Today and tomorrow, the Open Government Partnership London Summit 2013 is happening.
See this map for some tweets about it all (using hashtag #ogp2013)
I know it’s been done before but I hear again and again people getting their use of the word Open (Source, Data, Software) mixed up. Most usually there is confusion between the meanings of Open Source and Open Standards. So here are some definitions……
Open Source Software – the source code (the programming code which was used to develop the software) is available to all. Usually there is a collaborative aspect to this type of software and a developer community is actively adding to the code behind the software. An example in the GIS world is the GIS software www.qgis.org. You can also find much Open Source material at www.github.com. The key organisation behind open source geospatial software is www.osgeo.org. Quite often Open Source software is free (but not always!). Also see www.foss4g.org. often Open Source software makes use of Open Standards……
Open Standards – covers the development of a set of data standards which allows different software (both proprietary and open-source) to transfer data easily and quickly. In the GIS world, the Open Geospatial Consortium maintain a set of geographic information standards such as WMS, WFS and KML (you know as in Google Earth KML). Open Standards should allow easier extraction, transfer and loading of data as it follows a defined format.
Open Data – is free data essentially. There has been a big move in the US, UK and throughout most of the western world to open up data to the general public, especially data which governments collect (see data.gov and data.gov.uk). In the UK, the Ordnance Survey has released OS Open Data which is a set of freely available geographic information including terrain data, place data, postcodes, roads, buildings etc.
I might add to these definitions over time. Let me know what you think!