First ODI Open Data Awards given to Wikidata, Others

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Wikidata representatives, Lydia Pintscher and Magnus Manske  receiving award from Nigel Shadboldt and Tim Berners-Lee.19:30 GMT Tuesday 4th November 2014 –Four organisations and one individual have been acknowledged for their contribution to the worldwide open data movement in the very first Open Data Awards, held at the Open Data Institute’s Annual Summit and Gala Dinner.

The awards were presented by the ODI’s founders, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt in a ceremony attended by leaders from the business, data and technology worlds. Nominations for the awards were open to everyone and judged by a team of six including panelists from the USA and Pakistan.

Chair of the judging panel, the ODI’s Head of Content and Learning, Kathryn Corrick said: “We received hundreds of entries for this year’s open data awards, who, excitingly, came from all over the world. All of them are pioneers.

This year’s winners demonstrate, in particular, the power of open data to make a difference – be it social, environmental or economic. I am so delighted to be celebrating their work and the contribution so many people are making in using and publishing open data to make a local and global impact”.

The five awards announced tonight were:

The Open Data Business Award:

Winner: GeoLytix [Runners up: OpenCorporates, Socrata]

Awarded because, in the words of one judge, “they know data is not valuable without being able to deliver insight.”

GeoLytix builds innovative data, algorithms, and software that help the biggest retailers make better decisions about where to locate their stores. Their customers invest billions of pounds a every year in their store and home delivery networks; GeoLytix helps them spend that money wisely. The company relies on open data charging for value-add analysis, and for access to some of their own novel data sets. They publish some of their own data as open data because they believe open data drives huge social and economic benefits.

Blair Freebairn of GeoLytix said: “We’ve built our business on Open Data so these awards mean a lot to us. This Open Data award is a fantastic recognition of the many hours the whole team have put in to building our datasets, which we believe are the best in the market because of open data.”

The Open Data Individual Champion Award:

Winner: Irina Bolychevski [Runners up: Owen Boswarva, Nicholas Baldeck]

Bolychevski has worked for open government data and is CKAN lead at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and also on data.gov.uk and data.gov. CKAN is usable, scalable, sustainable and free (being open source). This means that open data communities, non-profits, researchers as well as governments across the world have easy access to a world class solution – lowering the barrier to entry and empowering hundreds of organisations to publish open data.

Irina Bolychevsky said: “CKAN’s uptake is growing day by day with new deployments in every area (and already hundreds of production sites – including most national governments) and it’s fantastic to have this recognised by the Open Data Institute Awards since we are very much aligned in growing the open data ecosystem for all.”

Open Data Publisher Award:

Winner: WikiData [Runners up: Data.ny.gov, Epimorphics]

As one judge commented, the award was presented to WikiData: “for sheer scale, and built-in openness.”

Wikidata started at Wikimedia’s first global conference in 2005: bringing structured data to Wikipedia. This idea evolved into Semantic MediaWiki, which became very successful over the next years but was never used on Wikipedia. In 2012 a team came together to make the initial dream of structured data for Wikipedia a reality. In the past two and a half years they have developed the project and an amazing community has gathered. Today, Wikidata is a powerful resource not only for Wikipedia but for the world.

Lydia Pintscher from WikiData said: “We hope that a lot more people will become aware of our work and join us on our way to bringing free knowledge to everyone. Wikidata is a project that succeeds
because of its amazing community and more awareness will help grow that community even further.”

The Open Data Innovation Award:

Winner: Shoothill for GaugeMap [Runners up: WikiData, OpenFoodFacts, Community Insight]

GaugeMap was praised by one judge as “a great tool to keep people informed and protected from flooding”.

Shoothill was the first firm in the UK to work to develop software based on the live flood data from the Environment Agency, which was initially released by them as the FloodAlerts map system on Facebook. However it is now used by the Environment Agency itself, the BBC, MSN, Channel 4, The AA, Sky, and many others in the media and elsewhere, and has made possible the development of GaugeMap.

Rod Plummer from Shoothill said: “This award is a massive vindication of the company, our vision and the new live river level map system we have just launched called GaugeMap (www.gaugemap.com).  It will also help promote our live flood warning application called FloodAlerts (www.shoothill.com/flood) both of which are free to use, contain no advertising and are aimed at reducing the risks / costs of flooding.”

The Open Data Social Impact Award:

Winner: Plantwise [Runners up: Internews, UNHCR]

As one commentator said, “this group closes the knowledge gap to help farmers and countries fight back against crop loss, while protecting trade and the environment”.

Plantwise, lead by CABI, is a global programme to promote food security and improve rural living through the reduction of crop losses. They achieve this by establishing sustainable networks of local plant clinics, run by local plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice. These plant clinics are reinforced by the Plantwise knowledge bank, a gateway to online and offline actionable plant health information, including diagnostic resources, pest management advice and front-line pest data for effective global vigilance. Working in close partnership with relevant actors, Plantwise strengthens national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less and feed more.

Shaun Hobbs from Plantwise said: “The work that we do is ultimately aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries around the world through building links to agricultural knowledge.”

“The recognition from this award will help raise awareness among our peers, partners and potential partners and greatly help facilitate support for open access agricultural data platforms like ours. This award will help us continue to build the profile for agricultural data sharing, and open data for other forms of development around the world.”

The panel of judges included the chair for the awards Kathryn Corrick, Head of Content & Learning at the Open Data Institute; Dr Nick Appleyard, Head of Digital at Innovate UK; Andrew Fletcher, Senior Manager at Thomson Reuters Data Innovation Lab; Rahma Mian, Journalist and Stanford Knight fellow in Pakistan; Beth Noveck, Director of The Governance Lab at New York University; Dr David Tarrant, Senior Trainer at the Open Data Institute.

About the ODI:

The Open Data Institute catalyses the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It unlocks supply, generates demand, creates and disseminates knowledge to address local and global issues. Founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan company. http://www.theodi.org

Image: Courtesy @OpenCorporates, Twitter

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