The downfall of PDFs and what it says about Knowledge Management

23-05-2014 – Filed under open-dataknowledge-management

A great article from the Washington post, shared by Martina Hetzel via the KM4DEV mailing list, has caught my attention. The article, titled “The solutions to all our problems may be buried in PDFs that nobody reads”, cites a World Bank report and emphasizes on its knowledge management issues. “About…

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Launch 3 million foreign aid activities at your fingertip

24-04-2014 – Filed under open-dataforeign-aid

Open data is a great chance to make development aid not only more transparent, but also more efficient. Having been an aid worker for a while in Egypt and Germany myself, I could see how much information is needed. It is often very difficult to get even an overview of…

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Transparency Portal KfW Development Bank

07-03-2013 – Filed under open-dataopen-developmentopen-aiddata-portal

Organisations working in development cooperation generally have nice websites with descriptions of projects and plenty of texts on big issues. But when it comes to talking about money, most websites put the topic on the back burner. KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW Development Bank) wanted to change this, and through my engagement…

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Open aid: Mapping over 100.000 German aid projects from the last 10 years

12-02-2013 – Filed under open-dataopen-aid-datadevelopment-aidtransparency

There are practically only two options of German developing aid figures one can obtain; either highly aggregated data from the German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, or complicated and academic designed pages such as aidflows from the OECD. (Open Germain Aid) is in this regard different. Here, instead…

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We would have great apps, if most Open data were not so boring

12-02-2013 – Filed under open-dataapp-developmentgeo-datadata-portal

If I only had some good data, I would do some great apps… It’s like that basic rule in nutrition: Food that is not eaten has no nutritional value. Data which is not understood has no value. Hans Rosling When it comes to open data nowadays, one first tends to…

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Budget transparency: A few clicks to accountability?

09-02-2013 – Filed under open-dataopen-budgetfinance-datatransparencyaccountability

Frankfurt budget vizualization “[..] if you don’t adapt your way of presenting to the way that people understand it, then you won’t get it through. You must prepare the food in a way that makes people want to eat it. The dream that you will train the entire population to…

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A world of big (closed) data and its unused potential

29-05-2012 – Filed under communicationtechnologybig-dataopen-dataopenness

“Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003” said Eric Schmidt from Google in 2010. Behind most of this information there is Big Data. And although we Internet users contribute mostly to that vast data, we get little…

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Results of the Open Aid Data Hackday

17-10-2011 – Filed under activismICT4Dhackdayopen-datavizualization

Around 150 participants joined the Open Aid Data Conference in Berlin. The event was full with discussions and exchange on how open data can be used to achieve more transparency in the developing aid sector. The first day was split into two workshops – an ‘Aidinfo Data Training’ and ‘Hackday,’…

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Open Aid Data conference and Hackday Berlin

23-08-2011 – Filed under ICT4Dopen-data

The past year I have written on many occasions about the potential of open data and why it is much needed particular for the development aid sector. So I am happy to announce a Hackday I am organizing as part of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany. The Hackday is linked with…

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Who to feed? The open vs. the commercial race for data

12-05-2011 – Filed under ICT4Dgeodatamappingopen-data

Google Maps has been an incredible service in the past years. Not only it was Google’s engineers, who invented the slippy map, which revolutionized digital maps, but its approach to offer such a service for free and shock competitors with a free routing service. Google has a tremendous overview on…

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Revenue? Examples of nonprofit or business model for open data

20-01-2011 – Filed under knowledge managementapplicationbusiness-modelfoodmobilenonprofitopen-data

As open data becomes more popular, I wonder where are the nonprofit and business models for open data? It is clear that somehow open data needs to generate revenues, because it will not only work with voluntary efforts. I did a little research to find interesting approaches to do more…

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The challenges and options to get non open data

25-10-2010 – Filed under knowledge-managementopen-accessopen-dataprogrammingvisualization

Nowadays, if you want to start an open data project, you should rather check the availability of information first, and then imagine something useful because so little useful raw data is available. That’s why for the foreseeable future, at least in countries such as Germany, collecting documents is the way…

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Data explosion (part 2): How we digitize the world and its implications

29-09-2010 – Filed under technologyaccessdataopen-dataprivacyRFIDsensor

In my last post I listed the many ways we digitize our environment. Text, voice and image recognition, and mobile data collection are only a few possible methods to bridge the on- and offline world, as the Swiftly blog rightly pointed out. So here some more methods and some reflections…

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Data explosion: The many ways to get content online (or how we digitize the world)

13-09-2010 – Filed under ICT4Dknowledge-managementtechnologycrowdsourcingdataopen-data

The same way the fishing industry has found more efficient methods to get most fishes out of the oceans, is exactly how we find more ways to digitze information that was previously only available offline. Imagine a massive fishing-net bringing us the greatest fishes, but emptying the oceans. What would…

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Frankfurt gestalten: Open data for transparency and engagement in local politics

04-03-2010 – Filed under activismcitizen-actionedemocracyfrankfurtopen-datatransparencysocial-innovation

What are politician’s decisions about your neighborhood? What does usually happen in my street and what could be done better? In Frankfurt, Germany, there is now a website called (Create Frankfurt), which makes local political decision more transparent and offers a new space for citizen to participate. is…

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5 inspiring examples for worldwide Maptivism

15-01-2010 – Filed under activismmappingmaptivismopen-datatransparency

“But the maps provided something that the narrative and statistics lacked […] We could articulate the case in words. […] But when you’d put up the maps, they’d stop listening to you and look at them [as if to] say, ‘Is this really possible?’” Reed Colfax in an interview by…

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Information silos vs. open data in development organizations

30-06-2009 – Filed under knowledge-managementdevelopmentopen-dataopenness

Accurate data is key for development work. Opening data sources can enhance transparency and improve collaboration between development projects. Surprisingly, development organizations show few signs of opening up data to create new channels to link information across organizations. The age of the typewriter: Data exchange in developing organizations Information exchange…

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The race to map Africa and ethical issues around online mapping

03-06-2009 – Filed under ICT4Dlinksafricageospatialmappingopen-sourceopen-dataparticipationprojectsvisualizationweb2fordev

I started blogging at the Web2fordev gateway, from which I will crosspost some articles here from time to time to get some further discussions on web2fordev. I wrote the following piece together with Giacomo Rambaldi, the initiator of PPgis (Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies). Online Mapping…

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