Open Data to fuel app innovation

By on 10 March, 2015

ODIQ Queensland

Highlighting the Australian release of open data is expected to fuel an explosion of local civic-minded apps – according to an industry expert.

Information about the 2015 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games venues is among the more than 10,000 high-quality datasets recently made available via Australia’s first independently funded and managed open data portal.

In an address to hundreds of senior government and industry sector personnel at the Locate15 conference today, Doug van Gelder, an open data specialist from Esri Australia said the release – which includes images, public records, maps, and research results – will encourage a new wave of ingenious Aussie apps.

“The Open Data Institute of Queensland (ODIQ) in partnership with Esri Australia has provided aspiring developers with a comprehensive portal to make it easier to find the data they seek to create ground-breaking apps,” Mr van Gelder said.

“For example, the Games’ venue details could be developed into a map-based smartphone app that incorporates other real-time data to support visitors and staff.

“Event timetables, nearby attractions, food outlets, transport options and even up-to-the-minute results could be easily included to create a must-have guide for the Games.

“The data and the mapping smarts are there – at the end of the day the only limit is the developer’s imagination.”

Mr van Gelder said similar releases overseas have led to the development of thousands of civic-minded apps that help citizens track everything from flood zones to dodgy eateries.

“One app, Floodprint, helps track changes in flood risk when there are new developments or extreme weather, while DontEat.at texts users about health regulation violations at restaurants,” Mr van Gelder said.

“Another example is City Mapper – a popular international transit app that covers much of the US and Europe – uses open data.

“The app cuts the stress of daily travel for locals and visitors by analysing traffic congestion and recommending the cheapest and fastest public transport routes.

“This release of Australian data, highlighted on ODIQ’s portal will allow the same approach to be used in Australia to make cities cleaner, safer and more sustainable as well as making governments more transparent.”

Mr van Gelder said the open data policies implemented by Australian data publishers seek to ensure open data is scrutinised for security risks and removed of all personal or identifying details.

ODIQ CEO Maree Adshead said the Queensland and Federal governments had already released thousands of datasets through their own separate portals, but that all would soon be accessible in one place through ODIQ’s independent portal, with many other organisations expected to follow suit in the near future.

“ODIQ is part of a global movement which believes open data boosts citizen engagement, improves efficiency and creates social, environmental and economic value,” Ms Adshead said.

“Step by step, we are linking with other open data portals around the world to unlock an unprecedented bank of knowledge that can be used to address local and global issues.”

Thousands of local and international datasets can be searched through the Open Data Finder on ODIQ’s website.

The Locate15 conference is being held from 10-12 March at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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