Using Open Data: policy modeling, citizen empowerment, data journalism
- June 2012, The European Commission's Albert Borschette Conference Center, Brussels

Workshop Homepage and Call for Participation

This workshop asks a simple question: what is all the 'new' government open data being used for?

The open data movement continues to gather momentum. Local, national and supranational governments around the world are publishing more and more of their data, the scientific and enterprise communities likewise. Much of this enormous volume of data is available under very open licenses and the push for more data and more openness is relentless.

The European Commission's Open Data Strategy is typical of many governments' promotional efforts. In a Q&A press release of . Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes cites three reasons why open data is seen as being so important: promoting the development of new businesses; promoting government transparency, and increased evidence-based policy making.

On this last point in particular, open data allows all stakeholders to monitor government performance (such as the US IT Dashboard); analyze data through modeling and visual analytics tools (such as in OpenSpending.org); increase the quality of the policy discussion and collaboration (such as with the Digital Agenda Scoreboard).

But are the claims of huge potential in these areas justified and how can this potential become real?

Data visualization by Karsten Schmidt using Decode (source)

There is evidence of progress in a variety of fields with some impressive demos and visualizations but what more can be achieved? How can we ensure that the effort in publishing open data leads to its effective usage? What are the most inspiring examples in this sense? Is the potential of "five star linked data" being maximized or might it just as well be "one star data in any format as long as the license is open?" How can the Web infrastructure be improved to support the greater use of large data volumes? Are new standards and new research necessary to unlock more of the power of open data? Is the current Crossover Project research roadmap reflecting the most important research challenges?

The objective of the W3C Using Open Data Workshop, being run as part of the EU-funded Crossover Project, is to provide a joint discussion forum for developers of applications that make use of open data, and the end users of those applications such as policy makers, journalists and citizens.

Visual Poetry 06 by Boris Müller (source)

Topics of Interest

The main topics of interest for this workshop include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • tools and techniques that use open data to aid policy making;
  • data visualization;
  • data journalism;
  • making data accessible and meaningful to citizens;
  • using open scientific data;
  • large scale data simulation;
  • collaborative analysis of data.

Please note that the topic of improved methods for data publishing is explicitly out of scope.

Is this workshop for you?

This workshop is designed to appeal to:

  • policy makers;
  • developers;
  • software vendors;
  • journalists;
  • data analysts;
  • active citizens;
  • researchers.

Expected Outcomes

The primary outcome expected from the workshop is a greater understanding of what can be done with open data on the Web, how it can be used for the benefit of a variety of audiences and what the roadblocks are to greater exploitation of data. A more tangible outcome might be the formation of a new group, or the expansion of an existing one, within W3C. Possible outcomes include:

  • a new line of activity within the eGov Interest group;
  • a new W3C Working Group chartered to develop new standards;
  • a new Business or Community Group dedicated to improving the exploitation of open data for uses such as policy modeling and/or data visualization;
  • an improved and globally agreed Research Roadmap, building on the existing research challenges identified by the Crossroad Project;

How to Participate

To ensure productive discussions, the workshop is limited to 80 attendees. Participation is open to non-W3C members. Each organization can provide at most two attendees.

Position papers are required in order to participate in this workshop. Each organization or individual wishing to participate must submit a position paper explaining their interest in the workshop no later than Saturday 19th May. The intention is to make sure that participants have an active interest in the area, and that the workshop will benefit from their presence.

We are using the Easy Chair system for paper submissions which requires all papers to be in PDF format. Alternatively you may submit a PDF that simply includes a link to a valid XHTML/HTML document (please use the W3C validator). Papers should be 1 to 5 pages in length and submitted here.

All position papers will be made available from this Web site . The workshop Web site is public, so position papers and slides must be suitable for public dissemination. Speaker slides will also be available on the Web site after the workshop. Printed proceedings will not be provided.

To attend, you must register by filling out the registration form. The URI for the registration form will be sent to you after your position paper is accepted.

Demos are invited. At various times throughout the event, participants are welcome to demonstrate their (relevant) applications. This will be done in an informal way. Participants will have a chance to see all the demos on offer.

Note: To help the organizers plan the workshop: If you wish to participate, please send email as soon as possible to Phil Archer stating:

  • that somebody from your organization plans to submit a position paper;
  • whether you want to send one or two participants;
  • whether or not you wish to make a presentation;
  • whether or not you wish to offer a demo.

Thank you.

Please note that this expression of interest does not mean that you registered for the workshop. It is still necessary to send a position paper, which has to be accepted by the Program Committee.

Press representatives should contact w3t-pr@w3.org.

Program Chairs

Program Committee

Important dates

Centre de Conferences Albert Borschette (CCAB) (image source)

Expression of interest — please send a short e-mail to Phil Archer ASAP.

Submission deadline

Notification of acceptance

th - th June Using Open data Workshop

st - nd June Digital Agenda Summit


Please note that the venue has changed (we have been moved down to the road from the Berlyamont to the CCAB).

Room C2, Albert Borschette Conference Center, 36, rue Froissart 1040 Bruxelles. See this PDF for information on how to get to the venue (CCAB on the map, towards the bottom right).

Please note that security is necessarily tight so expect airport-style security (bring your passport/ID card) and make sure you have let Phil Archer know you are coming so that your name will be on reception or you will be unable to gain entry. Please also note this PDF which gives details of the policy concerning CCTV surveillance on Commission premises.

View map directly in Google Maps.

Hash Tag

The hashtag for the event is #pmod