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Spread the gospel! Tim Berners-Lee's Open Data Institute goes global

Nonprofit body opens 13 new offices to promote using gov datasets

Tim Berners-Lee, photo by Paul Clarke

The Open Data Institute, an organisation founded by web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt, has announced it's setting up 13 "nodes" around the world.

The ODI, which is backed with a £10m cash pot provided by taxpayers and based at London's Silicon Roundabout, was created to help businesses use public datasets on crime, weather, education and other assorted stuff, as released by the government.

The organisation claimed that since it kicked off last year it has been "inundated with requests from around the world, asking for support to set up countrywide or regional versions" of the institute.

Blighty will be getting three additional ODI offices, with nodes in Manchester, Brighton and Leeds. Other regional nodes will be set up in Dubai, Chicago, North Carolina, Paris and Trenton. The ODI is also running two countrywide trials in partnership with NGOs in the US and Canada and another three nodes will focus on communications, based in Gothenburg, Moscow and Buenos Aires.

"The fact that only one year on, cities and countries around the world want to adopt the ODI model is evidence of how quickly the open data revolution is spreading," enthused the UK's Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude.

"The establishment of ODI Nodes in UK cities will help embed an open data culture in communities, and bring the economic benefits of new and innovative data-led businesses that will help the UK compete in the global race," Maude added.

The new nodes will be adopting an "ODI charter" to show their commitment to open data business, publishing and collaboration, the institute said.

As well as the £10m funding over five years, which comes from the UK's Technology Strategy Board, ODI has also bagged $750,000 from the Omidyar Network, set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. As a non-profit, it's hoping to bulk out to its coffers with other funding and by raising revenue through membership subscriptions. ®

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