In this past week I was fortunate enough to play a key role in the launch of DSB Labs – an open data community by the Danish Railways. For a while I have been following and been mesmerized by the open data movement, right across initiatives such as Tim Berners-Lee’s (TBL) Linked Data, Tim O’Reilly’s (TOR) Gov 2.0 and Barack Obama’s data.gov. I like TBL’s analogy of data being the unhidden goldmine no one can see on the surface, but whose potential is profound – and I totally agreed with TOR’s mantra to redefine government’s role to that of “government as a platform” as opposed to a vending machine of ready-made citizen services.
When you look at data in that light, all of a sudden the release of locked and proprietary data becomes one of the biggest untapped potentials in the world today. A cause worth fighting for. With DSB Labs we’re obviously focusing on the daily needs of commuters and travellers, but if we move beyond travel, open data has already proven to be an excellent crowdsourcing aggregator. During last year’s Haiti earthquake open data helped the relief efforts in a very real way, when GeoEye allowed the open source community to use its satellite data to allow people all over the world to edit the Open Street Map and thereby greatly facilitate efforts on the ground. Impressive – and that’s just the beginning.
My vision is to see all non-confidential data – commercial and public alike – released worldwide to allow all creatives, developers, nerds, visionaries, well, frankly, all citizens to offer their angle on data, because – in the words of Jacob Bøtter (see video below) – the data owners don’t have all the answers.
I had the pleasure of interviewing and filming some of Denmark’s open data protagonists last week and ended up producing this video for DSB Labs. A subtitled version will follow.
Thanks to the following visionaries for making DSB Labs possible and/or for making themselves available for the video: Henrik Jessen, Ronni Egeriis Persson, Kim Jonasen, Kristian Stangerup, Nursel Yildirim, Anne Mette Koch, Rasmus Viemose, Simon Bønløkke, Jacob Bøtter, Søren Rindal Nielsen, Tore Vesterby, Klaus Silberbauer