AVARAS eng

Regional Initiative to Reveal the Opportunities of Open Data

In autumn 2013, the Pori Institute of Tampere University of Technology initiated a regional project to revel opportunities offered by open data. The one and a half years project is conducted in co-operation with the town of Pori and eight SME sized software development companies from Satakunta region in western Finland. The role of the partners is to direct and give guidance to project activities forming the interest group of the project. The acronym of the initiative, AVARAS, comes from its Finnish name “Avoimista tietoVARAnnoista liiketoimintaa Satakuntaan” which is “From Open Data New Business to the Region of Satakunta” in English. The project is funded by European Union Regional Fund (ERDF), as a part of Satakunta Region Centre for Economic Development, Traffic and Environment funding programme.

The overall goal of the AVARAS project is to provide software companies with information how to apply open data sources in their businesses.  The project is expected to answer the following three questions:

  1. What kind of business opportunities do open data offer?
  2. What sort of open data sources do exist?
  3. How can open data technically be utilized?

The questions above were the basis for three main work packages of the project: WP1 Open Data in Business, WP2 Meta-portal and Reviews, and WP3 Applications and Technologies. An additional purpose of the project is to encourage the public organizations of the region to open their data sources for public open use.

WP1 Open Data in Business

The first work package of the project is composed of questionnaire studies, public seminars, and workshops with the interest group. It includes also tasks clarifying open data in its context and the phenomenon of openness in general. The first questionnaire-based study has been conducted, targeted to busi-ness and public sector in Satakunta region. It seems that the awareness of the topics is not a very high level among the respondents.

WP2 Meta-portal and Reviews

The second work package is to discover relevant sources of open data, resulting an open data portal, which is called meta-portal, because, instead of listing individual open data sources, the aim is to offer links pointing to such por-tals. Thus, the outcome of the work package is for the most part a portal of open data portals. The portal is used also to deliver all the results of the project.

WP3 Applications and Technologies

The third work package builds pilot applications using open data and examines existing software. During the development of the pilots, technologies and tools needed in application development are evaluated. The pilot applications will be openly available via the portal for public use. Their purpose is especially to bring out interfacing technologies and interface specifications for reuse in new applications.

In addition to the three initial work packages above, two further topics for re-views have come into fore during the project: a) Opportunities for companies to employ open education offered by several universities in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and b) NoSQL databases as means to deliver open data.

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