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Open Data Day in Cagliari: A short outline of what took place

Event title 
On Saturday 22 February 2014 in Cagliari, simultaneously with 17 other Italian cities and more than 100 others worldwide, the International Open Data Day was held. The local event, organised by the Sardinia Open Data Association and the Legal Experts' IT Club in cooperation with Tiscali Open Campus, saw a good turnout. The theme of open data in Sardinia was dissected in detail and put in the context of the European and international situation. The morning focused on a theoretical analysis of the subject and some practical examples. The afternoon closed the event with a citizens' action.

The morning offered a rich panel of speakers. The day was opened by Manuela Vacca, a journalist and one of the event's organisers, who spoke about the concept of open data and the spread of a new culture of sharing public data for the benefit of society. Giorgio Mancosu, a PhD student in e-government and public communication law, discussed transparency issues, while Lawyer Giovanni Battista Gallus picked up the thread and addressed citizens' digital rights. Gabriele Conforti, from the General Affairs Department of the Region of Sardinia reported on the work done by public bodies in the area of open data. The session was closed by Salvatore Marras from training body Formez, who discussed e-government and open-government.

After this first session setting the frame of reference, came the time to provide some practical examples. A key area was mapping, discussed by Carlo Zucca, an environmental engineer working on the DOPMaps project for mapping agricultural areas where PDO crops are grown, Francesca Murtas, interaction designer and the brain behind crowd mapping project SardSOS, and Claudia Mocci who worked on the Eurosha project in Chad, which aims at creating a network of volunteers specialising in mapping with OpenStreetMap. Lastly, Davide Massidda gave a presentation on InsulaR, a community of fans and users of the open source software environment R.

The last part of the morning was set aside for a debate introduced by Andrea Zedda, who reported on a mapping action launched by a group of users to rename using the Sardinian language all the island's places and geographical entities on Google maps. After just a few days, he reported, the names were converted back into Italian, because under the terms of the licence governing use of the map, Google has full ownership rights over user-supplied data. On the other hand, the Sardinian names could have been freely mapped on OpenStreetMap, where the information is the property of its generators and users.

As to the use of open tools in Sardinia, Wikipedia also has a sizeable pool of contributors, and the community of OpenStreetMap is especially active, with 912 Sardinian contributors. What can be done to involve the island’s users in digital projects?

The first to answer this question was Amos Cardia, an op-ed writer and expert in bilingualism. Amos reported on the part played by the local authorities in promoting this issue, by launching one of the first pilot projects for online participation, i.e. the forum of the Province of Cagliari for establishing the standard of the Campidanese language, in 2009. The floor was then taken by entrepreneur Sandro Usai who described his project for an online dictionary of the spoken Sardinian language, with all the words in the Sardinian language with their local variations of meaning and pronunciation. The morning was wrapped up by Ilaria Porcu, coordinator of the public libraries of Monserrato, who reported on the project "Wikipedia goes to the library", targeting school students aged 11-13, with an introductory lesson on Wikipedia followed by training on its use, to promote active and well-informed use.

After an intense half day of presentations and debates, Cagliari's Open Data Day 2014 changed locale and moved to the city's waterfront of Su Siccu, where conference participants together with the cyclists of local associations "Amici della bicicletta" and "Città ciclabile" proceeded to monitor and map the "Su Siccu" cycling path. The data collected will soon be available on website Monithon and the detailed map of the whole path, with the geo-location of infrastructure and services will shortly be visible on Cagliari's OpenStreetMap.

This report is by Daniela Casula, a member of the Sardinia Open Data association, whom we thank for her work. Click on the useful links below for more reports and video recordings of the day’s speeches and debates.

Useful links
Sardinia Open Data - International Open Data Day 2014: full report
ApritiSardegna - Cagliari Open Data Day 2014: report by Manuela Vacca
Streamago - Video recording of the speeches
Streamago – Video recording of the debate