As I wrote in my previous post, Aberdeen City Council have joined Code for Europe 2014.

Code For Europe Badge
Code For Europe Badge

Following the international meeting in Barcelona, and ahead of the appointment of the code fellows, the four participating Scottish councils came together in Edinburgh this week to compare where we are and what our next steps will be.

As part of that meeting Katalin Gallyas of Amsterdam city municipality addressed the group on that city’s experiences. She spoke of the development of the apps mentioned in my previous post, but also covered a number of other issues. These included tools they use, such as Open Data Kit, and the choice of Open Data platform. “Beware the big corporates offering expensive, proprietary platforms”. Amsterdam chose CKAN an open source one. This is a choice that the Scottish authorities need to make – and perhaps an opportunity for something on which we could collaborate.

She also covered the extensive and enviable Open Data ecosystem that exists in Amsterdam. This involved

  • SMEs, hackers, coders,
  • Business accelerators
  • Innovation intermediaries
  • EU projects and funding
  • An open-minded city government
  • Participatory citizens

In 2014 Amsterdam are seeking national and EU funding – and they have committed to having

Badge with the slogan I Amsterdam
I Amsterdam

4 fulltime employees who amongst other duties will be collecting evidence and use-cases on reusable Apps.

All of this activity and engagement is bringing the state-of-the-art into city hall, shifting from traditional in-house one-off developments (that we see all over the place) to the use of tools such as Tableau or GitHub, allied to the adoption of and growing familiarity with concepts such as Commons / Standards, civic coders, hackers, grassroots tech.

She suggested that in following such a model Scotland needs to be looking for sources of external funding – such as Horizon 2020, but also at growing entrepreneurship, and developing a local Open Data ecosystem.

We also need to look at Apps For Amsterdam, and Appsterdam which has loads of activities and even its own ‘Mayor’: Mike Lee.

All of this activity acts as a real Open Data catalyst. It exposes the need for a vocabulary match between the policy makers and the civic app space, generates clear use cases for the data. And it highlights the need for the adoption of commons and opens standards by local authorities.

Suzanne leads a workshop
Suzanne leads a workshop

Following Katalin’s presentation there followed some highly energetic road-mapping of the Scottish programme which was led by Suzaanne of the Waag Society, of whom I wrote in my previous post. This generate some positive twitter comments:

I’ll return to this topic in future posts as the Scottish C4E programme gets underway.

Code For Europe (Scotland)
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