mfioretti: open data*

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  1. Data is not automatically objective either.
    Algorithms work on the data we provide. Anyone that has worked with data knows that data is political, messy, often incomplete, sometimes fake, and full of complex human meanings.


    Even if you have 'good' and 'clean' data, it will still reflect societal biases:
    https://www.mathwashing.com
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2018-05-18)
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  2. overall design principles of the Frictionless Data project:

    Focused: We have a sharp focus on one part of the data chain, one specific feature – packaging – and a few specific types of data (e.g. tabular).
    Web Oriented: We build for the web using formats that are web "native" such as JSON, work naturally with HTTP such as plain text CSVs (which stream).
    Distributed: we design for a distributed ecosystem with no centralized, single point of failure or dependence.
    Open: Anyone should be able to freely and openly use and reuse what we build. Our community is open to everyone.
    Existing Software: Integrate as easily as possible with existing software both by building integrations and designing for direct use – for example we like CSV because everyone has a tool that can access CSV.
    Simple, Lightweight: Add the minimum, do the least required, keep it simple. For example, use the most basic formats, require only the most essential metadata, data should have nothing extraneous.
    https://frictionlessdata.io/specs
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2018-05-09)
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  3. In February the Service Innovation Lab completed a three week discovery sprint on how policy, legislation and the business rules of government can be human and machine consumable.

    ‘Machine consumable’ means having rules so software can understand and interact with them such as with a calculation or eligibility criteria for a benefit.

    This post looks at the outcomes of that discovery sprint from a policy perspective and what lessons can apply to designing a new way to draft legislation and deliver more effective government services.
    Policy intent - avoiding ‘lost in translation’?

    As a policy adviser, I need to juggle:

    How do I create ‘future proof’ policies? For example, what will artificial intelligence (A.I.) mean for transport safety or how will someone seek and receive financial ‘robo-advice’?
    How do I remove barriers preventing better policy design and delivery, such as why do people need to get things confirmed ‘in writing’ for different departments so they can access services?
    How do I know if the policy is delivering the results we intended?

    The Better Rules Discovery tests what “fit for purpose” could look like, using two real bits of legislation (the Rates Rebates Act (1973) (external site link) and the Holidays Act (2003) (external site link)).

    This small project forces me to think about some big things. It’s not just about linking artificial intelligence and other technologies into government decision-making and service delivery models (though that is pretty amazing). The insights I take away are a bit broader, and are reflected in the discovery sprint report:

    Service design fundamentals can improve policy advice - Policy advisers offer solutions to gnarly amorphous questions such as how do we increase business innovation, solve child poverty and lower greenhouse gas emissions? Techniques such as co-design, agreed common definitions of the problem and ‘end to end’ thinking through to implementation can help uncover information a traditional, linear policy approach may not. These approaches may benefit all policy advisers, not just those focussed on delivering a government service, or drafting legislation.
    It’s not about us, it’s about them – As public servants we help the public and access services. Techniques used in the Better Rules project such as concept, decision, flow models and mapping customer journeys offer ways to unpack the steps people take to access a service. And they debunk some assumptions we may have.
    Take the imperfect first step – We should use some approaches explored in the Better Rules project such as spending more time to agree on the problem definition, before leaping to solutions or having multi-disciplinary teams.
    Focus on the ideal future end state – It’s more invigorating to focus on what could be than on thrashing the same old problem. Integrating digital thinking in developing policy (including concepts like pseudocode and software code) can flush out new possibilities and embed digital options into our solutions. It would also encourage more end-to-end thinking, rather than throwing my policy solution over your operational fence.
    https://www.digital.govt.nz/blog/better-rules-a-policy-advisors-perspective
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  4. Gaining cross agency access to the “rules” of government is critical to seamless and integrated services. This includes the eligibility criteria or calculations for benefits or entitlements across different agencies for a single life event - the financial assistance eligibility tool for SmartStart (external site link) powered by a digital rules engine, is a good example of this.

