The First Open Data Week in Serbia

March 14, 2018

International Open Data Day, which has been celebrating the achievements and possibilities of open data worldwide for the past seven years, has been marked for the first time in Serbia this year. On the occasion, the Office of Information Technology and E-Government, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized the Open Data Week from 6 to 11 March 2018.

The main event of the Open Data Week was a conference titled "Open Data - Open Opportunities". Key speakers presented the national initiative for opening of public data, the legal framework governing the opening process, as well as new data sets opened by state institutions on the National Open Data Portal ( ). International experts talked about global open data trends, while local government representatives shared their experiences and emphasized the importance of this process for civil society organizations.

During the Open Data Week, a series of workshops, lectures and mentoring sessions were held throughout Serbia. The events held at the Startit Centers in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Inđija, Šabac, Vršac, Valjevo and Subotica, gathered representatives of state institutions, scientific and IT communities, businesses, and citizens. The workshop participants, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, researchers and other enthusiasts had the opportunity to learn about data available at the National Open Data Portal, as well as how to process it, combine it with data from other sources, analyze it, visualize it, etc. Special attention was paid to women, namely young female entrepreneurs and high school students, who had the opportunity to participate in workshops on data processing in the R programming language.

The final event of the Open Data Week was an open data hackathon (Datathon), held at the Startit Center in Belgrade, titled "Visualize Me!". The winning team of the hackathon cross-analyzed the data of the locations of primary and secondary schools from the Open Data Portal, with data on the locations of betting shops in Belgrade, in order to show the places violating the law prescribing that betting shops have to be at least 200m away from schools. The second team used the data on traffic accidents in Belgrade to determine the optimal positioning of the police and ambulances in the city. Other teams made visualizations of the routes of the city traffic and visual comparison of data on traffic violations by different regions.

The Open Data Week was organized within the project "Open Data - Open Opportunities implemented by the Office for IT and E-Government and UNDP Serbia, with the support of the World Bank, the Good Governance Fund of Great Britain (GGF) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project provides support to institutions in the process of opening up their data, but it also supports IT companies, civil society organizations and others who are interested in using this data creatively.

Since the official launch of the National Open Data Portal in mid-October 2017, the number of open data sets available on the portal has doubled. Currently, 85 datasets with 245 individual files, made available by 22 state institutions, can be found on the portal.