Daten öffentlich, frei verfügbar und nutzbar zu machen für mehr Transparenz, Mitwirkung und Innovation — das ist Open Data. ist die Schweizer Sektion der Open Knowledge Foundation.

Annual Plan 2021

| 22. Mrz 2021 | in Allgemein | Keine Kommentare

As initiated last year we published again our annual plan in order show what we’re working on, what we aim to achieve and to help you – our community – to get involved. We’re more than happy to hear your feedback and learn how we might improve accessibility and comprehension.

Open Annual Plan 2020

Our annual plan 2021 was set up as an Open Google Sheet on January 19. Within this document you can find:

  • one tab called [original (19.1.21)] to which we won’t apply any more changes during the year and
  • one tab [living] that we will continuously update and complement.

Alternatively, you can find the annual overview above as jpeg (status: 19.01.2021). If you want the document in another format or provide us with feedback, reach out to us via .

Learnings at the Prototype Fund

| 8. Feb 2021 | in Allgemein, Event | Keine Kommentare
GIF from TeamTumult based in Zürich.

Six months to develop a prototype to increase political participation in Switzerland. A daunting task. Who has accepted the challenge? 24 highly motivated people are currently tackling this endeavor in five project teams.

A few months into the program, it is time to look back. How did we fare?

Get to know the key learnings of the Prototype Fund team as well as the five project teams in six blogposts:

Meet the projects teams on the final Demo Day on 2 March

Are you ready for more fun and diversity in politics and tools for making digital participation realer? Then join us on 2 March 5.30-7.30pm to try out the Prototype Fund prototypes yourself and discuss with the project teams their plans and strategies. Register here and invite other Civic Tech enthusiasts via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other platform. You can find the detailed program on the Prototype Fund site.

Shape My City – Lucerne, the Results!

Shape My City – Lucerne, the Results!

Almost in one breath following the Smart city Lab Lenzburg, we were happy to support the student team of the Master of Applied Information and Data Science at the HSLU in their organization of the Shape My City Hackdays – Luzern, a Hackathon revolving around smart city projects for Lucerne and its inhabitants.

Around 110 participants gathered online, ready to hear about the 15 so-called challenges awaiting for a solution. Those issues opened by either the industry, civil society or city of Lucerne itself, were prepared in collaboration with group of students who helped defining the framework of the question and to gather and prepare relevant datasets, providing the Hackdays-teams with the material to solve the challenge itself.

This event being a fully virtual workshop was not as vividly alive as what we are used to during the HSLU-student Hackdays, (melancholy…), still, the very funny slides and the clear engagement of the teams made for a very good event. Two inputs by Stefan Metzger CDO of the city of Luzern and by Benjamin Szemkus, Program manager of Smart City Switzerland, provided for background information about the strategies and perspective in the field. A lot of open data on the topic of smart cities was gathered, and last but not least and as always astonishing, the plethora of good results convinced us once again of the relevance of such collaborative endeavours.

The challenge topics nicely completed or confirmed those issues addressed a few weeks before in Lenzburg. There too it was obvious that those location and user-specific solutions are actually relevant for a much broader public and regions. Nevertheless, implementing them locally still seems to be a meaningful and challenging enough step before exploring those broader fields.
Strikingly many challenges express the effort of the challenge owners to identify the most problematic areas in term of energy consumption in order to leverage their interventions, as well as the willingness to identify the needs of various stakeholders in order to fulfill them better.
Most project-teams are now willing and ready to keep on exploring the challenges with their challenge owners, we are curious to see how far the projects go from there on!

Solar Energy in the City of Lucerne
Identifying similar buildings in terms of solar characteristics facilitates the approach to building owners to promote the installation of solar panels. The project group gathered over 15 different datasets, cleaning, preprocessing, analyzing and converting the datasets into desired shapes and Geospatial data formats. The prototype is as desired simply an excel file, containing the necessary information.  Disclaimer: data about the buildings are not publicly available and are to be considered as strictly confidential. Therefore, this part is private, however, the code is public.

Consumer Behavior in the City of Lucerne
The project group worked on identifying Personas that will help to address the target groups on the topic of environmentally friendly behaviours. They also worked on analysing datasets to find interesting correlations and patterns concerning existing consumer behaviour.

Quantification of Visitors of Cultural Events
The number of visitors from the surrounding municipalities attending events at cultural venues in Lucerne is not available yet. The project-team created a measurement tool that easily and efficiently registers the place of residence of the attendees of a cultural event.

Drug Sharing Ecosystem Driven by Blockchain
This group implemented a Blockchain technology to visualizes exchanges and flows of drugs between main health stakeholders, in order to increase transparency, security and automation of drug exchanges.

Open Social Spaces
Through the use of a web AR Application, locals can give a shape to their ideas. Users can place and visualize objects directly in a chosen location and vote for creations by others.