    Right now, these rules are largely kept in legislation, but also in operational policy and practice. So, to get an all of government view of the rules for cross agency service delivery, we identified machine consumable(1) legislation as an area to explore, as a possible reusable component. We did a short 3 week discovery on the notion of “better rules” starting with the idea of machine consumable rules, which also explored the connection between policy, legislation and implementation, and how they could work more closely together for better public outcomes. You can read more about what we did, what we learnt, and our recommendations for taking these ideas further in the full Better Rules for Government Discovery Report.

    ‘Machine consumable’ for the purpose of this work means having particular types of rules available in a code or code-like form that software can understand and interact with, such as a calculation, the eligibility criteria for a benefit or automated financial reporting obligations for compliance.

    The traditional models of creating, managing, using and improving the rules of government were developed for use in a non-digital environment, and can result in a mismatch between policy intent and implementation. New digital technologies and the effective use of government data present opportunities to better deliver to people’s needs. To fully realise these opportunities, however, policy and rules need to be developed in a manner that recognises the context of impacted people and systems, and enables digital service delivery where appropriate.

    Making government rules machine consumable so they can be used by service delivery systems is fast becoming a key component in the digital transformation of governments, particularly as we seek to integrate service delivery, automate information exchange and some decision making, while also ensuring government transparency, responsiveness and accountability.


    It is difficult to produce machine consumable rules if the policy and legislation has not been developed with this output in mind.
    An effective way of developing such policy and legislation is for multidisciplinary teams of policy analysts, legislative drafters, service designers and software developers to co-design the policy and legislation, taking a user-centric approach that focuses on how the service could most effectively be delivered. In this case ‘user’ can mean people and technology systems as the end users of machine consumable rules.
    Co-designing rules with policy and service design increases the chances of the policy being implemented effectively and as intended, and can reduce the time it takes to deliver on the policy intent.
    Machine consumable legislation that is co-developed:
    enables legislation, business rules, and service delivery software to be developed in parallel, ensuring consistency of application, and significantly speeding up the service delivery to people
    increases the opportunities to automate and integrate service delivery (including through the use of artificial intelligence).
    Common frameworks, reference points and data points (like concept and decision models and ontologies(2)) will assist multi-disciplinary teams to co-design policy and legislation and, once developed, can be used as blueprints for the development of human and machine consumable rules without the need for further translation of the intent and logic (which, in turn, reduces the time and resources required and the chances of errors).
    Not all legislation is suitable for machine consumption, but a multi-disciplinary approach will assist in making better rules.
    https://www.digital.govt.nz/blog/labp...rules-for-government-discovery-report
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  5. For SDG 10, which aims to reduce inequality, the two main solutions the report identified involved developing a formal mechanism to recognise and protect land rights, and making global supply chains more transparent so that it is easier to track products from raw materials to stores, as well as monitor for labour, environmental or human rights violations.

    When it comes to securing proof of land ownership—this is essential so that land cannot be snatched from its rightful owners via bribery, fraud, or other unethical practices—using blockchain technology can make it impossible to tamper with land registration, and make the process transparent, the report noted. However, it cautioned that blockchain must be accompanied by broader land reforms and policies which give women, the poor, and other marginalised people better access to land.

    Globally, there are land assets worth about US$20 trillion that people do not have proof of ownership for, and in Sweden alone, the government stands to save US$106 million annually by eliminating land registration paperwork, the report pointed out. It also noted that 70 per cent of the global population does not have a legal record of the land they own, further underscoring the scale of the opportunity for solutions in this space.

    Examples of companies that have already made strides in this area include BenBen, a blockchain-powered land transaction platform in Ghana, and Uhurulabs, a Tanzanian company which uses drones to create accurate maps of land borders and ownership rights.

    Blockchain and other technologies can also help companies and consumers alike gain better visibility into international supply chains, which in sectors such as food and retail, can be marred by unsustainable natural resource use and labour exploitation. Companies that have done so have already reaped the benefits, the report pointed out. For instance, when tuna brand John West introduced a way for consumers to trace tuna all the way back to fishermen who caught the fish, it increased sales by US$22 million.

