Open Knowledge Conference to take place in Geneva this month

6 September 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - The 2013 Open Knowledge Conference will take place in Geneva on 16-18 September with a programme rich in discussions on open data, open information and of course open knowledge. The annual conference is rapidly becoming an important appointment for people and organizations who believe that data and information should be freer to be used, circulated and redistributed in a unrestricted way.

This year the conference is convened by the Swiss chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation, who define themselves as a “global movement to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful”. The key concept promoted by the Foundation is openness, which is based on the idea that “open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike”.

UNITAR has been invited to speak at the 2013 Conference due to the experience of UNOSAT in sharing geographical data openly for over 10 years. Francesco Pisano, who directs Research at the Institute and was in charge of UNOSAT from 2007 to 2012, will participate in a panel discussion on open geographic data. “The UN has an important role to play in this discussion, both as user and producer of open data. We concentrate an enormous wealth of knowledge on virtually all the issues that matter. We have a duty to engage in this discussion”.

UNITAR interest in open data is not limited to geospatial aspects. “Open” applies in fact to several areas of primary focus for the Institute, from knowledge systems innovation, to migration, decentralized cooperation and of course research on technology applications.

The theme of this year’s conference, or OKCon, is: OPEN DATA – Broad, Deep, Connected. According to the organisers:  “in the last few years we have seen government open data initiatives grow and become important in areas such as research, culture and international development. OKCon will explore how open data is not only expanding geographically but also touching new sectors and new areas. It will focus on how we can coordinate and strengthen public policy around the world to support a truly global and interconnected ecosystem of open data“.