Open Data innovation has been on the radar of both public and private sector leaders for the last couple years – what is at stake for the Citizen? The application of data to in essence “better” a society is a new trend. The initial hype surrounding the use of data surrounded tracking and targeting customers. We have now arrived at a new objective.
While online and social media companies continue to use data for traditional financial aims, a new trend of entrepreneurs and app-activists see opportunities to improve the state of the world by making sense of the data deluge we have on hand. Geme.io is one of those app-activists, and while we employ similar tools on the back-end, our motivation is less financial, and more focused on individual empowerment which we feel will result in stronger, more unified communities.
We believe citizens possess exactly the same rights to their data as they have over their physical bodies and money. With governments and cities opening more and more datasets each day, and encouraging citizens to contribute with apps and innovations, open data fosters a culture of creativity and ingenuity that in turn stimulates the individual to contribute at a rate unseen in human history.
Open data should not only be used as an additional resource for analytics, for example. Rather, combined with internal data, the two have a unique opportunity to coalesce to build new services on top of open data sets and thus open additional data for others to use. This is where location- based apps are smartly poised to take control, using city’s open data to provide insights and easily communicate and share location and real-time information for all users of a given city (residents and tourists alike).
Think about a municipality or organization that creates cross country tracks in the winter in a community. Yet that same organization does not or cannot provide real-time information surrounding weather conditions or the condition of the tracks. Perhaps the snow has melted in some areas, there is damage to a portion of the trail, etc. Prior to location-based sharing, timely information was either shared person-to-person via social media, etc., or updated on a website somewhere. The trouble with both is the reach is limited.
A website is only accessed by those who choose to arrive, while person-to-person sharing (be it over Facebook, Whatsapp, etc) is a confined space. Location-based apps by contrast take timely data and pin it for all to see. Like Waze, every user is privy to a police presence on a given corner, not those simply seeking out where the police are in the city. Open data sharing is just that, and its use brings us into a much larger community which is ultimately shared places where information flows freely and quickly.
According to the European Commission’s European Data Portal, the estimated cumulative value of open data in the EU between 2016 and 2020 will be 325 billion euros. The use and reuse of data in every aspect of human life (work, pleasure, etc) is of tremendous value. While the EU will continue to actively research the topic on a macro level, Geme.io will continue researching at a micro level and share it with anybody interested in our findings.
About the Author
Magdalena Pawlowicz, co-founder of Geme.io, a free location-based app that allows users to explore, create and connect with the city in innovative ways via smart phones. She is a successful serial entrepreneur in the technology field with a vision to change city life via the empowerment of the very individuals who live and visit cities to share their data freely. Join the movement to make our cities more liveable and send us an email to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org
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