    Ultimately, there is a US$1.3 trillion opportunity for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear, and blockchain can help with this, said the report.

    Through developing breakthrough innovations and forging critical partnerships, the business community has the resources and creativity we need to create the world we want.

    Lise Kingo, chief executive officer and executive director, United Nations Global Compact

    To advance SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production, solutions such as the circular economy—where resources are recovered and reused at the end of the product’s life cycle rather than discarded as waste—and dramatically different lifestyle choices such as eating insect protein need to be scaled up, the report recommended.

    For the latter trend, the global market for edible insects was US$33 million in 2015, but is expected to soar to US$773 million by 2024, the report predicted, calling this alternative food source “a breakthrough market to watch”. Examples of companies already cashing in on this trend include Chirps Chips, a US-based firm which makes cookies and chips from cricket flour; and BiteBack, an Indonesian firm which extracts oil from edible insects as a sustainable alternative to palm oil. The edible oil has long been linked to driving deforestation and habitat loss in Indonesia and other tropical nations where it is cultivated.
    http://www.eco-business.com/news/the-...e-sdgsheres-how-business-can-fix-that
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  6. What type of decisions will citizens support?

    Hamburg wants citizen input in regards to the positioning of trees in urban areas and the construction of playgrounds for children. Where would they be the most useful/appreciated?

    The Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is going for a bottom up approach, with citizens free to make proposals that will enhance social cohesion and engagement across all age groups. Residents can also give input into the planning process, voicing concerns and proposing alternatives. The city is hoping that residents and businesses will use the available data to develop apps that improve quality of life.

    Rome wants to become more transparent in its decision-making, and is emphasising the democratic possibilities of the smarticipate platform. The city particularly wants citizens’ ideas on potential uses for abandoned buildings in the city. How can they be transformed into something positive?

    Ultimately smarticipate is the first step on a path that could change the way cities operate. It aims to upend the traditional relationship between local authorities and citizens and bring them closer together. There’s no doubt that the project will change over time, shaped by its experiences. It is an exciting opportunity that we encourage everyone to be a part of.
    https://www.smarticipate.eu/about
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  7. As Becky Hogge notes in her important report on the impact of open data, tracking impact is tricky. By its nature, open data is resistant to traditional impact reporting; in part because we don’t know exactly how it is being used, and in part because the value chain is so diffuse. So, Hogge argues, outside of sweeping statements about potential, at this stage impact is largely indicated by “fragments” of stories from the ground.

    Despite this methodological challenge, we think OpenCorporates has already made many tangible contributions to revealing how power runs through corporate networks. Therefore, in this part of our reading list we’ll keep track of fragments that illustrate the importance of open company data, including anti-corruption investigations, and internal and external impact reports.
    https://blog.opencorporates.com/2017/...ding-list-impact-of-open-company-data
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-08)
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  8. From 1900 to 2010, the amount of materials accumulated in buildings and infrastructure across the world increased 23-fold. We are depleting our resources at unprecedented rates. Instead of extracting dwindling raw materials from nature at ever-increasing cost, the time has come to start re-using materials from buildings and infrastructure in our cities.

    We have been working on identifying the material resources in cities that could be “mined” for re-use. In a case study, we modelled more than 13,000 buildings in central Melbourne, Australia. We estimated the quantities of construction materials as well as the embodied energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions associated with constructing these buildings (if they were built today). We also modelled the replacement of materials over time and into the future.

    Further reading: The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building

    The extraction and transformation of resources have broad environmental effects. These include resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, soil and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, which drive climate change.

    Adding to these challenges is the amount of waste generated, especially by the construction sector due to construction, renovation and demolition activities. Every time a construction material is discarded, all the embodied energy, water and emissions that went into producing it also go to waste.

    In our two recent studies, we propose a model that can help us “mine” our cities and quantify the environmental benefits of this urban mining.


    These maps allow us to start thinking of cities as urban mines and places of material production (supply), rather than just consumption (demand).

