Open data from existing government portals

    When we talk about open data that public authorities should disclose, we most often come across the fact that there is no data in the form we need. Or, at least, so say those who must maintain databases and registries created by the state.

    And indeed, there is data which, most likely, simply does not exist, for example, further on the boundaries of the post office sections. In the world, for example, in the open data census, the Open Knowledge Foundation is one of the most important data sets, but it is completely absent in Russia.

    But there is another side to this coin. There are already created state portals and projects that collect large databases inaccessible in a machine-readable form for citizens. And this is exactly the case when officials cannot say that there is no data, the only question is the quality of the data and its availability in a convenient form.

    Further, I will write only about those portals and projects that are created and supported with state money. And those that contain a lot of useful information.

    HBS Memorial


    From the site we can find out that:
    To date, 13.7 million digital copies of documents on the irretrievable losses of the Great Patriotic War from 38 thousand archival files of the Central Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, TsVMA , RGVA, GA of the Russian Federation, the regional archives of the Russian Archives and 42.2 thousand passports of military burial places of existing military burial places in the Russian Federation and beyond.

    In addition, more than 1000 volumes of the Book of Memory are loaded into the OBD.

    A total of about 29 million records from archival documents (not to be confused with the total number of combat losses - 8.67 million people) and about 10 million records from the Book of Memory.

    In other words, a massive amount of work was done at the state expense to digitize the data and transfer it to the database online, but no interface was provided for working with data — no database dumps, no APIs with REST + JSON, nothing else that would allow analytical work on data.

    Why is this needed? What the state did not do is volunteers and developers can do it by geocoding the data, creating mobile applications and regional projects dedicated to the Great Patriotic War.

    Unified portal of public services


    It would seem that it may be more obvious than open data on topics that the state declares as one of the highest priorities. The availability of open data on public services can give us a lot, for example, search engines can integrate them into their delivery interfaces, special mobile applications can be developed, you can remake the site of public services under a more convenient and practical interface, and for any online project in the regions, data on location of authorities where services are provided are very useful.



    Many, for sure, remember this project created by order of the Ministry of Health and Social Development. It was supposed to make a lot of services for citizens, collect interesting information and organize a social network.
    Personally, I admit, I don’t like this project - I think that it’s not the state’s business to try to do projects that can be successfully created by business and public organizations.
    But, in any case, a lot of information was collected on the portal that could well be presented in the form of databases. Information collected by taxpayer money.

    In particular, these are data: recipes, exercises, addresses of institutions, calorie tables of products and much more.
    There are dozens of projects that could use this information and those that could be created on this data. And, who knows, they would not have been made much better than what was previously done with state money.



    At the information portal “Work in Russia”, at the beginning, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, and now the Federal Service for Labor and Employment, place a huge database of vacancies and resumes collected throughout Russia. This portal would be even more valuable if the market for such portals had not been formed for a long time and it is not clear how the portal created by the state can compete with commercial portals in this area.

    However, the data from there would certainly be useful. If the state provided API or regular dumps of the collected data, this would greatly facilitate the ability to create job search services for so many startups and individual developers.

    Undoubtedly, our state over the years has created much more projects and portals where there is data that can be useful to all of us and which we want to receive. How to make them open?
    First of all, it is necessary that a public request appears on them. Personally, I am going to raise an open data council at a future meeting.

    On behalf of the Information Culture, we will write to the authorities responsible for these portals so that they publish data dumps and disclose the data themselves under open licenses.

    How can one help?

    First, write and talk about it more often. There should be a clear and clear request to all these bodies - “we don’t need your projects without open data”.

    Secondly, direct appeals. In addition to those letters that we will write to them, you always need to request data from them. If they refuse, we will have the opportunity to directly request from them through inquiries to the Government and the Open Data Council.

    And, of course, if you know other important state portals where open data is needed from, write about them here in the comments.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Which of the existing government portals should publish open data in the first place?

    • 43.6% HBS Memorial 83
    • 72.6% Single portal of public services 138
    • 14.7% 28
    • 26.8% Labor All 51

    Also popular now: