Tuesday, March 03, 2015
After launching a small Open Data initiative in 2011, the City of Athens found itself caught in the midst of an unprecedented fiscal crisis. Faced with mounting pressure to do more with less, it was hard for Athens’ initial Open Data advocates to generate additional internal support for this relatively new and untested concept, let alone a wider understanding of its potential importance and value.
The Athens Open Data team used Citadel’s tools and methodologies to identify quick ‘wins' that showcased the immediate benefits of Open Data. Following Citadel’s recommendation to start by opening data sets that matter most to local residents, Athens focused first and foremost on tourist and transport data. Using Citadel’s open source Apt Generator Tool – which enables even an 8 year old with no technical knowledge to generate an app in a matter of minutes – Athens then concentrated on creating free-to-use apps of immediate value to tourists, businesses and citizens alike.
After seeing the benefits first hand, the Mayor of Athens proactively embraced Open Data – dedicating a special site on the city’s website for open data sets and creating a new Open Data policy. Athens is now proactively leading national collaboration between the major cities of Greece, including Thessaloniki and Heraklion, in a concerted Open Data initiative.