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Open Data Workshop and OpenCamp in Sofia, Bulgaria 4-5 June

Rufus Pollock - June 6, 2011 in Events, Talks

On Saturday and Sunday (4th and 5th June) I was in Sofia, Bulgaria to run a Open Data Workshop on the Saturday and speak at the OpenCamp on the Sunday.

Separate notes on the workshop are here:

Slides (fullsize): Open Data: What, Why, How


OpenCamp Sofia

Open Data Workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria 4th June

Rufus Pollock - June 6, 2011 in CKAN, Events, Workshop

Notes from the workshop.

Initial Agenda

  1. Introductions
  2. Set agenda and outline for the day


  • Martin – software engineer. Interested in design and how government works.
  • Chrastian – ontotext. Interested in open semantic data.
  • Elena – from Sofia University (teach Sociology). Teach course on content analysis. Excited that there is growing interested in public data. You can process a lot but need a purpose.
  • Martin – OpenStreetMap’er. How can we integrate with other data e.g. missing people
  • Ivo – works for ontotext
  • Galia – just interested in open data
  • Bogdаn – software author. Curiosity!
  • Peio – legal adviser by day, IT background. Curious.
  • Plamen – ex-software engineer. Aggregating data from bulgarian parliament.
  • Alex – interested in using new technologies, electronics and music!
  • Stoian Mishinev – IT Specialist
  • Yana Petrova – journalism student


  1. Data (and problem) mapping
  2. Problems with getting data
  3. Tools for working with data and developing a community around it (using it)


Gov data mapping

  • Legislation
  • Finances
  • Civic info
  • Transport
  • Geodata
  • News / Gazettes

Government structure in Bulgaria

  • Central Gov – executive and parliament and courts
  • Regions (28)
  • Municipalities (cities are sometimes municipalities by themselves)
  • Districts (possibly)
  • (mayors in smallest villages)

Legal status for gov material (e.g. legilslation) — ЗАПСП Член 4, точка 4 Не са обект на авторско право

  • Не са обект на авторското право:

    1. нормативни и индивидуални актове на държавни органи за управление, …
    2. новини, факти, сведения и данни.

Question: how far does this extend to all documents.

The Law

The law: in state gazette: mostly online (html and pdf)?

Public procurement

4th tab link on: (no direct link because no urls!)


Committee debates:

Plenary sessions debates:

Legal decisions

Local stuff


Have CKAN package:


Civic Info (Health, Education etc)

Company Register

The company register was publicly available until 2011; at some point in 2011 it has been closed and access to it is available for a fee.

[ACTION: Peio – get old dump and analysis and add to relevant CKAN dataset]

Geodata and Cadastral

  • Land registry and mapping agency:
    • No data available as far as one can tell!
  • Postcodes: …

Problems getting data

  • Gov objections to giving out data (and what can you do about it).
  • Data format
  • Data persistence
  • Data quality

ACTION [Peio]: clarify scope of public domain provision for gov data (is this just legislation and gov documents or all gov data)

What do we do about PDF? * Ask – directly or via * Find a contact if you can * Find out what the worries are … * Transcribe * Find tools –

[ACTION: Rufus Pollock: ask Julian Todd to write up instructions on PDF parsing based on UNDemocracy experience]

Tools and Communities

Basic process:

  1. Extract
  2. Transform (clean and integrate)
  3. Load


Proprietary but free (in some form or other):

  • Google docs and google fusion tables
  • Google refine
  • Tableau, Needlebase …

Ideas / Wanted

  • croudsourcing the collection of all the bulgarian legislative data
  • extract structured info from plenary and committee debates
  • list of municipalities
  • – find volunteers to populate data for the Bulgarian budget
  • on time stats for public transport
  • wifi locations
  • ‘Tell me about my area’ — On my phone (on facebook even!)