.

Next week looks less intensive, which is good, as it allows me to dive deeper into some aspects of the flurry of things this week started out with.


This week in…2010*

Haiti EarthquakeDestruction in Port-au-Prince, after the January 12th Haïti earthquake. Image by RIBI Image Library, license CC BY

On January 12th 2010 a major earthquake struck Haïti. It was devastating. It was also the first time that the Open Street Map‘s disaster response team, HOT (Humanitarian OSM Team) became very visible and provided tremendous value to disaster relief efforts on the ground in Port-au-Prince. Volunteers from around the world within days mapped the disaster area to high detail, using aerial photos from before and after the earthquake. This meant high quality maps were available to aid teams and locals. See the striking difference between the two images on this page from 2010. HOT would go on to do similar work in the wake of other disasters, such as in Nepal. It is still an extremely striking example of what communities can do if you allow the re-use of things like aerial photography and satellite images. It is why e.g. the EU’s Copernicus/Sentinel sattelite network is so valuable, as it publishes all that data for all to use. Open Street Map continues to be a tremendous example of re-using open government geographic data alongside crowdsourced data.

This week in…1985*
I couldn’t let this one pass by. On January 10th 1985 Sinclair launched its C5 electric bicycle. It was a major marketing bust then, even though electric bicycles now are the dominant category in bike sales in the Netherlands. In the summer of 2013, almost 30 years on, I spotted a C5 ‘in the wild’, shown in the image below. Fittingly it was on the streets of Cambridge, where Sinclair was based.

The 80's Segway!
image by Ton Zijlstra, CC BY NC SA

(* I show an openly licensed image with each Week Notes posting, to showcase more open cultural material. See here why, and how I choose the images for 2020.)

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