World Cup of Open Data - Challenges Countries Face Outsite The Field

After FIFA World Cup and inspired by an article published by Estadão newspaper in Brazil, and re-published by Labgis (Geotechnology Center of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), we decided to use the same conceptual idea and adapt make this article about the “World Cup of Open Data” and share it with the GIS community worldwide. The main idea is to imagine if the World Cup had taken into account the Open Data Index (published by the Open Knowledge Foundation), who would fall along the way and who would be the great champion, beating France in the final phases?.

The exercise was to imagine a World Cup that matches the level of data openness of the participating countries of the World Cup in Russia. And what is open data? Today, governments in all parts of the world have a great deal of information about the public services provided and the quality of life of the population. According to the Open Knowledge Foundation – OKFN, “data is opened when anyone can freely use, reuse and redistribute it, subject to at most the requirement to credit its authorship and share for the same license.”

Global Open Data Index Football spatineo
Map View of Global Open Data Index

To compare countries, we used the Open Data Index of 2016 developed by OKFN, which aims to evaluate countries in relation to the level of opening of data to citizens, the media and civil society. In the index, countries are evaluated in several dimensions, such as public purchases and expenditures, environmental and geographic information, legislative activities, electoral data and socioeconomic statistics. The analysis criteria for each dimension vary from the ease of accessing and working the data, to the analysis of the available format, to completeness and updating of the database.

Of the countries participating in the 2018 World Cup, Australia and England (United Kingdom Open Index Index) stand out. Both with a score of 79%, they would make a fierce final, with the England victory being defined in the “penalties”: The two countries tie in eight criteria that compose the index. England stands out in four and Australia is superior in three others. Thus, with decision in the “penalties”, the inventors of football are consecrated the great champion. Taking into account the World Cup brackets, France would fall to England in the semifinals, but would still get an honoured 3rd place, beating Brazil which would have lost to Australia already in the “other semifinal”. Other teams that would get to the quarter finals would be: Denmark, Mexico, Colombia and Japan, which would have taken the 5th to the 8th best places in this World Cup, respectively. The other 8 teams that would have reached the round of 16, but lost their matches in that phase for the other 8 teams mentioned above are: Argentina, Uruguay, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia and Serbia.

Good examples that did not participate in the World Cup

Although eliminated in the second round of the Asian Cup qualifiers, Taiwan is the Nº 1 placed in the index, having reached 100% in twelve of the fifteen categories. This positive outcome is due to numerous measures to promote access to and use of open government data, including the launching of a promotional plan to encourage private companies and organizations to make greater use of available datasets, development of a platform open data and the publication of the Government’s Freedom of Information Law Act.

Other very well positioned countries in the ranking that were not present at the World Cup 2018 are: Finland, Canada and Norway (all 3 at the 5th place in the ranking with a 69% index level), followed closely by New Zealand with 68%. See the complete ranking here.

Why opening data is important

The opening of public data is important for several aspects. The first is to increase the transparency of government actions, such as ensuring identification of the destination of taxes collected from the population. More transparent governments facilitate citizen engagement and this is the second positive effect of data openness. With relevant information accessible, citizens can engage in enforcement and contribution initiatives with the public power. We wrote an article some time ago about the reasons why we monitor open geospatial services, which explains how important the impact of open data is.

Finally, the opening of data is important as it allows private initiative to access information to apply and develop solutions to real problems of society. An example of this is some of the transportation applications that uses geolocation, which by accessing open (vehicle fleet) data, are able to estimate the arrival time of these vehicles at their respective stops and the best routes for their users. Here at Spatineo, we help organisations offering and using open data to assure quality and reliability of the spatial services they provide.