keynote reviews | March 03, 2011

Fun with Open Data: David Eaves on What Government Can and Should Be

David Eaves is a public policy expert who is on a quest to help governments adopt the open data sensibilities of the 21st century. He’s also an amazing speaker. Eaves spoke at the Just a Click Away conference recently, where he blew the crowd away with his innovative take on the future of government transparency:

From Just a Click Away:
Three key elements [that David Eaves brought up] point to the question of what can be done differently:

1) Open and accessible data, which can be and is shared with citizens. It encompasses data that is maleable and useful, which users can “look and touch”: play with, map, and make into tools that serves citizens;

2) Open standards for this data that respects privacy; and,

3) Open source software is used so that other cities (for example) can use it to make similar tools using local data for its citizens and put it on the same level as proprietary software.
What kind of an impact does open source government have? Imagine cross disciplinary studies using air quality data, where community groups, environmentalists and health workers work together to investigate the societal impact of industrial plants. Open source government also fosters private sector innovation. Take Recollect for example, the popular Vancouver website has used municipal data to help citizens create personalized garbage, recycling and green bin pickup schedules. These schedules are then pushed to Recollect’s users through email, telephone, SMS and even Twitter. As a government consultant, a fellow at the Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy, and a sought after speaker, David Eaves is helping to expand the possibility of what government can and should be.

Read more about government speaker David Eaves