360° Stakeholder Feedback Analysis
Large urban transformation projects require thorough analysis of the needs and requirements of all stakeholders involved. This project-team therefore worked on a Dashboard allowing grouping, qualification and prioritization of the stakeholders-related needs and information, in order to make more of the available data and provide decision-makers with a fast overview by project.

2000 Watt Site – Reduction of Energy Consumption
This project-team worked on a gamification model and an app to inform and incentivize the reduction of energy consumption of households and help achieve the 2000 Watt Society goals. The system aims to compares households’ consumption as awareness is one of the motivations for new energy consumption strategies.

Reduce Car Rides at Traffic Peak Hours
The project-team worked with an Agent-Based Traffic Modelling and Simulation Approach to predict and analyse the forseeable changes in traffic load for an area in planning.
They produced a SUMO file with a modeled traffic flow integrating the new conditions on the project site, as well as reflected on the tools and incentives for future traffic regulation on the area.

Find Energy Inefficient Buildings in the City of Lucerne
As about 45 % energy usage is linked with buildings themselves, this team worked on a building-images database to identify potentially energy-intensive buildings, as well as on a gamified app-prototype to improve thanks to collective intelligence, the quality of the image collection, labelling and identifying.

Interactive Visualization for Neighbourhood Residents
This team worked on visualizing existing data of small sub-quarters to gain insights about the facts, needs and participation interests of the residents in those neighbourhoods. The insights and visualisation will be integrated in a website to make the findings accessible to all residents.

3D Geovisualization of building energy demands
In order to identify strategic leverage areas of high energy consumption, this team combined 3D data with energy demand data and revealed regions and buildings with potential for energy optimisation.

Flat finder for seniors:
This team tackled the issue of the specific needs of the elderly when it comes to finding a suitable house or apartment. They created a housing platform that analyses housing advertisements from existing platforms and filters out those fitting the needs of seniors.

Netto- Null in den Quartieren?
The demo created by this group allows to determine the current CO-2 emissions in the districts of Lucerne and to visualise which heating methods the buildings are using. This is a strategic information for decision makers for energy-production methods and for the inhabitants to visualize the impact of one or the other heating system on the environment.

Quality of Life in Lucerne
This working group focussed on generating new insights from an online questionnaire about Life Quality in Lucerne for the city administration. They identified personas, expectations and new variables from the citizens answers.

Smart City Lab – Lenzburg 2020, the results!

Smart City Lab – Lenzburg 2020, the results!

And there it went!
In the beautiful Aula Blecherain, blended by the October sun, the organizing committee gathered and broadcasted the announcements of the challenges to be worked upon during the Smart City Lab Lenzburg.

Meant to take place on site, this collaborative ideation-workshop about the future of how to live together, took place online. An online event actually feels very abstract: a lonely little number at the bottom of a computer screen tells about how many other screens are switched on as well…
But as groups start forming, Slack starts beeping and conversations start resonating through the computer speakers, it suddenly takes a sense of reality: it’s happening!
People are indeed thinking together to solve a problem.
The truth is, the setting itself is a challenge: almost each step of the workshop, from team definition to problem definition, from co-creation to presentation, requires until now a different software. But soon workflows were clear to everyone and the discussions focussed on ideas, processes and results.

During those two intensive days, we were happy to welcome five short presentations and inputs on different aspects of smart city tools and smart sustainability: one smart city tool is the successful „Züriwieneu“ app, presented by its project-leader for the city of Zürich, Christian Gees. Allowing citizens to report damages and issues in the city itself, it harvests collective intelligence and links it to the appropriate services of the city.
The potential of Data Analysis for planning and optimization in cities was presented by Luis Gisler von, introducing us to their data visualization platform.
Interesting insights in a new planning and evaluation tool “Smart Site” were presented by Regina Flury vor Arx from for Energiechweiz. The general development strategy of such areas was introduced by Daniel Kellenberger, Project leader for 2000W Areale in DE-Switzerland for Energieschweiz.
And a team from the University of Bern presented “Smart Town”, an overall concept for a better management of cultural events in small to medium cities.

Finally, as Virtual the event was, as Real turned the results to be.
This time again, this collaborative workshop came with a harvest of very promising contacts, collaborations, blueprints and prototypes.

The very interesting aspect of the Smart City Lab Lenzburg is the bottom-up movement it involves: while made on measure for very local issues, the projects tackle national or at time even global issues.

Presented a concept for a Smart Waste collection station: Solar powered waste bins with RFID & reporting function as well as a gamified interaction with users (App, entry card including a reward system).

Belebung Altstadt or the Awakening of the sleeping beauty :
A concept for an App platform allows the different users of the city to find easily what the city has to offer: from everyday needs to leisure and culture, consumers find what they look for and more, while shop owners can identify the best spaces for their offer.

Lenzburg electrically independant
Working towards this far vision, the team analysed the present situation in an exhaustive overview and hypothesized scenarios.

Photovoltaics /ZEV im Lenz
The team produced an in depth analysis and model of the photovoltaic potential, usage and project feasibility on the roofs of a new buildings group.

