Chris J Powell

Open Source – Open Data…mmmm you had me at hello!

As I started my morning thumbing through the world of technology and reading article after article for inspiration and dare I say direction…I saw a headline that stood out like a beacon.  “Socrata Releases “Open Data Server, Community Edition“, it stood out like a beacon and I have been following the concept of Open Data since my post on Open Data Around the World back in February.

Before I dive into what the Open Data Server will be, I figured I should get to know this Socrata a little more.  The company claims to be focused on:

democratizing access to government data. We help public sector organizations improve transparency, citizen service and fact-based decision-making by efficiently delivering data to citizens, employees and developers in a user-friendly experience on web, mobile and machine-to-machine interfaces.

Ok…so that gives some insights into the goals…and in a high level look at their “paid products” it allows for the Social Layer to be applied to everything that public sector organizations do.  Now this is starting to get interesting…very fast.

Stepping over to the Open Data Server, Community Edition, it is not as easy as simply downloading an ISO, spinning up a virtual machine and building a connection…there is an art and a science to building something as complex as a “Social Layer Translator”.

In the System Architecture portion of the Socrata site it explains the challenges of building a bridge between the Open Data Exchanges of the world and layering the connection to the internal workings of a ETL Framework for data.  It is impressively complex while at the same time, elegantly simple!

I would like to say that I had the stones to be able to do an implementation of this…and give it a test but right now…I just do not have the time…nor the internal data to make even a test instance worth the effort…but with it being an Open Source Community Edition…the temptation is definitely there for me to investigate further and I will be following the development of this setup.

My first step is to dive further into the world of the Socrata API Foundry and into their Open Data Field Guide…like the title of this post says…you head me at hello!


Chris J Powell

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