This is the second edition of This Month in Open in which I try to summarise interesting articles and events from the Open Data and Civic Tech scene in Germany and the world.

Code for Münster plays with A/B Street

A/B Street is a really interesting project from the US. The web application allows users to load data from OpenStreetMap and then runs traffic simulations on it. Users get a nice visualisation but are also encourage to play with different street layouts. This allows users to be little city planners. This is a lot of fun to play around with - especially in the German Verkehrswende community. The folks from the OK Lab Münster tweeted about loading the data for their city into the tool. In the thread there are also people from Berlin saying that they are investigating a possible deployment of the tool. Exciting times!

The state of the German Onlinezugangsgesetz

The Onlinezugangsgesetz is a German law which requires public administration to make their processes available online. There is an official dashboard by the German government in which the current implementation state is tracked. By design this dashboard is of course rather biased to paint a positive picture. Community member Lilith built an alternative dashboard which also explains the law and implementation state in more detail. If you speak German, I highly encourage that you check it out.

Italy is on GitHub

Just last month I learned that the country of Italy is on github at Pretty progressive! They also publish a range of interesting projects such as publiccode.yml which is standard for marking up publicly funded open source software. It is great to see a government go where the community is already. I encourage you to browse through all of Italia’s repositories.

Problems with digital transformation

Mark Headd published an interesting article about what he has learned with trying to bring digital transformation to government and the problems that one might encounter in this process. Rebecca Williams published a twitter thread on it that starts with the beautiful quote

I like this because once you realize tech isn’t the problem, technologists stop being the solution.

Good food for thought! is going read only 😢

The Open Knowledge Foundation Germany published a blogpost to announce that is officially going into read only mode. Maxi started the project a long time ago which aggregates and publishes so called Kleine Anfragen. These Anfragen are formal inquiries by parliament to the government. As the federal states largely do not provide formalised APIs for this, always had to resort to webscraping. This is of course not well maintainable in the long term as websites will change and scrapers will have to be updated. So this great project of the community is shutting down. This is really sad because it was used by community, journalists but also by members of the parliament themselves. Again, if you speak German, you should check out the original article to read about changes that would need to be made for a tool like this to be possible in the long run.

German vaccination status in city sizes

Johl made a really small and playful website to track the status of German vaccinations. It takes the official RKI data about the total number of people that have been vaccinated and then queries Wikidata to find a city that is comparable in size. I think this is a nice example of what one can do when there is an easily queryable repository of the world’s knowledge.

That’s it

That’s it for this month. If you found an article that should be included in next month’s issue, let me know on twitter or via e-mail.