Building council awareness and participation in open data publishing has been an MAV Technology priority for several years, following an MAV State Council resolution in late 2015.

In 2016, MAV Technology commissioned the development of the Open Council Data Toolkit to educate and encourage councils to start publishing open data in a consistent and collaborative way; using common data standards, processes and policies wherever possible.

Since the launch of the Toolkit, more than half of Victoria’s councils are publishing, or are soon to start publishing open data. As clearly illustrated by the live map on the Open Council Data website, the percentage of councils publishing open data in Victoria is easily the highest of councils per state/territory in Australia. In fact it demonstrates impressive geographical coverage for local government open data publishing in a global context.

In partnership with leading Victorian councils and the Victorian Government, MAV Technology aims to further increase the number of Victorian councils publishing data. We are also pursuing programs that will help identify datasets of high value to local economies and communities; and accelerate the use and appreciation of the data collected by local government.
The projects include:

1) The GovHack Hack
GovHack weekend has come and gone, once again. From humble beginnings, the annual event now takes place in 36 locations including every state and territory of Australia, bringing more than 3,000 people together to use open government data to create exciting new things for a better world.

MAV Technology has sponsored and supported GovHack for more than 5 years. While we will continue to support GovHack, we are hearing from our member councils that they want to develop a program that will support participating teams beyond the short time frame of the GovHack event.

So, within the next month MAV Technology will facilitate a meeting of all the Victorian councils that ran GovHack events this year (Melbourne, Casey, Brimbank, Wyndham and Ballarat); those who chose other pathways (Greater Geelong); supporting civic sector organisations like Code for Australia; the Victorian Government and successful GovHack teams. The aim of the meeting is to develop a pathway program for winning GovHack teams to develop their ideas in partnership with councils, the State government and supporting civic sector organisations. The program might include access to council facilities and resources; mentoring from design, IT and economic development experts; and pathways for the implementations and/or commercialisation of GovHack generated concepts.

You can see some of the great ideas that came out of Victorian GovHack events this year here.

2) The Open Data Aggregation Platform

A platform that aggregates all Victorian local government open data sets to allow easier access for developers and better visualisation of available assets for all stakeholders. The platform would be co-designed with developers and would include:
• API key management
• documentation
• a server deployment ensuring frequent updating of the data
• better visuals/branding for improved access to local government data.

A prototype has been developed by Steve Bennett, a co-designer of the Open Council Data Toolkit.

3) The Open Data for Business Community Roundtables

Conduct an Open Data for Business assessment and Roundtable in Victoria, Australia in 2017. The Open Data for Business (OD4B) Tool, developed by the Center for Open Data Enerprise (US) and the World Bank Group, is designed to increase the business use of government data by assessing the private sector’s current and potential use of government data.

MAV Technology is investigating how we might lead the assessment with partners from the Center, to deliver a comprehensive report including use cases of findings and next steps at the conclusion of the engagement. The Open Data for Business Tool would include three major phases to ensure that the outcomes are action-oriented and all relevant stakeholders are engaged throughout the process.

The OD4B Tool takes a demand-driven approach to open data to inform recommendations and next steps to the government. The Tool assesses the private sector use of government data based on an examination of four areas: (1) private sector capabilities, (2) high value data, (3) barriers to use, and (4) engagement. Within each area, a series of questions provide further context on the business use of government data. These areas are assessed by collecting data through three channels: (1) Local Partner, (2) interviews, and (3) a roundtable discussion.

The full methodology can be found online as part of the World Bank Open Government Data Toolkit.