You have probably heard a lot about Open Data, data this, data that - what's this fuss really about? Believe it or not, we are all in the data business. This is what the cool kids are up to these days, crunching on that data.
Open Data is not a new concept, data have been given out on the Internet by various organizations. Why the surge in popularity? There are many civic tech organizations like Geekulcha who just want more data.
The greatest pressure is out on the government - "feed us with more data", the cool kids would say. It is of a popular belief that a lot of country's data must be made Open Data. Open Data? Open Data means that the data is freely available, accessible and can be changed by anyone. What happens when there is just a whole lot of data? Then you have Big Data.
You may know that too much of everything can become a mess. We must be able to do a reality check, with this too much demand of Open Data, do have the right capacity to handle this? In South Africa, the skills are not that great but it is encouraging that we have Open Data Champions.
Code For South Africa (Code4SA) is one organization championing Open Data and the use of it through civic tech to make the lives of South Africans better. They have used Open Data to both question and answer many of the social issues we face on daily basis. The good thing is, Open Data is open for all, Code4SA recently launched a journalism academy for Open Data!
Open Data Durban was formed out of a meet-up and they have since been working on a lot of cool Open Data projects. It's organizations like these who are making governments come at ease with releasing data to the public.
We need to grow the skills capacity to be able to handle this Open Data - we need more Open Data champions.
Geekulcha believes that it takes a village to raise a child. Why not build ecosystems? Let's check out what The Girl Next Door is doing, does she need help in liberating the data? Let's learn from Vanessa and share with her what we know. An Open Data Club can be an ideal solution to accelerate this Open Data revolution.
With the right mindset, great skills capacity and ultimate champions, it would make things easier to release that data that the government have been holding.
An Open Data club will launch in the City of Tshwane on 19 March 2016, we encourage you to rally behind and let's liberate that data.
How to get started? Well check these open datasets available on Code4SA website and come up with a story angle