Energy-counselling of the future
After assessing precisely the needs and potentials of individual/sur-mesure counselling for the stakeholders of the energy sector, the team set a roadmap to create a tool harnessing the new tools (Smart-meters, IOT, AI) for individual consumption analysis in order to enhance service and encourage energy transition.

Connecting neighbourhoods
The team created a blueprint for an open, modular city communication and services platform allowing inhabitants, service providers, shops, cultural and social actors to inform and exchange, motivating and enhancing fluid interaction between the city’s diverse neighbourhoods.

Toolkit for urban data collection
This team created an easy to use software for a set of low cost sensors in order lower the threshold for more continuous in-stream measurements of a city’s variables (such as traffic flows). Gathering high quality data allows assessing the current situation and supports decision making.

Would you like a free coffee?

| 17. Dez 2020 | in Bildung, Kantonal | Keine Kommentare

Imagine yourself, walking through the city on a cloudy afternoon. You see a coffee truck in front of you. “Would you like a free coffee?” a woman unexpectedly asks. You nod and say yes, already having the smell of coffee in your nose. “Great, I just need you to share some of your personal data with me”, the woman casually adds. You stare at her and hesitate.

We asked this question at 11 locations in German-speaking Switzerland. The question and the free coffee are part of an awareness campaign called Data Café, which promotes a reflective understanding of the value of data in our society.

A deal most of us make online every day was brought to the streets -by using Google search, Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, we “pay” for the  “free” services with our personal data. Unlike on the Internet, where you can use many services in exchange for personal data, at the Data Café, you get a coffee if you are willing to share your data:  first name, last name, gender, e-mail, date of birth, and canton. You can get a feeling for our campaign in this video, but continue reading to learn about our discoveries during the journey through Switzerland.

Anger, indifference & interest – a wide range of reactions

The reactions to our offer were diverse. A few were angry and ran off so quickly that we could not even explain the motivation of our offer nor ask them whether they used any free digital services. Some weren’t bothered by the deal at all, even if we tried our best to cause discomfort with critical questions like “Do you even know what we’ll do with your data?”. They just wanted to enjoy their free coffee. Most were interested in the offer, but critical. They asked: What will happen to my data?

One page of T&Cs is still too long

The coffee lovers could read our terms and conditions (T&C) on the back of the menu. However, most people were too lazy to read our T&Cs, although they were only one page long. Some people asked us to provide a summary:

  • The collected data is saved anonymously on servers of the University of Zurich. 
  • The participants receive one email with a request to participate in an online survey.
  • The data of the survey are collected through Qualtrics LLC, a firm located in Utah, and are deleted at the end of this project.
  • In addition to the data participants provide as payment, information about IP address, location and the device used will be stored. 

What do you think? Are you still interested in that free coffee?

35% of Data Café visitors are willing to pay with their data

We heard many reasons why someone wouldn’t share data for a coffee, from lazy excuses to serious privacy concerns, to contradictory answers such as not wanting to share data on the street at the data cafe, but simultaneously admitting  that they share much more data online without thinking twice.

Among the people we asked if they would like to have coffee, around 35 percent accepted the offer and enjoyed a coffee paid for with their personal data. When asked about the motives for revealing their data, many argued that their data is already available online, that they personally have nothing to hide or that they trust us. Are they aware of the potential misuse of personal data?

What about you? Do you belong to the group of people who would have accepted our offer and drank free coffee? 

Learn how to understand, protect and use data

Regardless of whether someone has shared their data, we have encouraged people to visit our website, where we have summarized several tips on protecting, understanding, and using personal data. 

For those who were interested in improving  their knowledge about data, we handed out the magazine “Wert von Daten” published by the Foundation Mercator. The magazine explores the topic through conversations with various experts taking on different perspectives.

Interesting and fun facts from survey

To gain further insight, we sent a survey to each person who shared their data.

The majority of people who had a coffee at the Data Café were between 18 and 34 years old, followed by people aged between 35 and 50. We found that 56% of respondents say it’s time to have a deeper debate about data and privacy. In response to the question about why we pay for so many services with our data, 69% say that we are not aware of it whereas 9% think that we do not pay for much with our data.

Thanks to the Data Café, we were able to talk to many different people about the value of data and the dangers of sharing them carelessly. We were able to reach an audience that normally does not discuss the topic of data security or data usage. Besides the decision of whether or not to get a free coffee, people had many questions about our data in general.

To name just a few: 

  • Why is it important to protect my data? Everyone has my data already anyways. 
  • How do companies earn money with my personal data? 
  • Are there alternatives to… Google, WhatsApp, Facebook? 
  • Should I stop using Facebook?

What’s next

For next year we plan on further developing our campaign and continuing in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Thereby we hope to further improve our approach, deepen our understanding of the behavior of people towards data and finally to publish a Data Café handbook. 

This initiative is implemented by the non-profit association and enabled by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland.

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