Our second presentation took place at Metalab in Vienna, a large basement of 200m2 situated just nearby the town hall. Metalab is one of the first hackerspaces in Europe, when it was created 7 years ago, which has shown an open attitude towards non-members letting them to take part in the scheduled program and to use its facilities. We were welcomed through a small guided tour and could experience about the rich equipment available there, from electronics labs, CNC cutting machines, lasers to a dark room for analog photography. Indeed, many different profiles of people gather here (hackers, makers, artists, …).
Around 20 people attended our workshop, half of them were already aware of the concept of Open Data, which made the final open discussion particularly interesting. This time, we could go through all the content of our presentation, including the practical part & open debate.
If it seems clear that Austria is a much advanced country in Europe regarding open data (an open data platform of the federal government has already been launched, followed by similar initiatives at local level, the Austrian Statistics Office publishes online a large number of information, …), the openness doesn´t work so good as it should be. Because of the Amtsgeheimnisgesetz, administrations and companies can refuse to make available their data. One of the attendees pointed out that some organisations like the Austrian Statistics Office above mentioned were charging a subscription fee as a requirement for the user to access the raw data. There is currently an opposition movement which promotes more transparency on that field and claims for a so called Informationsfreiheitsgesetz, not established yet.
Otherwise, answering to one of the questions our survey, an attendee expressed the wish to have access to data related to local electricity network and energy consumption.
After finishing our presentation, one of the attendees showed us an interesting project called didyouknow. It consists in a python library that makes reading values from the world bank data API much easier. In general, this 2nd event was a very constructive session and we wish to keep in touch with Metalab!