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News — 01 February, 2023

Generating and Promoting Open Data

In November 2022 the Open Mapping Community Working Group hosted the webinar: Generating and Promoting Open Data. Host Laxmi N. Goparaju shares the highlights of the conversation.

The discussion started with a definition of open data. As the name suggests, open data is any data that can be accessed, shared, used and reproduced. Multiple users can benefit at the same time and it is free to share.

Some questions were asked on the Jamboard from the discussion participants. The first question was : Why do we need open data? Some noteworthy answers from the participants were : 1) With open data anyone can make an input from anywhere 2) This creates opportunities for innovative ideas 3) To avoid the high cost of proprietary data 4) For transparency and democratic use of data 5) Interoperability 6) To share different skill sets and experience 7) Decision making for individuals and institutions 8) Open data consists of local knowledge 9) Collaboration is more effective than competition 10) It assists in non-commercial activities, humanitarian /disaster relief efforts need inexpensive data.

The second question on the Jamboard was : What are the advantages of open data? A few answers were: 1) Strength of the crowd 2) Open data ecosystems come with open and accessible tooling 3) Improving data quality with community interaction 4) Easy access and interoperability, which is the focus of its wide usage. Apart from this few other advantages were discussed in the presentation which are 1) Increased accessibility to data 2) Increased community interaction 3) Low cost 4) Redundancy of data is avoided 5 ) Increased transparency 6) Reduced corruption. Some of the most pertinent points discussed in the presentation were that 1) It is open and free for all 2) Contributions are voluntary 3) It is reliable 4) It is helpful in contributing to local APPS and websites 5) It works offline 6) The data belongs to everyone.

The third question on the Jamboard was, ”What are the disadvantages of using open data? Some participants answered as follows:1) Vulnerable to malicious edits 2) Reliability, data security and data accuracy 3) Difficult to engage communities around open data 4) It is not very visible (Apple and Facebook are not aware how much OSM data they are using) 4) Prone to be used as a cheap labour to complete some projects 5) Limited important information. Other disadvantages as discussed in the presentation were 1) Possible security breaches 2) Possible privacy breaches 3) Possible misuse of data 4) Possible problems of missing information.

The fourth question on the jamboard was: How are OpenStreetMap (open data) and Google Maps different? The answers received are: 1) Google Maps provides limited data for free and there is not much interaction with it from a creativity point of view, whereas in OSM data one can create what one wants 2) For OSM the license is free, whereas Google Maps has limitations 3) OSM gives a sense of ownership for contribution 4) OSM provides data for analysis which is useful for people.Google Maps only provides location data. The point discussed in the presentation was that In the case of Google Maps, the data belongs to Google. It came after OSM and uses OSM as an example. Generally, Google Maps needs an internet connection to work, and delayed release of data and all decisions are made by Google.

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Click here to find a few open data sources for remote sensing data.

The following is a link to a MASTERCLASS which describes Open data rules and regulations: MASTERCLASS on Open Geospatial data.

Watch the original recording of this Open Mapping Community Working Group webinar.