Singapore’s environment agency is engaging its citizens more and personalising services through its mobile app, driven by rising public expectations, its Chief Information Officer told FutureGov. “In recent years, citizens expect the government to give them up to date information and also expect the government to respond very quickly,” Elaine Phang (pictured) said in an interview. The National Environment Agency has used its mobile app to allow citizens to share more information with each other.
We picked New Zealand’s fire alert SMS data as our open dataset of the week two weeks ago because of its potential to create a real-time geographical alert system. It was with great excitement, then, that someone emailed us to say that such as a system has been built by private developers using this data. “There are a number of limitations with how the fire data feed is presented at present, but nevertheless we’ve managed to setup a free public fire alert service based off it,” explained Clint Van Marrewijk, Managing Director of ThunderMaps.
Myanmar has acted on its promise to join the Open Government Partnership, forming two committees to look after open government initiatives, the President’s office announced. President Thein Sein (pictured) has pledged to join the partnership by 2016. Governments must meet minimum standards in fiscal transparency, access to information, income and asset disclosures, and citizen engagement to be eligible for membership.
As Indonesia launches a new open government platform, Kawal Menteri, FutureGov caught up with the developers to discuss its eye-catching features. These include rating ministerial performance, tracking government projects and even seeing how wealthy members of the government are.
Thailand’s military-led government has today published its draft digital economy plan, which includes provision of affordable internet access to citizens and digitised government transactions. The government will work with businesses to build infrastructure for broadband internet and ensure citizens have access to affordable internet, according to local media reports.
Indonesia’s new president is an enthusiast for e-government, but he faces three key challenges: interoperability, skills shortages, and a small budget, according to the head of the e-government lab at Universitas Indonesia. The three tiers of government – central, regional and local – all have different IT systems that don’t interact, explained Dana Sensuse. “There is no integration among those applications. It’s a problem right now.”
This week’s open dataset of the week is: Budget data from the Philippines. This is a popularly used dataset in the country, and data.gov.ph features a number of infographics and apps using the data. Budget data is useful for citizens, businesses and public agencies to see how their government is prioritising its spending. The data could be also combined with location data to see how money is allocated across a map or could be viewed by sector to see which economic or social problems the government is spending on.
The Indonesian tax agency has recorded 90 per cent savings by using open source systems, it told FutureGov. “We spent only 10 per cent [with open source] compared to [the cost of] using proprietary systems,” Harry Gumelar, Director of Transformation and ICT, said. These savings come from cheaper maintenance costs and free licences with open source software.
Australia’s new electronic tax payments systems were used by a record 3 million people in the past year, according to the Australian Tax Office annual report published this week. It said that 2.8 million used the e-tax system, which is for more complicated business taxes, while a further 750,000 used the new mytax system, launched this May for personal taxes.
NEW DELHI | BENGALURU: Indian government software applications are set to make the shift to open source, potentially boosting the pace at which such programmes are developed, and leading to millions of dollars in savings by moving away from proprietary systems. The government is readying a policy that calls for open source software to be used as part of the Digital India initiative. The government is also planning to create a Github-like repository of software that can be collaboratively developed.
Malaysia will make it easier for people to start businesses by launching a new portal for business owners and more online services, the Malaysian registrar of companies has told FutureGov. Parliament is due to approve a new bill making it easier to start businesses and creating a new online services for businesses by early next year, Khuzairi Yahaya (pictured), CIO, Companies Commission, Malaysia said.
Indonesia’s civil service management is still undergoing “radical” change to make the government more transparent and accountable, following changes that started in 2009, the National Civil Service Agency has told FutureGov. The government implemented a policy five years ago to make the whole process of government more transparent and accountable, and increase public participation, which Bima Haria Wibisana (pictured), Vice Chairman of the agency discussed in a recent interview.
Vietnam’s public sector ICT infrastructure must develop faster, according to Dr Pham Hong Quang, Director of the Centre for Informatics and Computing at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. The central government invested in its ‘112 Programme’, developing ICT infrastructure for administrative processes like office software, databases and sharing information between different agencies, he told FutureGov.“But this 112 programme is not much of a success. The tool is not really bringing benefits – people are still booking on paper”.
The New Zealand government has committed to help citizens find and reuse open data more easily, according to its Open Government Partnership action plan. The country formally became a member of the international community of 64 countries with the publication of its action plan last week. The action plan for the next two years highlights strategies that will improve transparency, accountability, participation and innovation.
The Indian government plans to make data and applications more easily accessible to agencies and citizens through open application programming interfaces (APIs), according to a draft policy it just released. APIs allow applications or services to interact with data or a functionality in another service. Open APIs are free of charge, and can be reused and modified without restrictions.
The Department of Finance will open bidding for inclusion on its refreshed whole-of-government IT hardware panel this month, giving outsiders the chance to get their hands on a multi-million dollar slice of the federal government market for the first time in nearly five years. Finance hopes to have a refreshed list of suppliers in place in time for the 2015 expiry of the existing scheme.
The Sri Lankan government will focus on integrating government services and providing mobility to government officials for the next three years, the Chief Executive of its ICT Agency has told FutureGov. The government plans to integrate all public sector systems and applications and create one-stop service centres for citizens, said Reshan Dewapura. In bringing these systems together, the government will benefit from common standards, he explained. “It will give efficiencies and enhancements in government and we’ll also be able to pass a lot of those on to citizens.”
This dataset is an enormously useful one for government and business. A regional breakdown shows changing visiting patterns from across the region, and also can be plotted to show cyclical trends in visitor numbers. The data can also be broken down to demonstrate national trends. For example, Germany seems to be increasingly enthusiastic about visiting the red dot. Does this indicate the success of local tourism campaigns, or perhaps improved business relations?
Apps, cloud computing and open data are the top success stories from Hong Kong, according to Victor Lam, Deputy GCIO of the city government. Speaking in an interview with FutureGov, he said: “We have encouraged all departments to develop mobile applications for the convenience of the public, and have developed a portal on mobile applications in Hong Kong.” Currently, there are over 50 apps from departments on the government’s app store and the number is growing.
More weather tracking and forecasting tools are leading to fewer casualties and less property damage in the Philippines, according to the Department of Science and Technology. The government is monitoring all 258 rivers in the country for signs of flooding, said Raymund Liboro, Assistant Secretary of the Department. This is part of the nationwide project – National Operational Assessment of Hazards – set up in 2012 to better prepare for rain-triggered natural hazards, such as typhoons.