    We can imagine how a new construction project could survey what materials would be available at its start and how it can best re-use these and incorporate them into the design. This would save large amounts of energy and water, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and further ecosystem degradation from raw material extraction (usually far from the city).
    https://theconversation.com/with-the-right-tools-we-can-mine-cities-87672
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  9. Secondo alcuni studi ed esperienze, questo tipo di progettazione innovativa può consentire almeno il 10% di risparmi di spese di gestione e risparmi lungo tutto il ciclo dell’opera, abbattendo il ricorso alle varianti e prevedendo per tempo le manutenzioni necessarie.

    Il decreto è il risultato di un lavoro complesso e approfondito, avviato da una Commissione appositamente istituita dal ministro e composta da rappresentanti del Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti, di Anac, Agid, delle Università degli Studi di Brescia, Sapienza di Roma, Federico II di Napoli, del Politecnico di Milano, della Rete delle Professioni Tecniche, che ha proceduto alle audizioni dei principali stakeholder del settore e predisposto una prima bozza del provvedimento. La bozza è stata poi sottoposta a consultazione pubblica, i cui contributi sono stati valutati ed integrati nella stesura finale del testo.

    Il provvedimento disciplina inoltre gli adempimenti preliminari delle stazioni appaltanti, che dovranno adottare un piano di formazione del proprio personale, un piano di acquisizione o di manutenzione di hardware e software di gestione dei processi decisionali e informativi e un atto organizzativo che espliciti il processo di controllo e gestione, i gestori dei dati e la gestione dei conflitti.

    E’ previsto l’utilizzo di piattaforme interoperabili a mezzo di formati aperti non proprietari da parte delle stazioni appaltanti ed è definito l’utilizzo dei dati e delle informazioni prodotte e condivise tra tutti i partecipanti al progetto, alla costruzione e alla gestione dell’intervento.

    Il decreto prevede, già dall’entrata in vigore, l’utilizzo facoltativo dei metodi e degli strumenti elettronici specifici per le nuove opere e per interventi di recupero, riqualificazione o varianti, da parte delle stazioni appaltanti che abbiano ottemperato agli adempimenti preliminari.

    L’obbligo all’utilizzo dei metodi e degli strumenti elettronici di modellazione decorre dal 1° gennaio 2019 per le opere di importo pari o superiore a 100 milioni di euro, e poi via via per importi minori a decorrere dagli anni successivi al 2019 fino alle opere di importo inferiore a 1 milione di euro, per le quali il termine decorre dal 1° gennaio 2025.
    https://www.corrierecomunicazioni.it/...prechi-digitale-obbligatorio-dal-2019
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  10. Questo post lo devo alle tante persone che utilizzano i dati statistici prodotti e pubblicati dall’Istituto Nazionale di Statistica e che hanno necessità di farlo in modalità “machine to machine” sfruttando la comodità di utilizzare API

    Non tutti sanno infatti che Istat rende disponibili i dati pubblicati su dati.istat.it, il data warehouse dell’Istituto anche attraverso API Rest con output Json. Va detto subito che questo è un canale alternativo di diffusione dati in “beta version”, è stato rilasciato nel 2011 ma è sufficientemente stabile e interessante da poter essere utilizzato senza particolari problemi.

    Il formato del Json di output non è un formato qualsiasi ma risponde alle specifiche Json-Stat (https://json-stat.org/). Json-Stat nasce alcuni anni fa da un’intuizione di Xavier Badosa, un mio geniale amico e collega dell’Istituto di Statistica di Catalogna. Avevamo avuto modo di parlarne e di confrontarci in più di un’occasione, ma dopo una sessione di lavoro a Parigi presso l’OCSE in cui avemmo modo di approfondire la cosa, passammo ad implementare Json-Stat su un intero sistema di diffusione. Quello dell’Istat. Nasce così apistat.istat.it.
    https://medium.com/@vincpatruno/come-...nale-di-statistica-istat-ca874316f5a9
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-10-03)
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