Educate citizens to understand and use data


(this page is part of my 2011 report on “Open Data: Emerging trends, issues and best practices”. Please follow that link to reach the Introduction and Table of Content, but don’t forget to also check the notes for readers! of the initial report of the same project, “Open Data, Open Society”)

It is necessary to guarantee the widest possible availability of all the pre-requisites for effective use of Open Data. In other words, it is necessary to provide free and widely accessible training, oriented to average citizens, on how and why to visualize Public Data and use them to make informed decisions. Ideally, this training should be provided at a local level with local programs, in a way that makes it possible to use it on local issues, for the reasons and in the ways discussed in the next paragraph. For example, visualization tecniques like those used by ABC News to show the effects of the March 2011 Japan Earthquake, in which all the user has to do to compare scenes from before and after the earthquake is to move a slider, should be routinely used to explain proposals about urban planning, zoning and related topics.

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