Berlin is the first German state to launch an open government data platform

Every month in 2011, another city, state or country launched a new open government data platform. From Open Kenya to British Columbia, transparency has gone global.

Open data wordle

Today in Germany, Berlin has stood up on the Internet.

According to German entrepreneur Anke Domscheit-Berg Berlin is the first German state to have an open data platform.

Heise has a story of Berlin’s new open data portal.

If, like me,  your German isn’t so good, try reading it using Google Translate.

Key points:

  • Ulrich Freise, Berlin’s Secretary of State for Home Affairs, described Berlin’s open data site as base for administrative action that citizens could use to make decisions, find facts and involve themselves in decision-making processes.
  • Domscheit-Berg, a member of the Berlin Open Data Platform for Action, praised the launch as an important milestone on the way to a more transparent government in Germany.
  • An “Open Data Day” in Berlin this May helped introduce more government staff to the idea and resulted in a agenda that subsequently helped shape the release.
  • Much of the data is not machine-readable, at present, nor released under a Creative Commons license that would free to be used commercially or otherwise adapted for further civic use, as German civic developer Stefan Wehr Meyer pointed out to Heise.

While Open Data Berlin launches with just 18 data sets, there’s plenty of room to grow., in the US, went online with 49 data sets in 2009. Now there are over 400,000 listed there. If Berlin can similarly expand and open up more meaningful data in a manner that’s usable to Germany’s civic developers, there will be more Deutchland data stories to tell this year.

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.


Should the White House be spending time making animated GIFs?

Earlier today, however, a mechanical engineer named Claudio Ibarra commented on a Google+ thread that he thought that the animated GIF was a “waste.”

Beware openwashing. Question secrecy. Acknowledge ideology.

You could spend a long day listing all of the organizations or individuals who are putting government data online, from Carl Malamud to open government activists in Brazil, Africa or Canada.

What is the ROI of open government?

Putting a dollar value on clean water, stable markets, the quality of schooling or access to the judiciary is no easy task. Each of these elements of society, however, are to some extent related to and enabled by open government. If we think about how the fundamental democratic principles established centuries ago extend today purely […]

Cameras in the courtroom: Will SCOTUS ever go live online?

In an age where setting up a livestream to the Web and the rest of the networked world is as easy as holding up a smartphone and making a few taps, the United States Supreme Court appears more uniformly opposed to adding cameras in the courtroom than ever.

Samantha Power: OGP is President Obama’s signature governance initiative

On January 10th, 2013, the OpenGov Hub officially launched in Washington, DC. The OpenGov Hub has similarities to incubators and accelerators, in terms of physically housing different organizations in one location, but focuses on scaling open government and building community, as opposed to scaling a startup and building a business. Samantha Power, special assistant to […]

Civic app for finding flu shots goes viral

The 2012-2013 influenza season has been a bad one, with flu reaching epidemic levels in the United States.

Open Government Partnership hosts regional meeting in Chile

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has released statistics on its first 16 months since its historic launch in New York City, collected together in the infographic embedded below. This week, Open government leaders are meeting in Chile to discuss the formal addition of Argentina to the partnership and the national plans that Latin American countries […]

African News Challenge funds data journalism and open government tech

The post-industrial future of journalism is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet. The same trends changing journalism and society have the potential to create significant social change throughout the African continent, as states moves from conditions of information scarcity to abundance. That reality was clear on my recent trip to Africa, where I […]

Election 2012: A #SocialElection Driven By The Data

Social media was a bigger part of the election season of 2012 than ever before, from the enormous volume of Facebook updates and tweets to memes during the Presidential debates to public awareness of what the campaigns were doing there in popular culture. Facebook may even have booted President Obama’s vote tally.

PollWatchUSA enables anyone with a smartphone to act as a poll monitor

Pollwatch, a mobile application that enabled crowdsourced poll monitoring, has launched a final version at, just in time for Election Day 2012. The initial iteration of the app was conceived, developed and demonstrated at the hackathon at the 2012 Personal Democracy Forum in New York City.


Follow GovFresh